St James Theatre 2, Wellington

17/04/2014 - 26/04/2014

Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin

08/05/2014 - 09/05/2014

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

28/05/2014 - 31/05/2014

Civic Theatre, 88 Tay Street, Invercargill, Invercargill

04/05/2014 - 04/05/2014

Municipal Theatre, Napier

16/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

24/05/2014 - 25/05/2014

Southland Festival of the Arts 2014

Production Details



Hilarity ensues when a beautiful life-sized automaton is mistaken for a real girl, but rest assured true love is at the heart of this charming and bittersweet tale of mistaken identity.
RNZB Ballet Master Martin Vedel is staging Coppélia and it is a ballet he knows inside out.  “When RNZB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel asked me to stage Coppélia I was instantly intrigued – it is a ballet in which I have performed many times both as a student of the Royal Danish Ballet School and later with the Royal Danish Ballet. It is a wonderful ballet for all audiences with exhilarating character dances, including the show-stopping Czardas (Hungarian folk dance), wonderful classical solos and pas de deux, to a memorable score.”
This production of Coppélia will be unique to the RNZB and clearly told for 21st century audiences. Mr Vedel explains: “Values such as true love, devotion and friendship are strong in Coppélia and I will be preserving and presenting traditional theatre and classical ballet as an art form, while sharpening up the main story so it is relevant today,” says Mr Vedel.
Reprising his role of Dr Coppélius the misunderstood inventor, a role he first performed for the RNZB in 1964, Sir Jon Trimmer is looking forward to touring across the country with Coppélia. “Touring is such an integral part of a ballet dancer’s life and seeing our audiences across New Zealand respond to our artistry is something we all value and enjoy. I can’t wait to get on the road again. See you soon New Zealand!” says Sir Jon.
The three-act ballet is designed by the late Kiwi-born designer Kristian Fredrikson (whose costumes wowed audiences in the RNZB’s recent production of Swan Lake).  For Coppélia along with the beautiful tutus audiences will also get to enjoy the antics of the ten outrageous automatons who populate Dr Coppelius’ marvellous workshop. 
Coppélia opens in Wellington on 17 April and tours to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier Rotorua and Takapuna, closing in Auckland City on 31 May.
Choreography: Martin Vedel after Marius Petipa and Arthur Saint-Léon
Music: Léo Delibes
Wellington (with Orchestra Wellington), 17 – 26 April, St James Theatre
Palmerston North, 30 April, Regent on Broadway
Invercargill, 4 May, Civic Theatre
Dunedin (with the Southern Sinfonia), 8 – 9 May, Regent Theatre
Napier, 16 – 17 May, Napier Municipal Theatre
Rotorua, 21 May, Civic Theatre
Takapuna, 24 – 25 May, Bruce Mason Centre
Auckland City (with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra) 28 – 31 May, ASB Theatre


2 hrs

Coppelia at ASB Theatre, Auckland

Review by Bernadette Rae 30th May 2014

Merry cavorting villagers turn up often in classical ballets, usually as the background setting to something more sombre involving princes and wraiths, and they are frequently, frankly, just a bit of a yawn.

But this Coppelia in its Kristian Fredrikson design, originally made for the Australian Ballet in 1979 and firmly rooted in picturesque village life, is as fresh, frothy and delicious as a newly made meringue, its youthful hijinks sitting perfectly with the RNZB’s lineup of new, young dancers.

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A sparkling production

Review by Jenny Stevenson 29th May 2014

Retiring Ballet Mistress Turid Revfeim has worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company for 28 years, and can be congratulated on her legacy of beautifully trained dancers – nowhere more apparent than in this sparkling production of Coppélia, choreographed by Martin Vedel (after Marius Petipa and Arthur Saint-Léon), who is also the Company’s Ballet Master.

In the absence of Principal Guest Artist Gillian Murphy, and following the recent retirement of Qi Huan, the younger dancers of the Company rise to the challenge of performing the demanding choreography of this fresh production, alongside Leading Artist Sir Jon Trimmer in the role of Dr Coppélius, the eccentric creator of automated dolls.

Trimmer’s extraordinary characterisation, where every gesture is subtly nuanced, is a world away from the breezy, emotional shorthand sometimes employed by the younger artists in their interpretations.  The mastery of mime, that most complex of art-forms, literally takes a life-time of study, so that the gestures inhabit the body, rather than being a form of semaphore.  Trimmer fully lives the reality and immense frustration of the misunderstood and derided artist, in love with his finest creation – the beautiful doll, Coppélia.   

