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Subject: "RB Coppelia thoughts...." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #506
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Bruce Madmin

09-02-00, 08:33 AM (GMT)
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"RB Coppelia thoughts...."
 
  
No time to do a review yet, but I hope those who were there might say a little something about the RB revival of Coppelia...

In a nutshell: I enjoyed it tremendously, but then I do love Coppelia. Yoshida and Acosta both have a terrific sense of fun and the nifty choreography suited. I always notice the feet in de Valois's stuff for the company... some of whom can manage and some of whom have development needs. The telling is very 19th century with corps dancers just popping out for a quickie centre stage for no real reason - there was no attempt to integrate things a little. Designs by Osbert Lancaster charming but not quite as good as Fille or those for Ondine, which retain their period feel perhaps better. But this was a lovely night and it should do well on the television as well.

Man of the Match (sorry Jim)
3 way tie - Yoshida, Acosta yes, but Luke Heydon was magnificent as Dr Coppelius - a suburb actor and so, so close to going OTT.... but not. He also gets a Gold Star for his curtain call performance.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Wendy Glavis 09-02-00 1
  RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Penny 09-02-00 2
     RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... fuzzyface 09-02-00 3
         RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Bruce Madmin 09-02-00 4
  RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Jane S 09-02-00 5
  RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Sachiko 10-02-00 6
     RE: RB Coppelia thoughts.... Bruce Madmin 10-02-00 7
     Live broadcast Stephanie Wragg 10-02-00 8
         RE: Live broadcast Bruce Madmin 10-02-00 9
             Two Coppelias Michael Llewellyn 11-02-00 10
                 Coppelia Terry 11-02-00 11
                     RE: Coppelia Bruce Madmin 12-02-00 13
         RE: Live broadcast lucy joyce 12-02-00 14
  RE: RB Coppelia Review Bruce Madmin 12-02-00 12
     RE: RB Coppelia Review Bruce Wall 14-02-00 15
         RE: RB Coppelia Review Eugene Merrett 15-02-00 16
     RE: RB Coppelia Review russell 15-02-00 17
         RE: RB Coppelia Review alison 15-02-00 18

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Wendy Glavis

09-02-00, 10:01 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #0
 
   I agree, Bruce. Coppelia was great. I was lucky enough to be there for the open rehearsal on Monday and it was a treat to see Sarah Wildor and Ethan Stiefel dance the leading roles. Indeed, everyone danced so well that it was hard to remember this wasn't a 'real' performance.
Also had a good view of Kaiser sitting in the stalls. He stayed for the whole thing and gave the performers plenty of applause. Good for him.


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Penny

09-02-00, 12:39 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #0
 
   Agree - a wonderful evening. The company was on excellent form and Yoshida is a jewel of a dancer. I would have been very interested to see the rehearsal with Wildor to see her handle the technical side of the role as I'm sure every other aspect of the role suits her. Acosta excellent in the pas de deux and I think this is a wonderful partnership. I have become a Yoshida convert. Her dancing in a role like this is perfect.


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fuzzyface

09-02-00, 01:13 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #2
 
   Does this mean that Sarah is replacing Leanne Benjamin?


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Bruce Madmin

09-02-00, 01:52 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #3
 
   Just on the 22nd I think...


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Jane S

09-02-00, 01:56 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #0
 
   Hmm...I was rather less enthusiastic. Nothing but praise for Acosta's dancing, and I did like Luke Heydon - but I think there's a lot more in Swanilda than Yoshida showed - she's rather too childish for me. The production should look better when they've relaxed into a bit, and put some of the costumes through a hot wash a few times. Not a good evening for Galeazzi, I thought - surely they've got people more suited to the Dawn solo? The music's always a pleasure to hear, but I had a much better time overall at the Rojo/Ramos performance at ENB.

Wildor's dancing on the 22nd, I believe.


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Sachiko

10-02-00, 10:32 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #0
 
   I completely agree with Jane. Having recently seen the ENB's enchanting production with marvelous design (my time was with adolescent and mischievous Perego/Chang), it was a bit hard to absorb myself in Act I, which had no show-stopping dance to divert my mind from peculiar costume / set (I didn't realise that the original design have been purposely restored in honour of Madam). I suppose Yoshida's naivete would perfectly suit to a more boyish Frantz, say, smiling Corella than to tall elegant Acosta. Again I was so influenced by ENB as to stereotype the roles, e.g. witty Swanilda and dumb Frantz.

