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Delibes: Coppélia / Kessels, Paris National Opera Ballet [DVD]

Album Summary

>Delibes, Léo : Coppelia
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Premiered by the Opera De Paris in 1870, and inspired by the fantastical writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Coppelia tells the story of a young man who becomes besotted with an exquisite automaton and is finally brought to his senses by his fiancée. In their production from the magnificent Palais Garnier, choreographer Bart in his final production and designer Toffolutti explore the story's darker side while doing full justice to the exuberance and elegance of Delibes' glorious score.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 114 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish



Reviews

Exquisite Modern, Yet Classical Take on Coppélia
Patrice Bart's unique take on Coppélia is definitely something worth watching. This version takes the more sinister side of the original story of E.T.A. Hoffmann, with additional music by Delibes (since the original score is far too cheerful for a sinister version). The ballet begins with a curtain (by Ezio Toffolutti), illustrating scrolls of sketches of the human body, ways to make the ideal doll. With this curtain, the theme of the objectification of women as dolls becomes clear. The first act illustrates Swanilda and her love for the simple, young Frantz and her love for Coppélius, a middle-aged, handsome owner of a doll shop. In the second act, Coppélius, deranged and desperate to bring his deceased lover to life, intends to kill Swanilda and take her skin and soul to animate the doll of his former lover. Swanilda dances character dances (which are metaphorically, aspects of her personality) to deter him from her, though this only excites him even more. In the end, her young love, Frantz comes to save the day, and they dance an elegant pas de deux.
What makes this version exceptional is the story, choreography, emotional depth, and the artists themselves. The choreography, though extremely technically challenging, never looks messy and frantic, like many modern choreographers make the mistake of doing. Each movement is there for a reason, and it perfects the image of Coppélia. The main characters have multiple personalities in this version, and it makes the production emotionally powerful. Swanilda dances both the roles of the down-to-Earth Swanilda, and of the ethereal doll, Coppélia. Dorothée Gilbert (who dances this dual role) is absolutely stunning; she has excellent technique and amazing artistic potential. Opposite Swanilda is Coppélius, whose dual personality is reflected through his companion, Spalanzani, who does the dirty work. José Martinez (who dances Coppélius) has perfect line, and performs the role of a handsome, middle-aged man (with an added sensitivity) incredibly. Frantz, Swanilda's young love, danced by Mathis Heymann is convincing as young and naive, especially because he is a very young rising star. Fabrice Bourgeois performs Spalanzani, and is an excellent addition to this near-perfect French cast.

Coppélia, very much like The Nutcracker, has been done and re-done hundreds of times, and has mostly been done with the naive (and pleasant) joy of Delibes' score. However, this version revolutionizes Coppélia, making it genius and sinister. Though this isn't a classical version of Coppélia, it is definitely worth owning to the ballet fan.
Submitted on 01/20/12 by danrubin06 
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Works Details

>Léo Delibes (1836 - 1891) : Coppélia
  • Performers: Jose Martinez (Dancer); Mathias Heymann (Dancer); Dorothee Gilbert (Dancer); Fabrice Bourgeois (Dancer)
  • Conductor: Koen Kessels
  • Ensemble: Orchestre Colonne
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1870