Lucy Green, as the young Swanhilda, and Kohei Iwamato, as Franz, revel in the comic elements of their roles and their contagious joie-de-vivre enlivens their characterisations.  Green performs a marathon three acts of dance with strength and confidence, and  has in only four years become a star of the Company, and Iwamato looks set to follow in her footsteps.  Their performance in the pas-de-deux of Act III is assured, musically astute and beautifully realised.

Catherine Grange as Swanhilda’s friend Ima, and Jacob Chown as Franz’s friend Zoltan, also stand out as accomplished artists.  Grange’s line and bearing is that of a true classicist.  The spirited Hungarian czardas of Act I, always one of the highlights of the ballet, is here performed with sultry disdain by a group of gypsies led by the enigmatic Abigail Boyle.  In Act III, the Waltz of the Hours is beautifully performed by the Company, as are the Dawn and Prayer solos. 

Vedel’s lovely choreography milks the classic idiom but introduces surprising elements, particularly in the innovative lifts and pas-de-deux work.  He boldly inserts a new character, Limbless, a factotum to Dr Coppélius, who dances in the contemporary idiom and is here performed with glorious abandon by Paul Mathews.

Kristian Fredriksen’s design for the set and costumes, on loan from the Australian Ballet Company utilises the muted colours of nature: in russet and shades of brown, blue and green.  The magical workshop of Dr Coppélius, subtly lit by Jason Morphett is a fantastical design of intricately decorated archways and fret work – like some Middle Eastern harem.

Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel’s decision to appoint Nigel Gaynor as Music Director and Principal Conductor has paid huge dividends.  Léo Delibe’s  melodic score is a delight as played by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under his baton. 

As his penultimate offering before leaving as Artistic Director, Stiefel showcases the Company as being in solid form and ready to take the next step under a new leader.



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Delivered with aplomb

Review by Raewyn Whyte 25th May 2014

Though it’s not one of the big blockbuster classical ballets, Coppelia is nevertheless very popular, the cartoonish story of a resident toymaker/inventor,  Dr Coppelius, who has long been making automated life-size dolls, and the events which follow after some villagers, including about-to-be-affianced Franz and Swanhilda, break into his house to find out more about the mysterious Coppelia who sits in his balcony. After some mayhem, the ballet has a happy ending – young love is requited, and Dr Coppelius is recompensed for damage done to his studio during the break-in – and this series of events no doubt contributes to Coppelia’s audience appeal.

First produced in 1884, with choreography by Marius Petipa inspired by two E.T.A. Hoffmann stories, and set to eminently danceable music by Leo Delibes, replete with mazurka and czardas sections. Coppelia is win the 2014 subscription seasons of many companies around the world, and is currently being performed, for example, by the English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, Lithuanian State Theatre Ballet Joburg Ballet, the Queensland Ballet, and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Near the end of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s national tour of Coppelia, staged by the company’s ballet master Martin Vedel, the dancers look confident and well within their comfort zone and it is clear that they really love to dance. The showy ensemble work is highly polished and creates beautifully matched configurations, particularly in the spectacular lifts which provide the climax to scenes of village celebrations. Act 1 and Act 3 have many-times-repeated jumps, turns, leaps, balances, Hungarian folkdance-inspired sequences. Certain limactic moments are also signalled by the men sliding on one knee while arms are flourished in the air, accompanied by cheesy grins of triumph — all delivered with aplomb. The required characterisations are presented, and the narrative is easily followed, leaving no doubt at all about the sequence of events.

This New Zealand production is danced in costumes borrowed from the Australian Ballet, designed by Kristian Fredrickson, derived from eastern European and Hungarian traditional clothing and in a gently pleasing palette which runs from cream and white through lemon to mustard, ochres, and browns. The men wear loose square neck or v-neck shirts, tabards and vests, and knee-length pants, soft leather, heeled shoes or for soloists, soft calf-length leather boots over white tights. The women wear a series of dresses with close-fitting bodices and loose sleeves atop full, layered skirts, with headdresses, all items embellished by some combination of braids and ribbons and lace, becoming more elaborate for Act 3’s village celebration of the wedding of Franz and Swanhilda. Like the men, the women of the ensemble wear soft leather, heeled shoes, with pointe shoes for the soloists.