But later I enjoyed very much their magnificent pas de deux in Act III, which proved once again their graceful partnership. Also I was impressed by hilarious Heydon and elegant Yanowsky. I must not forget to videotape the live performance!


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Bruce Madmin

10-02-00, 11:53 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: RB Coppelia thoughts...."
In response to message #6
 
   Hynd's production for ENB is a real goody and I love it to bits. They have been doing it regularly now for some time and of course it fits like a glove. The RB Coppelia is effectively new and it will take some time for it to bed down and for us to appreciate it for what it is. So for now I think comparisons are not so easily done. But if anybody has not seen the ENB version, it really is worth hunting out...


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Stephanie Wragg

10-02-00, 04:27 PM (GMT)
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8. "Live broadcast"
In response to message #6
 
   Does anyone know when this broadcast will be?

Is it really going to be with Yoshida in the lead?


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Bruce Madmin

10-02-00, 04:35 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Live broadcast"
In response to message #8
 
   Saturday 19th and yes is what I hear


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Michael Llewellyn

11-02-00, 02:25 AM (GMT)
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10. "Two Coppelias"
In response to message #9
 
   I agree the production looks charming and shows off the company very well - maybe there is a bit too much red in the Act I costumes. I thought Yoshidas dancing on Tuesday was absolute perfection and utter joy to watch. Tonight Benjamin started off a bit glassy-eyed, but by Act II she had relaxed and was superb in Act III, lovely footwork. Stiefel was delightful and boyish - wonderfully as Acosta danced he is actually a bit too manly. Deanne Bergsmas coaching of Prayer has really paid off - Yanowsky was glorious on the first night, Tranah boureed beautifully tongiht even if her arabesque wobbled slightly. Jaimie Tapper was most impressive tonight as Aurora, throwing off the tehcnical difficulties with great ease - I thought Galeazzi was trying a bit too hard, reminding me of the young Viviana years ago.


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Terry

11-02-00, 04:12 AM (GMT)
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11. "Coppelia "
In response to message #10
 
   Well, this is a question to all of you who have the wonderful opportunity in seeing RB dancers....Has anyone seen Melissa Wishinski or Alina Cojocaru dance demi soloist roles? Or are they only dancing corps de ballet roles? I was just a bit curious on the progress of these two young dancers because they exhibited some nice qualities at the Lausanne 2 yrs ago...Please let me know how they're doing!


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Bruce Madmin

12-02-00, 10:03 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Coppelia "
In response to message #11
 
   >Well, this is a question to all
>of you who have the wonderful
>opportunity in seeing RB dancers....Has anyone
>seen Melissa Wishinski or Alina Cojocaru
>dance demi soloist roles?

Cojocaru only recently joined, so it's early days yet. It takes a while for new dancers and management to settle in I think. Acosta was a great example, where he joined but we saw not much of him for the first year.

Not sure about Wishinski - she is on stage for sure, but does not seem to stand out at the moment.



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lucy joyce

12-02-00, 11:39 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Live broadcast"
In response to message #8
 
   yes for the t.v recording it will be Yoshida and Acosta


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Bruce Madmin

12-02-00, 09:49 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: RB Coppelia Review"
In response to message #0
 
   Coppelia's return to the RB after some 30 years makes it qualify almost as a new piece and of course, starved as we have been of 'new' full length works, it was bound to be a very welcome return. That it is also a piece of de Valois - the Royal Ballet's founder - makes it rather special, as was the decision not to tamper (much) with the 1950's Osbert Lancaster designs.

What's more the de Valois Coppelia, in the company since the 1930's, is based on the Cecchetti version which itself was a revision of Petipa's work. What a marvellous thing to revive but what on earth might this (periodically adjusted) time capsule look like? Sadly of course I'm far too young to have seen it the first time!

Well it's certainly a period piece and the 19th century comes ringing through as knees-ups for the corps (admittedly rather more folksy than usual) intersperse the story telling with perhaps more than the usual gay abandon. In the last act we even have ballgowns in the village square, almost as though a posse of dancers from an abstract piece of Ashton in some next door theatre took a wrong turn and, having arrived on stage, decide to follow though with their party piece. The designs reinforce the strange feel. They feature vivid reds, greens and blacks together with large block prints - all odd to our eyes and yet strangely and obviously looking brand new. As a number of people have commented, they will probably look more the part when they have weathered down some. But I think the Lancaster designs for Fille rather friendlier and the Ondine designs (Lila de Nobili), also from the 1950's, stand out better.

