Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Delibes - Coppelia / Kirov Vinogradov Tarasova|
Actor: Kirov Ballet
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Coppélia is a classical ballet in the true sense, and with its touch of East European folklore, continues to enjoy worldwide popularity. It combines the romance between Swanilda and Franz with the story of the doll-maker C... more »
Not A Traditional Coppelia!
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 07/20/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a classical ballet version of Coppelia by any stretch of the imagination. There are no bravura variations at all! There are none of the traditional solo variations in act one, such as the great solo waltz variation of Swanilda, in fact, during the music where this variation is normally danced, she is just climbing up a ladder!. There is no opening mazurka that usually occurs at the beginning of act one. The very important and beautiful shaking of the wheat variation is done away with here. Most of the dancing sequences are merely pantomime routines(dancing in which all the body movements have a meaning, such as kicking Franz in the head!). Perhaps this type of Coppelia has a place somewhere in the theater, but it is not what we normally think of as ballet, especially classical ballet. It resembles a ballet, since the costumes and sets are magnificent, but Vinogradov forgot to include any kind of dazzling choreography, the kind that this classical ballet is noted for. If you read my other reviews, you can see that I have great respect for artistic freedom and leeway, but it misses the mark here completely. The dancers themselves are excellent, the fault lies with the choreographer, Vinogradov. He has a totally different conception here. At first, there is the promise of something that might be new and fresh. The opening sequences include the Coppelia doll herself dancing at the start of act one, and we see that Dr. Coppelius has been given some dance steps, but the innovation ends there! In act two, much of the choreography is quite grotesque, as if the dancers were drunk, or instructed by the village idiot.
Do not think that anything from the Kirov must be fantastic. Buy this version if you hate ballet, but it kind of looks like ballet, so why bother? If you want a fine, classical version of Coppelia, try the Australian Ballet version--you won't be disappointed."
The Kirov Ballet in your home.
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky is said to have much admired the ballet scores of Delibes. Of the ballet scores composed by the latter it is his "Coppelia" that ranks in excellence with those of Tchaikovsky. It is still staged everywhere and DVD productions of it appear every few years.
This one derives from the Marinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, 1993 and features the Kirov Ballet. You'll see the exterior and the interior of the theatre but never the orchestra nor the conductor. The dancing on stage is filmed in close up and from all angles (including from above in one memorable sequence). An audience is not present.
Exuberance typifies the dancing. The dancers are uniformly lithe and lean, athletic and agile. He who dances the Nutcracker in the third scene is capable of amazing contortions. The costumes and their color contrasts are especially gorgeous. As for the music, it is perhaps the Theme slave varie in the first scene that is the highlight.
I am beginning to think that in this medium (DVD), ballet recreates better than opera in the home. Does anyone agree?
Innovative and Exceptional Production
Charles Beck | Framingham State College, MA | 07/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an outstanding production of one of the most beloved ballets in the classic repertory. Fortunately, there are several very rewarding DVDs of Coppelia, including the 1993 version by the Australian Ballet, but the 1993 Kirov rendition does an exceptional job of capturing the spirit of the story and portraying the characters. It is beautifully choreographed, staged, and photographed, including some charming close-ups and overhead views from the vantage point of the mechanical doll, Coppelia. The famous Russian choreographer and set designer, Oleg Vinogradov, never wanders far from the story and charms the viewer with some clever surprises. He carefully integrates the corps de ballet by having it reflect, at times, the movements of the principal dancers.
Unlike other versions of this ballet, the Kirov production includes an extensive and humorous dance scene, in Act I, with the mechanical doll in the town square. Franz and his friends are attracted but bewildered by its mechanical responses as they try to help it unwind. The character of Swanilda is charmingly portrayed by Irina Shapchits in both her expressive dancing and facial expressions. She shows remarkable balance and flexibility in her solo routines and duets with Franz. Act II provides a lively and inventive display of Dr. Coppelius' mechanical toys, including the amazing gymnastics of the Nutcracker. On a humorous note, Swanilda, posing as the doll, kicks and slaps Franz for being unfaithful to her. The town square scene demonstrates why the Kirov is probably the world's premiere corps de ballet. Its stunning and versatile performance reminds one of a corps of gold medalists. While Vinogradov has choreographed many of its movements to support the lead dancers, he also allows it to be inventive with a lively Mazurka, and a wooden hammer and legwork routine that would impress any gymnast. This is followed by golden spinning wheels accompanied by expressive armwork. This provides a lovely transition for the principal dancers as they try to reconcile their differences with the active engagement of the entire ensemble. Yes, Vindogradov introduces some innovative and new choreography to a classic ballet, but so did George Balanchine.
Ballet lovers should probably purchase copies of both the Australian and Kirov versions. Each one takes great liberties, as does Offenbach's popular opera, with E.T.A. Hoffmann's Medieval tale of an eccentric inventor. Hoffmann would have been pleased with Coppelius' Gothic workshop in the Australian version. I suspect that he would have been charmed by each of these interpretations. The Australian production provides some outstanding dancing, especially by Lisa Pavane, as Swanilda. She displays a remarkable range of technical skills and talent for mimicing several mechanical toys. The Australian version is performed before a live audience. While we never see the audience, it makes itself known by frequent outbursts of applause that, at times, tends to distract from the flow of the story and dancing. (Now I can understand why Russian audiences tend to be rather reserved until the curtain calls.) The final scene tends to become a showcase for displaying the formidable skills of the lead dancers, including a series of spins, turns, leaps, and lifts. They are rewarded with generous applause. In direct contrast, the Kirov version is performed without an audience, and this provides a continual flow of action and a character intimacy that is very satisfying. However, you may be disappointed if you consider the audience's reaction to be a necessary part of the experience. Watch for the clever method that Vinogradov employs to allow the corps and lead dancers to take their bows before an empty house. He makes certain that Coppelia is not forgotten. What a treasure!
(For the purpose of comparison, please see my review of the Australian version. )
Don't waste your roubles
French Critic | France | 06/28/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I share the views of my fellow balletomane and reviewer, Jack Wilensky, but will be less generous than he in my rating (1 vs 2 stars). There is absolutely nothing in this production of merit. I can only hope that Patrice Bart's equally deplorable re-staging of Coppelia (for the POB) never makes it to DVD, as it was torture to sit through it (at 80 Euros per ticket, no less). Although I would never say "no to innovation," there are some ballets where too radical a departure from the original choreography / libretto (Bejart's Nutcracker and Bourne's Swan Lake come to mind) simply destroys the beauty of the work. And I regret that's just what the Mariinsky succeeded in doing here. Stick to the definitive (though hardly flawless) Australian Ballet version."