Posted by Bruce on behapf of Katharine Kanter...
COPPELIA, choreography by Patrice Bart, POB, performance of March 21st 2002
Yank this thing of the boards as soon as possible ! Where was the ol'Vaudeville hook when we needed it ?
Have already seen it twice, walked out at the interval.
For those of you out there who do not know, this is a completely "rethought", if that is the word, "Coppélia" by the POB's former ballet master Patrice Bart. Not a step remains from Saint Léon's original. This Thing dates from 1996, has huge chunks of music glopped in from the opera "Lakhme" and God knows where else, and is an absolute unmitigated mess, cast of thousands galumphing over the stage in all directions, meaninglessly.
Why Bart says he had to bring in that brilliant mime Claude de Vulpian to instruct, is beyond me, because he as simply wrecked all the lovely mime passages in the original.
The dances are messy and complicated, the variations either dull, or dire. The intrigue is impossible to follow, something Freudian and sexually triangular (Where would this country be without a sexual triangle ?)
Lionel Delannoe as Frantz was so much under the weather, that the less said the better, and Elisabeth Maurin as Swanhilda seemed, for whatever reason, terribly ill at ease, even shaky. Perhaps the gruesome choreography had got to them both.
Sole redeeming feature of the evening: some exquisite instants from the twenty-year old Myriam Ould-Braham (whose quality of movement is simply extraordinary) and from that beautiful redhead Fanny Fiat. As for Emmanuel Thibault as one of Frantz's little friends - well, what foreigners must think about seeing a dancer of the extraordinary quality of Thibault, in the seventeenth row third from the left, with Delannoe up front as "premier danseur", is a peculiar question better not raised here