LAST EDITED ON 01-08-01 AT 09:25 PM (GMT)
I have mixed feelings about Nunez. I was so excited over her in the Masterclass, I decided to see this performance just for her.
On the one hand, Nunez was very exciting technically - one quadruple pirouette after another, a quad fouette at the end, and a series of backward hops on pointe twice as long as that of Hatley and Tapper.
She really 'went for it' as Donald urged had her to do in the masterclass. Helena, remember those sideway bends with one arm in 5th position and the other in 1st, and how Donald kept at her to lean further until her upper body was horizontal and she was almost falling over! She did that on every single bend which was great to watch!
Unfortunately, she had the same kind of attitude towards the mime, which is extensive in Coppelia. Nunez's gestures were a bit exaggerated, and a little over the top. What worked well in the bare Linbury studio didn't look so good in the context of the ballet.
Her Swanhilda was certainly a different interpretation that that of Hatley and Tapper. I felt the latter two were spunky, but with an inner sensitivity, and both were visibly hurt while watching Franz entraced with Coppelia. Nunez sort of got furious and stomped off. There was quite a bit of foot-stamping that I hadn't noticed in the other two, and I thought this made her Swanhilda a bit one-dimensional.
I also thought her Swanhilda had a bit of a mean streak. She was rather gleeful in her impersonation of Coppelia, and the joke was the centre of Act II. Nunez was less concerned in getting Franz out of there, as I had interpreted in Hatley and Tapper.
It really did look like a debut performance in the mime scenes. She looked like she was trying too hard. But I attribute that to the fact that Nunez lost her partner a week before, spent all her rehearsal time in the pdd, and probably didn't have enough time to refine it. It's a shame she doesn't have more performances coming up as I'd like to see how she'd develop.
Having said all that, I still enjoyed her performance. She was very charming, and has great presence on stage. And though I heard a few comments echoing what I said above during the intervals, she had a great reaction from the audience. I don't think she's principal material yet, but she's definitely one to watch for.
I liked Stuart Cassidy, who replaced Johan Persson, a great deal. Some of his expressions were hilarious. And he did a nice job in partnering Nunez, and then in his own solo. I think it was William Tuckett who played Dr Coppelius, and he was very good.
Three Coppelias in a week, and boy were they worth it! I can't say enough about this cheery production - the bright colours, the toy-box houses, those wonderful swishy bows, the glitter and candles at the end, and of course the beautiful music. I don't think I've ever heard such wonderful music in ballet before.
So did anyone else go?