On opening night at the Bruce Mason Centre, Sir Jon Trimmer is Dr Coppelius, a role he has danced a number of times in his long career, and he inhabits the role convincingly, taking pride in his inventions, becoming delighted, yet full of consternation, when his Coppelia doll refuses to obey his commands and instead begins to perform soft, flowing human movements.  Kohei Iwamoto (Franz) is a bit of a mixture – part flyboy, part ardent swain, part leader of the pack, and somewhat easily led. However, his foolishness gets its come-uppance, and he seems extremely happy when his wedding is being celebrated. Lucy Green (Swanhilda and Coppelia) is on stage and dancing for almost the entire three acts, and towards the end she looks as if she is pushing the envelope just a little to stay on top of all the demands, yet she presents appropriately nuanced movement and characterization throughout.

Act 2 brings the audience alight, with events inside the house of Dr  Coppelius moving at a steady pace and taking unexpected turns, with trickery and subversion, a little drunkenness, lots of laughs, and some very regrettable damage done. All of this hinges on anticipation, misbelief, and illusion, with  live-sized dolls apparently coming to life, with a notable performance by Paul Mathew as the automaton Limbless. Events end with some regettable damage being left behind in the studio, along with a clear apprehension of reality for all.

The Company seem to relish their accomplishment, and they certainly present it with flair and elegance, poise and confidence and pride.  It would seem it is time for more challenging fare.


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Wondrous automatons, joyous youthful dancing

Review by Kim Buckley 18th May 2014

As the opening notes of Leo Delibes score waft through the glorious Art Deco Napier Municipal Theatre, and the house lights fade, I can feel the audience’s full attention and expectation turn to the stage. The opening imagery of the RNZB’s Coppelia, is  instantly engaging.  Choreographer Martin Vedel, together with Lighting Designer Jason Morphett, create a moment so simple, strong and clear, the lasting imagery is akin to having a very large photographic print sitting precisely in my visual memory.  Jon Trimmer, in those opening moments, sublime as Dr. Coppelius, is bathed in a focused pool of warm light, as he sits at his desk, completely and intently focused on the clever mechanisms of the hand, wrist and arm of a puppet. Some clever choreography and set design allows us to believe Dr. Coppelius really is the Genius inventor and creator of life-sized automatons.

Almost within the space of a heartbeat, we see a woman sitting out of reach on her small balcony, as poised as a china doll, elegant in blue lace. Her head inclined, she is reading. The marvellous timing of this introduction is so seamlessly sewn together with the obvious passion of Dr. Coppelius and his gift for automaton that  we can easily guess, the woman in blue is Coppelia.

The blackout following is a tad too long, but understandably, necessary to set the scene for Act I.  For as the lights come up, the reveal is breathtaking and spellbinding, and the tad too long is  forgiven.  The stunning forest silhouette encompassing the stage, together with the amber tones of harvest time swathes the simple set design, creating an immediate emotional connection to the warm, happy, vibrant village, full of life and youthful energy. The traditionally carved frontage of what we come to know as Dr. Coppelius’ home, is totally enticing. We all want to know what is in there… rather like the candy house in Hansel and Gretel.

The villagers, engaged in humorous banter and friendship, greet the day together with dances, the young men strutting their stuff, the young women flouting theirs. It is here that Franz and Swanhilda introduce themselves to us, as flirtatious and cute teenagers.

Unexpectedly, we hear a very loud winding sound… the stage lights change to pull our focus onto Coppelia sitting alone on her balcony. She looks cold and sterile, bathed in a pale blue light. Suddenly, she moves.  Jarrah McArthur (New Zealand School of Dance) creates a convincing puppet, her muscular discipline personifying the jerky windup movement of the human automaton of Coppelia.

Encore the joyous dancing from the villagers, with plenty of swirling petticoats and pumped biceps. The Mayor arrives and no sooner have Franz and Swanhilda promised themselves to each other through the power of fickle teenage love than we see Franz trying to secretly woo Coppelia, with Swanhilda becoming increasingly jealous.  I find Vedel’s fluffy characterisation and interpretation of a young, silly and jealous sixteen year old inappropriate.  Her ‘come here, go away’ attitudes seem petty and unnecessary.

