Coppélia

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Approximate running time: 2 hours 20 minutes, 2 intermission (20 minutes)

A ballet in three acts

 

During the 154 years since its world premiere, Coppélia has been performed all over the world. The current Czech National Ballet production, first presented on 16 May 2024 at the  State Opera in Prague, is a revival of Ronald Hynd’s version, premiered 1985 in London by English National Ballet.

 

Coppélia tells a story of love, yet, unlike other Romantic ballets, in which unrequited passion leads to death, it ends happily (with marriage, thus complying with the 19th-century conventions). 

 

An extraordinary character is Coppélia, a life-size doll created by Doctor Coppélius, an inventor of mechanical toys and other machines. Sitting motionlessly on a balcony of his house, the beautiful “girl” attracts the attention of the village youths. One of them, Franz, is so infatuated with her that he neglects his fiancée Swanilda, who becomes upset and jealous. No one has the slightest inkling that Coppélia is actually a doll whose inventor can only bring to life by having a human spirit breathe into her. Fortunately, Doctor Coppélius’s plan to steal Franz’s soul for this purpose is thwarted by Swanilda. Franz realises his folly and returns to his fiancée. The ballet culminates with Swanilda and Franz’s wedding within a harvest festival in the fashion of Galician traditions. 

 

For the time, the original Coppélia, choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to Léo Delibes’s music, was a trailblazing work, incorporating as it did a number of novel aspects. Unlike other ballets dating from the period, it was set in a real milieu (Galicia, a crown land of the Austrian Empire), responded to scientific progress and did not depict supernatural beings. What is more, it embraced the national artistic tradition and the ground-breaking ideas of the Revolution of 1848. Drawing inspiration from the exploratory trip he and his friend Jules Massenet made to Austria-Hungary, Léo Delibes included in the score the Polish Mazurka and the Hungarian Czardas, as well as the Czech Polka. All of this is brought to bear in Ronald Hynd’s adaptation. His Coppélia respects tradition, movement content and the creators who have left their respective hallmarks: Arthur Saint-Léon, Marius Petipa and Enrico Cecchetti.

 

“There is no prince or princess, there are no swans or sleeping beauties. Only two villagers, a boy and a girl falling in love with each other. It’s about life … I think that is precisely why the ballet is so popular. Audiences can identify with the simple fetching story.”

Ronald Hynd

 

Czech National Ballet
Pupils of Ballet Preparatory School
State Opera Orchestra

Program and cast

Swanilda: Aya Okumura, Alina Nanu, Ayaka Fujii

Franz: Federico Ievoli, Patrik Holeček, Paul Irmatov

Dr. Coppélius: Giovanni Rotolo, Marek Svobodník, Marek Kašparovský

Dawn: Olga Bogoliubskaia, Romina Contreras, Nina Fernandés, Haruka Iguchi

Prayer: Irina Burduja, Evgeniya Victory Gonzalez, Romina Contreras

Burgomaster: Radek Vrátil, John Powers, Mathias Deneux

Inkeeper: Marek Svobodník, Fraser Roach, Marek Kašparovský

Inkeeperʹs Wife: Monika Hejduková, Miho Ogimoto, Kristýna Němečková

Girlfriends: Elena Dombrowski, Natsuki Nishiyama, Misato Isogami, Nina Fernandés, Nana Nakagawa, Federica Bona, Chihiro Sudo, Alexandra Pera, Giusi D´Angelo, Diana Alonso, Kristýna Němečková, Anna Dal Castello

Coppelia Doll: Chihiro Sudo, Daria Lazucová

 

Choreography - Ronald Hynd after Marius Petipa

Music - Léo Delibes

Sets and costumes - Roberta Guidi di Bagno

Orchestra - State Opera Orchestra

Photo gallery
Serghei Gherciu
© Serghei Gherciu
Serghei Gherciu
© Serghei Gherciu
Serghei Gherciu
© Serghei Gherciu

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today

 

The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.

 

History

 

The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.

 

Access:

 

By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.

 

By tram

 

By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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