Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Curtain Call: Federico Bonelli and Miyako Yoshida
Revisiting the classical ballet repertoire and music of the 19th Century, it reminded us how ballet used to be made. Geniuses of the different art forms collaborated to create a magic that lives on two centuries later, and possibly more to come.

This is a light-hearted, sunny ballet that warms the hearts of all ages. An innocent and fun-loving storyline, the joyous music, the glorious dancing, and a vibrant set. These seemed to be the ingredient to an enjoyable and heart-warming experience at the Opera House.

When the music started playing in the vast auditorium, one was taken into a joyous and lively mood. Benjamin Pope conducted his orchestra wonderfully; making Delibes’ music came alive. The music was colourful, matching the vivacious set. Surrounded by the vibrant and sparkling music and set, Yoshida, and Marriott gave their characters life.

The curtains rose and revealed a child’s storybook centrespread. The bright blue sky with puffy white clouds spread around the vast backdrop; in the foreground, the town square was designed with a bubbly personality. The female dancers were dressed in huge puffed up sleeves, bright coloured aprons on whites or coloured dresses, whilst the male dancers complemented with bright coloured vest, tights and boots. Francesca Filpi, Hikaru Kobayashi, Steven McRae and Bennet Gartside led the Mazurka with flair and charisma. Leading Peasant Girl, Gillian Revie, was stunning, captivating and stylistic in the Czardas.

The second act revealed a darker, sinister world of Dr Coppelius. His home, workshop was dark and had clockwork dolls hanging and sitting around. Yoshida added colour in his workshop, brightening the place with her dancing and her expressive face.

Curtain Call: Laura Morera as Aurora (left) and Francesca Filpi as Prayer (right)
The final act returns to the town square, with more dancing and merrymaking. The Dance of the Hours was well rehearsed and thought out and was beautifully performed by all the dancers, Laura Morera as Aurora in Act 3 was flawless. Her solo was crisp and sharp, bringing out the essence of the choreography. Francesca Filpi’s Prayer was tackled with too much care and apprehension, resulting to being off the music at times.

The grand pas de deux was flawlessly executed by two of the best technicians of the company. Both demonstrated good understanding of the clean 19th Century ballet style. Bonelli’s expansive and bravura jumps were wonderfully executed with ease. Yoshida, likewise, took on her solo with ease and excellence.

The ballet’s fun and laughter would not have been possible without Dr Coppelius. Marriott made this role special and different from his peers. He was agile and animated, making Dr Coppelius a much more welcoming and less grouchy character.
Curtain Call:Miyako Yoshida as Swanhilda
On the whole, Yoshida’s Swanhilda was charming, lovable and mischievous. Her expressive dancing scored tops. Demonstrating well-defined technique and colourful expression, she added magic to the role. For him, neat technique and expressive face made his Franz seemed to be more princely than peasantly. I thought he was Albrecht in the wrong costume with the same girl.

After the performance, I exited with mixed feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. After watching couple of different versions on different mediums, this production warms my heart and make me chuckle. However it also made one ponders; a pair of good and established leading dancers, a strong corps and supporting cast, does it make this performance perfect? Based on the libretto, they were meant to be a couplet, but there was no love and affection. They done the job of making their own character came to life, but where is the love? Everything was right, the dancing, the sets, and music, but the leading couple seemed to be dancing to each other, and not with each other.

Nevertheless, Coppelia is a timeless ballet, that works its magic at every production.


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