Kohei Iwamoto inhabits a Franz who is quite clearly a ‘Jack the Lad’, a young testosterone filled chap who wants to have his cake and to eat it too. Iwamoto’s dancing is spectacular as he leaps into grand jetes and flies into pirouettes, landing with ease and agility – a true action hero.

Connor Ferguson and Tom Wilson, two local children cast as extras, are fabulously committed to their roles as village children genuinely enjoying the dances.  They both give their complete attention to the main choreographic focus the entire time on stage.

Lucy Green gives us such a convincing rendition of Swanhilda, that by the end of ACT III my opinion of the character has deteriorated into a state of disrepair.  It is testament to her ability as a performing artist that I am left with an impression of Swanhilda as a mean, selfish girl with few redeeming personal qualities. 

Katherine Grange as Ima and Joseph Skelton as Zoltan dance a graceful pas de deux together in ACT I, with Grange’s energy flowing out to us in the audience throughout her solos as well.  Joseph Skelton, although offering up perfect pirouettes and seemingly able to hover incredibly in mid-air every time he is up there, has consistently loud landings. I look forward to hearing nothing similar the next time I have the good fortune to see him dance.

The Gypsies are suitably sultry dressed in orange velvet and leather, their long thick black curls bouncy and inviting, grandly showing off their sensuality.  I am reminded somewhat of the 1970’s Wonder Woman, their headdresses reminiscent of the golden band she wore on her forehead.

As we head into ACT II, the gauze front of stage perfectly hides the amazing spectacle of Dr. Coppelius’s workshop.  Once lifted, this reveal gives us an even more intense 3D experience.  All seven automatons are fantastic, completely wondrous, a great adventure and a perfect exploration. My personal favourite is the delightful Limbless played by Paul Mathews in a costume that hints at Storm Trooper.  Beyond his ability to gorgeously pour his weight into, out of and across the floor, his sense of timing is immaculate.

It is delightful to see Franz begin to climb the ladder to Coppelia’s balcony at the end of ACT I, and appear at her window climbing off his ladder at the beginning of ACT II.  A well-received continuity.  As Coppelia coming to life via the trickiness of Swanhilda, Lucy Green manages to beautifully encompass these two characters.  Herein lies the rub: Swanhilda is a MEAN girl and this IS Dr. Coppelius’ nightmare.  She vulgarly smashes everything, including his heart.  She laughs as she runs away with Franz.

As ACT III opens, we see Franz and Swanhilda retelling the tale of their mis-adventure inside the workshop and laughing with their friends.  Reminiscent again of a 1970’s girl/boy scenario, they are like Sandy and Danny from Grease, telling their friends about each other on their summer holidays — not quite the truth, but a regaling tale anyway.

It feels wrong that Martin Vedel does not allow Swanhilda to redeem herself in ACT III by offering up the dowry of her own accord to Dr. Coppelius.  Instead, she only does it at the request of the suitably dignified Mayor, played by Jacob Chown.  This unfortunate flaw in Swanhilda’s character helps to amplify the issue of disrespect toward the Doctor.  There is a moment when Swanhilda could have at least acknowledged Dr. Coppelius as he stood in his doorway by way of apology, but Vedel’s choreography does not carry to this point, and the Doctor walks away unacknowledged.  I found this particular piece of the story unsettling as this important relationship is left unresolved.

To finish, Vedel gives us charming wedding dances and costumes. Beautiful footwork, complete solos and graceful manege, ending with a final symmetrical tableau. Although, this work is definitely entertaining, I am not convinced of its focus on the values of true love, and friendship.  It does however deliver a narrative couched in joyous folkoristic dances, stimulating automatons, some beautifully lit emotional content, a stunning set and delightful costumes.


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Beautiful, sumptuous, and fun to watch

Review by Hannah Molloy 09th May 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Coppelia is fun. It’s beautiful and sumptuous, but it’s mostly fun to watch.

The slightly mad story of a village in the throes of harvest and young love, combined with a wacky inventor of automatons (Sir Jon Trimmer his usual dapper and charming self is Dr Coppelius), can only lead to confusion and naughtiness. Lucy Green’s Swanhilda (and Coppelia) is fresh and naive, with just enough petulance to keep her interesting, and Kohei Iwamoto, as her fiance Franz, teases her disgracefully and finds himself distracted by the mysterious Coppelia.

