Coppélia Review

Darlington Hippodrome – until Sunday 26 January 2020


I’ve never seen a ballet before, so I was excited to see The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s production of Coppélia.  Whilst in Darlington they are also performing Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

Set in the 19th century village of Galicia, Franz (Marcello Pelizzoni) is to marry Swanilda (Elena Svinko). Franz spots a beautiful girl sitting on a balcony and cannot take his eyes off her, Swanilda is very unhappy with Franz and the pair argue. The beautiful girl is in fact a life-like mechanical doll, Coppélia (Mariami Kuloshvili) created by Dr Coppélius the toymaker (Alexander Kuimov). Later Swanilda and her friends sneak into the workshop of Dr Coppélius, where they find the mechanical dolls and discover that Coppélia is also a doll. Franz also enters the workshop and Dr Coppélius returns, chasing the girls out and seeing his chance to use Franz’s life-force to bring Coppélia to life. However Swanilda has changed into Coppélia’s clothes and the lovers escape. Of course all ends happily with the village celebrating the marriage of Franz and Swanilda.

Elena Svinko shines as Swanilda, the beauty and elegance of her movement as Swanilda grab your focus. Her exceptional expression creates a character full of depth and personality, which is portrayed throughout her whole body with every move. She is sweet and flirtatious yet cheeky and playful, and her movement reflects all elements of her character.

The final pas de deux between Svinko and Marcello Pelizzoni’s Franz is ravishing and bursting with passion – it’s a real beauty to watch. They make a sensational pair and the delicacy of their movement is breathtaking. Pelizzoni exudes the charming nature of Franz and his movement is impressive as every leap and pirouette appear effortless. Although not a huge dancing role, Alexander Kuimov’s role of Dr Coppélius uses exaggerated movement to create phenomenal humour.

Coppélia is really elevated by the company that create all the joyous dance around the action happening between Franz and Swanilda. As the dancers fill the village square with colour, the character style of dance brings vibrancy to the piece.

This beautiful ballet has been in the company repertoire for many years and it is easy to see why it is such a firm favourite. It has a ravishing score by Delibes, played beautifully by the Russian State Ballet Orchestra. This is an enchanting family-friendly ballet that is easy to understand, joyous and witty from start to end.