Coppélia

A new production planned for 2017/18

Richard Slaughter as the Burgomaster in Royal Ballet School performance 1974

Richard Slaughter as the Burgomaster in Royal Ballet School performance 1974

Coppélia is one of those rare artistic creations, a comic ballet masterpiece, Leo Delibes score so fine that Tchaikovsky based his own ballets upon it. First performed in 1870 before Napoleon 111 and the Empress Eugenie at the Paris Opera, it was an immediate success with the 15 year old ballerina Bozzacchi as Swanhilda.

Synopsis

That crazy old toy-maker, Dr. Coppelius has created a beautiful clockwork doll, which he names Coppélia and he displays her on his balcony. Swanhilda, a young village girl notices her and believes she is a real person, as does her fiancé Franz, who blows kisses to her. Swanhilda, jealous is determined to find out more about her.

Later, breaking into the toy makers’ workshop, she discovers that Coppelia is not real; then suddenly surpised by the toy-makers’ return, she disguises herself as the doll and tricks him into believing that his creation has come to life.

Richard Slaughter as Dr Coppelius, 2002 (Photo: Chris Zuidyk)

Richard Slaughter as Dr Coppelius, 2002 (Photo: Chris Zuidyk)

Coppélia is an ideal ballet for aspiring young dancers to perform, full of lots of dramatic cameo roles and a feast of dances to study including the famous Mazurka and Czardas; which give an opportunity to study character dancing.

Both Richard Slaughter and Ruth Egerton-Stein have a long association with the ballet. Richard first appearing as the Burgomaster at Covent Garden in Ninette de Valois’ production in 1974 which was staged for the Royal Ballet School annual performance. He has staged various acts for English Youth Ballet and his own production for Ballet Creations and has appeared as Dr. Coppelius in many different productions. Ruth was cast as Swanhilda in a project to introduce young students to ballet, in Stadt Theater Osnabrueck, and has staged excerpts for The Legat Summer performances.