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Review: The Russian State Ballet of Siberia – Coppelia

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Friday evening saw the Russian State Ballet’s magical performance of Coppelia; the first of three ballets they will be performing over the weekend, the others being The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Not having seen Coppelia performed before, although I have seen several other ballets, I did my homework on the plot beforehand so I could follow the performance with ease. For anyone who is new to ballet and curious about experiencing it, I would recommend Coppelia as a good starting point.

The plot is quit simple: Dr Coppelius is an eccentric, magic-dabbling toymaker who makes lifelike dolls that he dreams to one day bring to life. But things may not be what they seem. When quarreling lovebirds Swanilda and Franz break into his workshop, they encounter the clever creations of the mysterious Dr. Coppelius, whose greatest desire is to create a doll with a soul. With a wild mix of abracadabra and some mischievous maidens, comic chaos is riotously unleashed as humans and automatons collide.

Alexander Kuimov’s Dr Coppelius portrayed a dark and playful energy reminiscent of The Child Snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His sinister facial expressions and use of his shimmering purple cloak which billowed out behind him across the stage was a superb contrast to the playful and mischievous dancing of the village maidens.

During the pas de deux, principal ballerina Elena Pogorelaya’s Swanilda often outshone Kirill Bulychev’s Franz with her superb footwork, effortless grace and comic facial expressions. Her dance in Act II where she poses as Coppelia in Dr Coppelius’s workshop was faultless; Pogorelaya provided a masterclass of comedic timing and deceptively effortless technical ability.

Act III demonstrated much sharper footwork from the corps de ballet than that preceding the interval, where there were one or two minor timing issues. The vibrancy and technical accomplishment of the dancing in this final act was a pleasure to watch.

Conductor Alexander Yudasan led the Orchestra through Leo Delibes’s rich, expressive score which, in its time, was a bold move away from the sad, romantic ballets of the day. The quality of the music was reflected in the polish and exuberance of the dancers.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia are currently on a three month tour of the UK. For the Blackpool leg of their tour, they are are performing:

Nutcracker Saturday 12 January 2013 7:30pm.

Swan Lake Sunday 13 January 2013 at  7:30pm.

Tickets from £21.50. Concessions are available. Tickets available from The Grand website, in person from the Box Office or call 01253 74 33 39.

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