Saturday, 5 November 2016
A Coppelia Makeover
Standard YouTube Licence
Dutch National Ballet's Christmas show this year will be Ted Brandsen's Coppelia. It will run at the Stopera (or Music Theatre) from 10 Dec 2016 to 1 Jan 2017 with performances on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve,
This is nothing like any Coppelia that we have seen before. It is set not in a remote 19th-century village somewhere in Mitteleuropa but in a modern urban setting. Instead of being an eccentric recluse Dr Coppelius runs a beauty clinic to which celebrities flock including a beautiful young girl with a curious hairdo who turns Franz's head. In this video, the choreographer explains that the set was designed to resemble a child's picture book by the well-known illustrator, Sieb Posthuma. Because of the change of period and setting a delicious range of new costumes have been designed by François-Noël Cherpin.
I am very cautious about attempts to update well-known, well-loved ballets. I think David Dawson succeeded with Scottish Ballet's Swan Lake (see Empire Blanche: Dawson's Swan Lake 4 June 2016) but I am much less sure about David Nixon's version (see Up The Swannee 17 March 2016) and I have one or two issues with Akram Khan's Giselle. I have yet to see Brandsen's Coppelia on stage (though I have seen quite extensive bits of it on YouTube) and if the video is anything to go by it seems to work very well