The set and costumes are a beautiful colour palette, muted pinks and dusty greens, olives and browns, with heavy cream lace and the gleam of myriad but subtle crystals. The dancers almost seem dwarfed by the set’s magnificence – the women look tiny and dainty, doll-like I suppose – and it all adds to the feeling of watching something out of the ordinary.

The lighting, by Jason Morphett, is cleverly designed as well, with lovely cross-lighting at the beginning so discreet as to almost be not there, but with such effect.

The dancers’ timing is immaculate, they are light and springy on their feet and they look as though they are having as much fun dancing as the audience is watching. It is a performance of beautiful clean lines punctuated by lifts and leaps, some of the men’s leaps being spectacularly high.

The sultry Czardas are irresistible and it’s no wonder the men of the village find themselves spoiling for a fight when these saucy gypsies disappear  as quickly as they arrive. Abigail Boyle is compelling and looked in her element.

All the way through, Jacob Chown as Zoltan and Katherine Grange as Ima really light up the show. They are more of everything that is good about this performance of Coppelia – lighter, more delicate, more graceful, more expressive. They seem to feed the other dancers’ energy and the mood on the stage appears to lift when they are dancing, both together and separately, as the others bask in their grace.

The second act is delightful. The automaton Limbless, danced by Paul Matthews, looks truly boneless – it must surely be a little disorienting dancing in a morph suit with a full face cover. The other automatons don’t have a great deal of movement, and their stillness is as skilful as their robotic actions. Again, the costumes are superlative, luxe and decadence set into the sopmewhat Gothic surroundings of the inventor’s workroom.

The third act leaves me feeling a little bit sorry for Dr Coppelius – sure, the young couple give him their dowry in recompense for messing up his workroom and his life’s work (and possibly his head a little), but I feel he deserves more. Perhaps I just like everyone to have a happy ending, but I worried about him going back to that room full of demented automatons and a crumpled Coppelia.

The leaps and the lifts are my favourite part of Coppelia. Every dancer gives his or her all to them and they are beautiful and deft, powerful and graceful. There are quite a few oohs and aahs from the audience and several spontaneous outbursts of applause. These are well deserved.


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Warmly received in the deep south

Review by Kasey Dewar 05th May 2014

A cool, rainy Invercargill Sunday evening provided the perfect opportunity to head along to the cosy Civic Theatre and get lost in the Hungarian countryside for a few hours.

Coppelia was first staged in Paris in 1870. The Royal New Zealand Ballet has presented full or part versions of Coppélia eleven times since it first premiered in 1955. That first version was choreographed by Harald Lander and incorporated hints of the Danish homeland of the company’s founder Poul Gnatt in the design of the ballet. This latest version has been choreographed by Martin Vedel, another Dane who has created a ballet reasonably close to the original story with a few elements added in to bring it in to the present day.

The first act sets the scene for the ballet and introduces the main characters. We are allowed a brief glimpse of the recluse Dr Coppelius before the village scene is presented. There is a nice contrast between the playful and teasing Swanhilda and her beau Franz (danced by Bronte Kelly and Rory Fairweather-Neylan)and& their friends the loving and romantic Ima and Zoltan (danced by Katherine Grange and Joseph Skelton). Kelly and Fairweather-Neylan do a great job of conveying the fun-loving relationship between the two main characters, while Grange and Skelton almost steal the show showing us a convincing loving couple. We get a brief introduction to Coppelia as she sits on Dr Coppelius’ balcony appearing to read a book. The end of this village scene is great – the music and action builds & there are some pretty cool lifts and solos that cause a decent round of applause from the audience.

Paul Mathews as Dr Coppelius is wonderful – his frantic hand actions as he tries to explain to the villagers his automaton creations are perfect for the character. Unfortunately this explanation falls on deaf ears and he ends up getting beaten up by the men of the village. While all this is happening Swanhilda and her friends sneak into his house followed by Franz who has decided he likes the look of Coppelia.

The beginning of the second act is just as it should be – the lights brighten to show a large, ornate room inside Dr Coppelius’ house with beautifully costumed automatons scattered around. The set and costumes have been borrowed from the Australian Ballet where they were first used in 1979 and they provide a rich background for this scene. Swanhilda and her friends are nervous initially as they sneak around Dr Coppelius’ house, but their fears cease when they realise Coppelia is a doll. Dr Coppelius manages to shoo most of them away, except for Swanhilda who hides behind Coppelia and steals her costume. Suddenly the cheeky element is back again as Swanhilda pretends to be Coppelia & convinces Dr Coppelius he has brought her to life – beginning to dance jerkily as a doll would before becoming a “real girl” and elegantly dancing all of the styles Dr Coppelius requests of her. Kelly does this beautifully – shifting effortlessly between the sharp, jerky moves of doll-Coppelia to the gracefulness of real-Coppelia.

