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Review: Varna International Ballet perform Coppelia at Hull New Theatre

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The visitors to Hull New Theatre this week are Varna International Ballet who are in the midst of a UK tour with productions of Coppelia, Giselle, Nutcracker and Swan Lake. 

I was lucky enough to watch their production of Coppelia last night and was treated to a colourful and charming performance (I’ve outlined the story below for those who’d like to know more.)

With beautiful music by Leo Delibes and a live orchestra, the story of the doll Coppelia and the villagers came to life.

This has always been a delightful story to portray in ballet and young ballet fans will lap this up as it is a charming story to follow. 

Costumes were bright and most of the scenery was projected onto the back of the stage as is often used by travelling companies who don’t have large budgets for dragging scenery up and down the UK. It did set the scene though.

The Company are going to dance, Giselle, Nutcracker and Swan Lake for the remainder of the week and you should check which ballet is on that you wish to see. It is not a large company but they do manage to multi task well to put on their productions giving dancers a chance to learn multiple roles.

Do go and see their productions this week and enjoy some delightful ballet.

The story of Coppelia

The ballet opens in the village square where we meet the villagers and Swanilda (Anastasia Lebedyk) and her fiancé Franz (Marcello Pelizzoni) who dance around with their friends. They see a young woman in the upper window at the toy maker’s home of Dr Coppelius (Federico Farina). The couple tries to attract her attention but the girl seems aloof although she does throw out a rose which Franz picks up. He is smitten. Swanilda is curious.

Dr Coppelius leaves his home and goes for a drink but drops his key. Swanilda picks this up and hatches a plan with her friends to go into the workshop and see this girl who has intrigued her fiancé. They creep into the building followed a few moments later by Franz himself. In the workshop, they soon discover that there are many dolls inside all mechanically driven. It doesn’t take long to discover that the girl in the window is really a doll. Suddenly, Dr Coppelius arrives back and discovers Swanilda’s friends and throws them out. Swanilda dresses as the doll and plays a trick on Dr Coppelius by pretending to come to life. She also spots Franz who has snuck in and teases him also. There are many comic moments where Swanilda gets her revenge on Franz for ‘falling for’ a doll. Eventually, Swanilda has to rescue Franz and they escape. After the interval comes the wedding of Franz and Swanilda now reunited and forgiven and the village celebrates with them.

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