This season marked a return to the classical repertoire. In May 1870 at the magnificent new Opera House in Paris the sparkling new Ballet 'Coppelia' was born. The Imperial box was graced by the presence of Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie.
Coppelias early history was marred by tragedy; the first dancer chosen to play Swanilda fell seriously ill, she was replaced by a young dancer of exceptional ability, fifteen year old Guiseppina Bozzacchi, whose rapid and accurate footwork and sparkling lightness captivated audiences. However, almost as soon as it had opened monumental events culminated in Paris coming under seige! As a consequence, after only eighteen performances, both the production and the Opera House were forced to close.In September the choreographer Arthur Saint-Leon suffered a heart attack and died, the first Dr Copellius, Edouard Dauty, died as a result of the privations of the seige and poor little Guiseppina Bozzacchi contracted smallpox and died on her seventeenth birthday. Despite all these setbacks, some seventeen months after it had first opened it was revived with a new cast.'Coppelia' has since been performed at the Paris Opera more frequently than any other ballet in its history.
'Coppelia' is a great narrative ballet. The eccentric Dr Coppelius lives in a house on one side of the square above the workshop where he makes intricate mechanical dolls. His latest creation is a beautiful, life sized doll called Coppelia, whom he longs to bring to life through the use of magic powers. Swanilda lives on the other side of the square and is engaged to another villager - Franz. Unfortunately Swanilda becomes jealous when Franz appears to be captivated by Coppelia's beauty.
The musical score by Delibes is full of fantastic tunes and there are excellent opportunities to display the talents of all age groups. The rehearsal period was joyous and we enjoyed the participation of adults in the production as well as memorable performances by Terence Etheridge as the doll-maker, Dr. Coppelius.
From Tokyo - Japan. Now with the Welsh Ballet. After graduating in 2006, Daisuke worked for the Serbian National Ballet before joining Ballet Cymru in September 2008. He has danced a variety of roles including Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and Owain in ‘Lady of the Lake’.
Swanilda - Robyn began her dance training at the age of three with Irene Luke and Mary Drake, she continued her studies with Maureen Pascoe, Kay Jones and Sianne Strasberg. She followed training at the Dance College of Cornwall with a period of professional dancing before returning to Cornwall to continue her studies gaining her Musical Theatre Diploma in 2008 along with studying for a Degree in Law.
Robyn has performed in many Duchy Ballet productions including the role of Swanilda in the company's production of 'Coppelia' in 2001, the principal role of Gerda in the 'Snow Queen' as well as singing a spell-binding rendition of 'Summertime' and dancing the solo to 'Embraceable You' in 'Stepping out to Gershwin'.
Swanilda - Bryony took her first dance steps with her sister at the Weston School of Dance in Essex at the age of three. She later joined the Capitol School of Dance in St Austell in 1998.
She debuted as a little Black Cygnet in 'Swan Lake' in (1999). Bryony has graduated through many corps de ballet roles, including the Autumn Fairy in 'Cinderella', the Lead Gypsy Girl in 'The Snow Queen'and a solo to 'Embraceable You' in 'Stepping Out to Gershwin'.
Swanilds - Naomi began dancing with Kay Jones at the age of three. She has danced with Duchy Ballet since 2000 when she made her debut as a Liquorice Allsort in the 'Kingdom of Sweets'.
She won the senior section of the South West Awards at the age of eleven and her first solo role with Duchy Ballet was in 2006 when she played Clara in 'The Nutcracker'. In 2008 she danced the Bluebird in 'The Snow Queen'.