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BRB has started its latest run of Coppelia in Edinburgh at the Festival Theatre.

 

I missed the opening night but reports claim that Elisha Willis, Joe Caley and Michael O'Hare surpassed themselves. The Thursday matinee was notable for finally giving Samara Downs her first leading role, as Swanilda- previously she's always been a Friend, never the lead. Her dancing was confident and her interpretation impressive. Jamie Bond  was a convincing Franz and Rory Mackay a touching Dr Coppelius: modern British productions underplay the sinister elements of Hoffman's eccentric scientist but within that approach Rory's sensitive and detailed characterisation is very effective. In the evening Momoko Hirata's dancing was technically assured and elegant and Cesar Morales's Franz a sympathetic chancer, danced with his usual stylistic aplomb, and Jonathan Payn an effective conventional Coppelius.The Act 3 solos were well done in both performances; Jenna Roberts danced Prayer sensitively in both performances- it's a difficult solo to pull off but she had the necessary gravity and control. As Dawn, Karla Doorbar and Yvette Knight, very different dancers in physique and style, were equally good. In Act 1, Daria Stanciulescu, a dancer new to me, and Maureya Lebowitz, again very different dancers, were sultry Gypsies. 

 

On Friday BRB premiered First Steps: a Child's Coppelia. I was unable to see it but it sounds an interesting variation on the child-friendly performances that British companies have been introducing. It was the Festival Theatre iwho suggested it, professional dancers will be performing  and talking about their roles and the orchestra will be playing so it will be quite a full scale introduction.

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Well tonight's performance led by Elisha Willis, Joe Caley and Michael O'Hare absolutely sparkled from start to finish!

 

All 3 leads gave beautifully judged performances that made their characters utterly believable.

 

Arancha Baselga and Jonny Caguoia were a delight in the betrothal duet.

 

Celine Gittens could only be described as sensational as Dawn!  What an enormous talent this young lady has!  Delia Matthews was a beautiful and assured Prayer.

 

Mathias Dingman absolutely dazzled as the lead in Call to Arms (he looked like he was drilling down to Australia with his spins!) and all the young gentlemen were splendidly in sync.

 

This was a performance guaranteed to lift your spirits!  Roll on tomorrow...

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Just had a very happy afternoon watching BRB's Coppelia at The Hippodrome. Leads of Elisha Willis, Joseph Caley and Valentin Olovyannikov were just superb! I almost didn't book this show as I find the story somewhat creepy. However, glad I went as Peter Wright's production is glorious, humorous and truly wonderful. 

I can't praise BRB enough right now. I saw the triple bill Moving Stateside last Saturday and today was totally different of course. Both equally brilliant. What I feel every time I see BRB is an incredible sense of unity and all the dancers just enjoying themselves. 

Special mention for Tzu-Chao Chou leading the Call to Arms. Dazzling leaps!

 

Packed house today. Marvellous performance by BRB and their orchestra. Still skipping around the house to Delibes in my head!

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Great I'm seeing Coppelua on Wednesday at The Lowry with Elisha Willis and Chi Chao in the leads.

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My niece, who lives in Manchester, is taking her two girls this week to see Coppelia.  I shall tell her tomorrow that according to the reviews on this site, they're in for a treat! I know she'll be delighted!

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I saw both performances in Birmingham yesterday.  In the afternoon I saw Elisha Willis and Joe Caley, whom I had also seen and loved in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago.  They most certainly did not disappoint!

 

The evening performance led by Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton was an absolute joy.  Celine was a total delight and had (for me) totally got under the skin of Swanilda and Tyrone has deepened his interpretation since I last saw him as Franz in 2011.  Their interaction is superb and the gpdd was sublime.  Oliver Till led a terrific Call to Arms.  24 hours later, I am still buzzing from this performance.

 

So far, I have seen 5 performances with 4 different casts and they have all been splendid.  I am seeing 2 more performances at the Lowry on Saturday and will be seeing (assuming nothing changes) 2 more casts.  It shows the strength and depth of BRB at the moment that they can field so many terrific casts (and sadly I won't have seen Chi who is a sparkling Franz).

 

If you can get to The Lowry in Salford, please go and see this delicious production performed by a company on top form. 

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So far, I have seen 5 performances with 4 different casts and they have all been splendid.  I am seeing 2 more performances at the Lowry on Saturday and will be seeing (assuming nothing changes) 2 more casts.  It shows the strength and depth of BRB at the moment that they can field so many terrific casts (and sadly I won't have seen Chi who is a sparkling Franz).

 

If you can get to The Lowry in Salford, please go and see this delicious production performed by a company on top form. 

 

Absolutely agree Janet that BRB is on top form and this production is gorgeous! Not many seats left for the Saturday matinee but this morning, one lone front row Circle seat was, I fear, too irresistible not to go for! I haven't been to The Lowry Theatre before but it looks lovely from the photos and I can get an earlier train and pop in to see the Lowry paintings.......I don't need any more excuses do I?!

