The Russian State Ballet of Siberia are currently touring the UK with four classic ballets. They present at least two different ballets at each venue across an extensive tour of the UK. Wolverhampton audiences are treated to The Nutcracker, Coppélia and Swan Lake.
Coppélia is a comic ballet and tells the story of Franz, a village swain who becomes infatuated by a life-like doll, made by the toymaker Dr Coppélius. Franz casts aside Swanhilde, his true hearts desire until she disguises herself as the doll and saves Franz from the hands of the toymaker.
This is a ballet in two acts, but like a lot of ballets, the story is more or less finished at the close of Act I.
What was most welcoming and heartwarming upon entering the auditorium was the sound of a live orchestra tuning up. In an age where pre-recorded music is all too easy and saves a lot of money it is clear that this company embrace tradition. The curtain rose on a quaint village, full of villagers going about their day - it reminds you of the scene inside those large village clocks with the little clockwork people inside, spinning around.
We are soon introduced to Franz (19 year old Kirill Bulychev) and his lover Swanilda (Elena Pogorelaya) who both impress throughout with the finest of technique. Soon after their initial playful dance, Coppélia the doll is revealed in the window, at least for half of the audience. The window was on such an angle that anyone in the centre of the auditorium and further right could not see her. She soon became the focus of everyone's attention as we moved into the toymaker Coppélius' house.
Dr Coppélius (Alexander Kuimov) appears in the doorway and at first perhaps unrecognisable could well have been mistaken for the Child-catcher who later resembled Professor Snape with the hairdo of Tracy Turnblad. However odd the appearance, he did make up in movement and was commanding of the stage.
The Corps De Ballet are a very young group, no less disciplined and very enjoyable to watch. Their presentation of Alexander Gorsky and Gennady Malkhasiants choreography was most endearing.
The UK Tour of the Russian State Ballet Company continues until 23rd March, more details here.