Uploaded on Sep 24, 2011
Premiere of Sergei Vikharev's reconstruction of the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet's late 19th/early 20th century production of "Coppélia" for the Bolshoi Ballet. 12 March, 2009. This is easily the world's definitive production of "Coppélia".
** Cast -
--Swanilda - Maria Alexandrova
--Franz - Ruslan Skvortsov
--Dr. Coppelius - Gennadi Yanin
--Czardas - Maria Isplatovskaya & Vitaly Biktimirov
--For more cast details go here: http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances...
--For more plot details go here: http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances...
**Résumé of scenes & dances:
01 Prélude et Mazurka
02 Valse et jalousie
06 Ballade de l'Épi
07 Thème slave varié
09 Scène finale
"Coppélia, ou La fille aux yeux d'email" ("Coppelia, or The Girl With Eyes of Enamel") was first staged by the renowned Ballet Master Arthur Saint-Léon for the Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra in Paris, & first presented on 20 May, 1870. It was the last ballet that Saint-Léon created before his death.
It was the Ballet Master Joseph Hansen who first staged "Coppélia" in Russia, where many of the Parisian ballets found an extended life. Hansen's staging for Moscow's Imperial Bolshoi Theatre was the first Russian production, & was first presented on 5 February [O.S. 24 January], 1882.
It is from the late 19th century edition of "Coppélia" staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg that nearly all modern versions derive. The first production mounted by Petipa was staged for the benefit performance of the celebrated Russian ballerina Varvara Nikitina, which premiered at the St. Petersburg Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre on 7 December [O.S. 25 November] 1884. It will never be known if Petipa retained any of Saint-Léon's original choreography, or if he was even familiar with it to begin with, though it is far more likely that Petipa staged the entire ballet in his own design, though he certainly followed the original stage direction with regard to the action scenes & mime.
Due to Petipa's continuing infirmity circa 1892-1894 caused by his severe skin illness, Enrico Cecchetti was entrusted with assisting the second Ballet Master Lev Ivanov with rehearsing ballets & occasionally mounting productions. In 1894 Cecchetti was required to rehearse "Coppélia" when it was given a new production for the benefit performance of the great Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani, which was first performed on 8 February [O.S. January 26] 1894. It is unknown if Cecchetti made any significant alterations to the choreography for this production, though it's far more likely that he only took the dancers through rehearsals. The fact that Cecchetti's name was tied in with this 1894 production has lead many historians to credit him with the choreography for "Coppélia" ever since. He is even given dual credit with Lev Ivanov from time to time in various histories & in the theatre programs of companies around the world.
The choreography of the Imperial Ballet's production of "Coppélia" was documented in the Stepanov method of choreographic notation in 1904 from the rehearsals of a performance starring Vera Trefilova as Swanilda. The Imperial Ballet's régisseur Nicholas Sergeyev later brought these notations with him to the west after the 1917 revolution, & used them to mount such productions as "The Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake" & "Giselle" for various European companies, most notably for the original Ballet Russe &, most importantly, for the Vic-Wells Ballet in London (precursor of the Royal Ballet). Sergeyev mounted "Coppélia" for the company in 1933 from the Imperial-era notations, & it is from this production that nearly every version of "Coppélia" derives to one extent or another. These documents were used by Sergei Vikharev to stage the production seen here.
Although the Bolshoi Ballet credits the choreography to both Cecchetti & Petipa for this production, I have no doubt that Petipa is responsible for most, if not all, of the steps. Petipa had a habit of tinkering with the choreography of the ballets in the Mariinsky repertory as he took dancers through rehearsals. There is no reason to think that "Coppélia" was exempt from this between Cecchetti's revival of 1894 & the creation of the notation ten years later. Petipa was well known for making alterations, both big & small, to his ballets as he rehearsed them.
**Interview with Sergei Vikharev -
Here is a link to an incredible & provocative interview with Sergei Vikharev where he discusses the recent reconstructions & the Mariinsky's resistance to them -
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