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I can only agree wholeheartedly with the praise for BRB's wonderful "Coppelia". I took a friend from London to the Saturday Matinee. She was new to both BRB and Coppelia and was enchanted by both.

 

So good to see the representatives of the National Press in such numbers to review this impressive revival ! (NOT!!) National Newspapers? London Provincial Press!

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I am a bit late with my offering to this topic but I just wanted to say that I booked my tickets for Coppelia last April. With BRB you do not get the luxury of advance casting so it was a case of hope for the best. When it came to it I did get what, for me, is absolutely the best. I know I bang on and on about Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton but what a joy to see her debut in the role.

 

This girl is an utter jewel of the company and I view her partnership with Tyrone as the hottest and most watchable couple BRB have at the moment.

 

My 18 year old niece came and she giggled her way through the first act and then informed me 'she needs a better boyfriend'. However, when true love reigned she agreed that Franz and Swanilda were a match made in Heaven.

 

Tyrone is a deserved Principal and Celine has to be a future one. This girl is a bit special and she is so beautiful it is a joy to watch her.

 

I was very lucky to see my first choice cast. I would have been interested to have seen Samara Downs and Jamie Bond so I will have to look for another time.

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Very much enjoyed opening night at The Lowry.  Elisha Willis/ Chi Cao cast.  Highlight for me was William Bracewell's solo in the Call to Arms he was great and Celine Gittins' wonderful beautiful Italian Fouettes as Dawn in Act 3 - I think RB would do well to get her to do Queen of the Dryads in Don Q she did those fouettes no bother! Very nice show, lovely music, set and costumes.

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I also saw the opening night at the Lowry with Elisha Willis and Chi Cao, and enjoyed it extremely.  I wasn't sure if I would like BRB Coppelia, I have actually seen the ballet staged once before (years ago by an eastern European company) and to be honest it wasn't my most memorable night at the theatre. But with a Sir Peter Wright production and the superb dancers of BRB, how could I have doubted? The Wright productions display a mastery/genius in staging and choreography; and with the wonderful orchestra and some of the finest dancers I have ever seen, it's near on perfection to me. I'd go again to this Coppelia in the same way I would revisit the other great classic ballets.

 

Thanks for your review Don Q Fan, I completely agree about the highlights - and so nice to hear someone echoing my thoughts almost exactly. Bracewell's quality of dance stood out, and his long sequence of elegant fouettes in the Call to Arms were a sight to behold. And yes, Gittens' Italian fouettes - so light and lively and assured, I hesitate to say the best I've ever seen !  I could go on endlessly on other aspects, Chi Cao such a strong dazzling principal man, the beauty of the Prayer variation, the splendid ensemble dancing (my favourite was the Dance of the Hours). When individual spectacles like these are supported by the phenomenal artistic whole of the production, it defines the magic of classical ballet to me. 

 

My admiration for Willis' artistry was a large part of my enjoyment, she looked on top form to me - technically and dramatically. The light hopping en pointe, the brilliant turning at speed on diagonals and circles, the extensions and arabesques in the adagios, the comic charm she brought to the role in her acting -  she completely convinced me.

 

With this BRB Coppelia, I think I have now seen all the Sir Peter Wright classic productions, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Nutracker. And I've seen Elisha Willis in all but Giselle. I note they're back on Swan Lake in the coming Autumn, and while I'd gladly keep going to see the classics for as long as BRB care to perform them, I do feel ready to explore some non-traditional pieces by BRB now. 

 

Enjoy your Saturday at the Lowry Janet, and anyone else who is booked to see Coppelia in the remaining tour dates. Unanimous glowing praise so far on the forum!

Edited by northstar
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Superb sparkling performance this afternoon at The Lowry! It was Miki Mizutani dancing Swanhilda (having made her debut just 2 days ago) and Tzu- Chao Chou as her Franz. Miki was utterly superb in every way - true star quality. Tzu was also brilliant in both dancing and the characterization of the hapless Franz (let's face it, you have to be an idiot to fall for the doll!!). But at the end, when true love conquers all idiocy, that final Peace ppd is just fabulous!

 

I saw one performance of Coppelia last Saturday in Birmingham then loved it so much I though I would venture up north to the Lowry because one was not enough of this perfect production! My first visit to The Lowry and certainly after today, will be the first of many. I have gradually been broadening my ballet travels from where I live in Nottingham. I used to be very London-centric - not any more! I now know I can get to the wonderful Lowry in the same time it takes me to get to London but for half the price....! Roll on more ballets at The Lowry! Great theatre. Not to mention getting to spend 2 hours before the show with the Lowry art work which is amazing. Ballet and great art under the same roof - no brainer. What a great day today. 400 Lowry works plus the gorgeous & stunningly danced  BRB Coppelia - that is one fabulous day! 

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Well, they did, a couple of years back.

 

Are they bringing Swan Lake to London next year?  I certainly hope so.  I was thinking that I ought to find something of theirs I could go to twice as compensation for missing the Carmina Burana bill.  And if anyone spots Brandon Lawrence making a debut as Siegfried, PLEASE let me know!

