Coppelia – Shimmering, Sparkling and Super Fun

The Birmingham Royal Ballet summer season began in Birmingham on Tuesday evening with the opening at the Hippodrome of  the ever charming Coppelia. Once again, the BRB showed why they are one of the world’s greatest ballet company’s with a production that showed that ballet can be funny as well as graceful.

The story of Coppelia is one full of humour and deception, featuring the aged old love triangle between a boy,a girl and a wooden doll. Of course, the village Lothario Franz doesn’t realise that the new object of his lust, the beautiful lady who sits on the balcony of Dr Coppelius,  quietly reading her book, is a wooden doll. Nor does the lovely Swanilda realise that the rather aloof Coppelia, who she tries to chat too from the town square, isn’t real. Hence, when she finds the key to Dr Coppelius’s house and workshop, she wants to take a closer look at the girl for herself. Franz is also curious about the lovely (albeit slightly wooden) young lady, and uses a ladder to enter the workshop. All chaos ensues when Dr Coppelius arrives back and discovers Franz in his home. Could the soul of the young man help transform his beautiful Coppelia into a real girl?

There was much to enjoy in this performance of Coppelia. Nao Sakuma is a charming heroine, her masquerade as the living doll is just sublime, and she turns out to be the heroine of the piece, rescuing the frankly undeserving Franz from Dr Coppelius and his book of spells. The set piece when Swanilda and her friends creep into the rather spooky workshop is very funny, the ballet moves perfectly mimicking the creeping actions of the girls, and I love the ballerina at the end of the line, so frightened she is almost bent double lest she see anything that scares her. Franz, as played by Joseph Caley, is lusty and red-blooded, the perfect hero of the piece, although you almost wish that Swanilda could kick him into touch – he doesn’t exactly treat his betrothed well, despite the ringing from the ear of corn.

The sets are beautiful, evoking Eastern European architecture in the village scene and the Duke’s mansion, whilst the costumes really add to the spectacle, particularly in the vibrant reds and greens of the opening scenes. I loved the slightly garish, sensuous costume worn by the Gypsy girl (Victoria Marr) who seems intent and also leading Franz away from his beloved, all ribbons and sashes everywhere. And, of course, the music soars across the theatre, those instantly recognisable compositions by Leo Delibes that prove the perfect backdrop to all the dances.

Coppelia is a dream – a gorgeous, frothy and enchanting production that is just the perfect entertainment for a Summer’s evening. Love prevails and everyone is happy at the end of the day – what more could you wish for?

Coppelia is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until 17th June. Click here for details.

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22 thoughts on “Coppelia – Shimmering, Sparkling and Super Fun

  1. Sounds amazing! They’re performing in Bristol too at the end of the month but unfortunately won’t be able to make it. Thank you for sharing, defo have to go next time 🙂

  2. I wish I lived closer so I could see this show. I know I would love it.

  3. This looks like a fabulous show! I wouldn’t mind seeing it with my daughter.

  4. What a beautiful story! I’d love to see the ballet Coppelia. I’ve always enjoyed live theater, but I’ve rarely gone out to the ballet. But now you have me inspired! 🙂

  5. Sounds like an amazing show. It’s the first time I hear about it, and made me curious.

  6. They had posters for this show all over the ballet company I briefly worked for, but I was just a fundraiser so I really didn’t know what it was about. I remember asking about the pronunciation-where the emphasis fell. It actually sounds like a fun ballet and the costumes look gorgeous!

  7. This sounds like an amazing ballet! I have not heard of this story before, but I am definitely excited to find the story online!

  8. I love your description of the story. I have never heard of this story. It is nice to know the background before you see the ballet.

  9. I have to say even though I danced as a kid I have never been to the ballet before but it is something that I would love to tick off my bucket list. I like the sound of Coppelia!

  10. What a lovely production. I have danced ballet when I was younger but I have yet to see a full production locally. If only they showed it here.

  11. The ballet production of Coppelia looks wonderful with its grand set and whimsical touches. It is a favorite with kids.

  12. The ballet looks like a wonderful show! I’ll have to check it out if ever I’m in the area!

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