If it's de Valois, it's feet and there was indeed much speed and nimble footwork to be seen. Carlos Acosta and Miyako Yoshida can rise to most such challenges. But some of the soloists and corps were suffering, having been trained so differently. Even so, enough comes through to appreciate a different style - original old English if you like.

Yoshida's Swanilda I find beguiling, but then I liked her Lise (Fille) and there are similarities. It's not complex or particularly knowing, though she clearly sees what's on Franz's mind and her acting carries well to the audience these days, not to mention her good sense of comic timing. All that said I think the role rings true for many and I'm not sure I've ever seen a bad Swanilda - just various states running up from very good. Acosta is a good partner for her, just the right size and so attentive, and Franz seems to fit his personality well. But again I'm not sure if I've ever seen a bad Franz. Of course when Acosta 'lets rip' in his solo we are all reminded quite what a catch he was - effortless and easy.

Luke Heydon played Dr Coppelius, the mad professor of the piece, and for a first night it seemed a masterful performance - so vivid and richly coloured: no caricature. Such performances are vital to bring classics to life and I hope that Heydon never gets the itch to go elsewhere.

For those who love ballet, all the contrasts on display are terrific to behold and there will be great sport in seeing who can get their feet, bodies and minds around which roles. For people coming to see a 19th century story I'm not so sure how the slightly less 'integrated' look will come over. Ronald Hynd's Coppelia for ENB, while clearly still 19th century is a real jewel on so many levels, not least accessibility, and it will be interesting to see how the de Valois settles on us all. But to see either of these productions would be a joy I think - and we should all be thankful that Coppelia is coming to the forefront again.


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Bruce Wall

14-02-00, 12:15 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: RB Coppelia Review"
In response to message #12
 
   I have now seen the 'new/old' production of Coppelia twice and am dispirited by it. I have seen few adagios as awkward as that in the last act. Such difficult partnering for so little effect. Moreover, what is the point of bringing dancers of the calibre of Corella and Stiefel in to the company -- which is devoutely to be applauded - to dance this Franz? Sadly, it escapes me. Also, I long for a Coppelius who can define the serious intent inherent within the story, much along the lines of the late, great Eric Bruhn or, say, currently, Robbie LaFosse with NYCB. The Royal Ballet prides itself in its 'storied' rep. Here, I feel, that pride is tarnished by the cartoon nature of this depiction, forcing the last act to lack a linked focus. What would happen if the Danes performed Madge in La Sylphide in this manner? All this, of course, would not matter where the choreography to be a matter of musical joy. I agree with the contributor who said the first act is the best. It is. The dance, however, needs to build to a final act of celebratory joy. All this too would matter less if -- and here I'm being polite, -- the score was not played in so sluggish and irreverant a manner.

The design is a delight. It should look good on television. Lovely to have the opportunity to step back into a living museum. Still, is that what the ROH management really intended for the the first 'new' full-length production in the revamped House? Perhaps. Certainly here there is nothing to 'toy' with the new technologies. The ROH audience of the 50s could be found happily purring in this preservation. Only the prices, in this specific case, have altered.


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Eugene Merrett

15-02-00, 10:45 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: RB Coppelia Review"
In response to message #15
 
   It was a very English Coppelia. The plot is definitely more gentle then other productions and Swanilda is not quite so strong minded. It was a very charming Coppelia which is closer to La Fille Mal Gardee then anything else. And of course it has the same designer as La Fille

I cannot get over Ethan Stieffel awesome talent. His solo it in the pas de deux was a fantastic display. In my view only Igor Zelensky surpasses him technically.

I thought Leanne Benjamim was a bit miscast as Swanilda. It would have been perfect for the delightful Ms Hatley.


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russell

15-02-00, 12:04 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: RB Coppelia Review"
In response to message #12
 
   made a nice change from from the pretty, pretty coppelia's enjoyed benjamin and corella as franz and swanilda very much, prayer a delight.
disapointing program WHY no upto date photographs???


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alison

15-02-00, 05:29 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: RB Coppelia Review"
In response to message #17
 
   Simply because it hasn't been done for 30 years! (You have to wait until the next season to get photos in the programme - I've learned never to buy a programme for a new production first time round).


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