Friday, 7 June 2013


3rd March, 1995 - this production of Coppélia is first performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome. 6th June, 2013 - I see it for the very first time. Some 18 years on from it's premiere in the same venue there was barely a seat in the house left unoccupied. 

This is the story of Franz who falls for Coppélia, a doll left on a balcony by toymaker Dr Coppélius. Much to his fiancée Swanilda's anger, she and her friends enter the workshop and ultimately cause chaos in an attempt to distract Coppélius who is using Franz in an attempt to give life to his beloved doll. 

Previous Cast Photography - Birmingham Royal Ballet

Rory Mackay is delightful as Dr Coppélius, the bumbling character role that provides not only humour but plenty of charm as he works his magic upon the doll, or at least what he believes is the doll. Swanilda swaps positions with Coppélia's and is danced by Ambra Vallo gracefully throughout. All eyes are on her as not only does she execute the most remarkable footwork but her expression is incredibly transfixing and enough to tell a story alone. Tyrone Singleton is lover Franz and commands the stage  - a definite display of strength and control proving to be a technically assured principal.

Choreographed by Peter Wright, this 18-year-old production is in no way dated. The story is just as enchanting as it always was but there is a fresh and exciting vibe that turns the Birmingham Hippodrome into a land of magic and fantasy for it's duration.

What also goes a long way to help the production's breathtaking values is the incredible scenery and costumes by Peter Farmer. We have of course come to see the ballet, not particularly it's surroundings but the three lavish settings really are a spectacle. The Birmingham Royal Ballet orchestra is most impressive and fill the auditorium with a rich sound of Léo Delibes score.

Combine every element of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and it is clear just why they are considered among the best in the world. It is most heartening to know that such a wonderful company have their home here - one of Birmingham's many assets.

Coppélia is true joy. An dazzling and spectacular vision of love without a word uttered. Beautiful.

Watch Coppélia in rehearsals:

Book tickets for Coppélia which runs unil Saturday (8th June) here. You can also book for Birmingham Royal Ballet's future productions: Giselle (BOOK), 'Still Life' At The Penguin Café (BOOK), The Sleeping Beauty (BOOK), The Nutcracker (BOOK), Three Of A Kind (BOOK), The Prince Of The Pagodas (BOOK), Darkness And Light (BOOK) and La Fille Mal Gardee (BOOK).

For prioity booking and discounts, become a Friend of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Click here for more information.

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