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I think I was out of the country at the time, Alison.  Either that, or I couldn't get tickets for it.

 

But it is such a lovely ballet, I am always pleased to see it. 

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I could probably manage a weekday matinee in Birmingham, too (hint, hint, Mr. Bintley) :)

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Outside London ballets are like buses. You wait for ages for a show and then three come along at once. In Leeds Northern Ballet were dancing Jean-Christophe Maillot Romeo and Juliet last night.  In Southport Richard Alston Dance Company were performing at The Atkinson. At The Lowry the Birmingham Royal Ballet brought us Peter Wright's Coppelia.

Which to see? Northern Ballet is almost family to me. I know many of its dancers. I take classes in its studios. Its new production received rave reviews from the Scottish press. But it is on for over a week though until yesterday nobody knew the casting. Richard Alston was in the North for only one day but Southort is not close and his company will be back. Coppélia is a ballet I know well and love and Tyrone Singleton and Céline Gittens were cast as Franz and Swanilde. These are two of my favourite dancers and while  I had seen them individually many time before I had never before seen them dance in principal roles together. Yesterday was almost the 20th anniversary of its entering the Birmingham Royal Ballet's repertory, In the end it was the prospect of seeing two of my favourite dancers dance in one of my favourite ballets with sparkling choreography and Peter Farmer's designs that proved irresistible.

I am so glad I chose Salford because yesterday's performance was sensational.  It takes a lot to get an English audience to its feet, particularly in Manchester because we Mancunians have a distressing habit of cutting the tall poppies down to size. Especially anything from Birmingham which has the preposterous temerity to claim to be the second city when everybody else acknowledges Manchester's superiority in just about everything except ballet. But there were members of the audience other than me standing and clapping at the end of the show. Not everybody it is true and the theatre was by no means full but the buzz and chatter in the foyer and on the tram back to town indicated that everybody loved the show and that we had seen the company at its best.

Why was that? Much of the credit must go to the principal dancers, Singleton and Gittens, who danced magnificently.  Tall and slender and almost indecently good looking Singleton is one of the best male dancers this country has produced. Athletic and accomplished he is a thrill to watch and the choreography provides ample scope for his virtuosity. Particularly the pas de deux in the last act. Gittens was an adorable Swanilde. Spirited and feisty, how we burned with indignation as she watched her fiancé eye up the talent just before their wedding day.  And how our hearts almost missed a beat as she and her mates prowled around Dr Coppélius's workshop setting off one automaton after another.  Brave girl.  Alone in the presence of a madman intent on sucking the life force out of the drugged and slumbering Franz she mimicked the movements of the robot wearing its clothes as she tried to revive him.

Yesterday morning I had tweeted:

 

"@CelineGittens and @ty_sing are two favourites but I've never seen them dance principal roles together. I think they'll be sensational."

 

And indeed they were but so was everybody else.   Maureya Lebowitz (another favourite) was a gorgeously sexy gypsy. Small wonder that Franz could not keep her eyes off her. Samara DownsAngela PaulFeargus Campbell and Mathias Dingman danced a great mazurka and czárdás in Act I. Rory Mackay was a fine burgomeister and Jonathan Payn a doughty publican rescuing poor old Dr Coppélius from his muggers.

Act III is one long divertissement around the tolling of the bell - hence the title Dance of the Hours. Brandon Lawrence, yet another favourite, danced Father Time, Karla Doorbar Dawn, Yijing Zhang Prayer, Ruth Brill (one of three very special dancers in different companies who are not yet principals but who nevertheless somehow make my spirits soar) led Work, Laura Purkis and Max Maslen danced Betrothal and Oliver Till led War.

But the character who dances in all three Acts and holds the ballet together is Dr Coppélius. His role was performed brilliantly by Valentin Olovyannikov. Coppélius is a complex character - part villain, part clown, part victim - brilliant but just a little mad, tragic but in the end redeemed riding immediately behind the happy couple on the cart as they and the bell leave the stage. Olovyannikov portrayed his character beautifully.

Having seen English National Ballet's Coppélia in Oxford recently I thought I might compare them but I can't because they are such different works and I can't say that I like one more than the other. Each production has its own strengths and delights and in each company there are some very special dancers. Coppélia is not danced anything like as often as it should be because it has an interesting plot and stunning choreography. The ballet going public have been treated this year to two magnificent productions.

Edited by terpsichore
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Terpsichore, if you get the chance to see Tyrone and Celine as the pas de deux couple in Carmina Burana do anything you can to get a ticket. They make the ballet worth seeing by themselves. I am not a fan of the piece but I love them in it.

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 But there were members of the audience other than me standing and clapping at the end of the show. Not everybody it is true and the theatre was by no means full but the buzz and chatter in the foyer and on the tram back to town indicated that everybody loved the show and that we had seen the company at its best.

 

I find it sad that there should be what sounds like lots of empty seats for wonderful performance from one of the best ballet companies. 

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