Eventually Swanhilda manages to shake Franz from his drunken stupor (after sneaking into the house he has a drinking session with Dr Coppelius and remains passed out for most of the scene) and they escape back to the village. This scene has a great impact – its effect is easily seen at the interval as a giggling group of young girls from the audience mimick Coppélia’s transformation from a doll to a real girl.

The third act brings a nice close to the ballet. After Swanilda and Franz apologise to Dr Coppelius, they are married and celebrate with their fellow villagers. There are some nice solos and duets here – especially from Tonia Looker (a friend of Swanhilda and Franz), and again from Grange and Skelton. Kelly and Fairweather-Neylan do a nice job of showing off, while Swanhilda and Franz are both rather mischievous; they are in love during their duet. There also has to be a mention for the townspeople who provide a great background for the main dancers and perform their pieces with great timing.

Coppelia is certainly a show worth seeing. There is touch of 2014 within a production that revitalises a well-worn ballet – it keeps enough of the history to make it familiar (the sets and the costumes) with some nice little touches that can only come from the present day (the addition of the limbless character in Dr Coppelius’ house) As always the applause from the audience is a good indicator of a great show, and judging from the large amount throughout the performance, it was well received in the deep south.



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Sumptuous sentimentalism

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 20th Apr 2014

Sumptuous costumes and staging borrowed from the Australian Ballet, beautiful lighting by Jason Morphett, and excellent playing of the well-known Delibes score by the Wellington Orchestra conducted by Nigel Gaynor, all join artistic forces to set the stage for this production.

A balletomane’s firm favourite, with a story that everyone knows, this is a light hearted and enjoyable evening at the ballet. The soft colour palette of long tutus and flowery headdresses work well, and it is a treat to revisit the designs of the late Kristian Fredrickson, a New Zealander who made such costume magic in his international career.

The company has many ensemble pieces and are in exuberant mood and strong. The opening act Czardas in particular fills the stage with Hungarian élan. The Townspeople and leads have some stunning  lifts in Act 1. The key roles are well cast to tell the story with Sir Jon Trimmer an entertaining and irrepressible Dr Coppelius.

Ballet Master and Choreographer Martin Vedel states in the programme that he wants to give the ballet a 2014 slant, however, the addition of an automaton/artist’s  model named ‘Limbless’ in the toy shop is the only significant change, and this role is interestingly played (improvised?) by Paul Mathews who has a wonderful time and a great sense of timing ! A rather more sinister element to the village boys as they attack Dr Coppelius is also part of this ‘modern-ising’ but on a stage of pastel coloured traditional Hungarian costumes there is little significant change overall to the sentimentalism and traditional expectations of this ballet. 

The variations and solos in Act 3 at the wedding do not really reference the traditional ballet vocabulary that is part of every dancer’s repertoire training, and this is a pity as I suspect the dancers would have relished the challenges. That said, and perhaps it is churlish not to be totally swept away by the dancing regardless of the steps, the classical choreography was danced with precision and authority.

Lucy Green in the lead role of Swanhilda is sweet, mischievous and very true to the traditional role. Her clarity and dynamic range need to mature to give that charismatic star quality but she is developing well and particularly shines both technically and dramatically in the opening act where her love for Franz is tested. Katherine Grange and Joseph Skelton stand out throughout and Kohei Iwamoto is a scintillating and convincing Franz, performing with  good contrasting qualities with technical bravadura in the virtuosity sections and boyish larrikinism when required to climb  through windows and wind up dolls!

The dolls are larger than life and have extremely limited mobility- a pity as dancing dolls would add a breadth of style and more intricate vocabulary to Act 2.

Coppelia is setting off on a national tour and is an evening of colour, fun and classical dancing. It tells a romantic story that resonates as well today as it has over this ballet’s long history since first being performed in 1870. Drawing on the traditional versions by Arthur St Leon and more famously Marius Petipa this version for our own Royal New Zealand Ballet by Martin Vedel in 2014 – almost 144 years later to the day – deserves great audiences. Find out when it is coming to you and go see it!


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