Family Outing at Coppelia (by Boston Ballet). There is spring somewhere!

I could not believe my eyes when I opened the curtains on a Saturday morning this weekend (at the end of March!) and saw the new snow on the ground! But any flurries in the forecast have settled down in time for our mom-daughter outing to the Boston Ballet’s Coppelia.  Even if the weather is a little behind this year, I can guarantee you the spring on stage as Boston Ballet presents George Balanchine’s Coppélia, a full-length comedic story ballet, set to music by Léo Delibes, at the Boston Opera House March 21–31.

M. Kuranaga and B. Dosev in George Balanchine Coppelia; credits @George Balanchine Trust and Boston Ballet. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Official press-release notes that “the story, based upon the book by Charles Nuitter, after “Der Sandmann” by E.T.A. Hoffman, is a lighthearted comedy set in a country village about a life-size dancing doll created by Doctor Coppélius. The life-like doll becomes the source of love troubles for a village couple, Swanilda and Frantz, when Frantz mistakes the doll for a real girl and becomes infatuated with it. Mayhem and hilarity ensue.”

My 9-year old daughter thought that it was “about a doll who wanted to see the real world”.   Whatever your interpretation, the 3-act ballet is full of color – the characters, the set, the dancing, the costumes- all come alive and make for “delightful ballet” (according to Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen).

FUN FACTS: The story is set in a village in Carpathian Galicia (present-day Poland and Ukraine), and the villagers dance both the mazurka and the csárdás. The mayor wears a Napoleonic hat, and the sign announcing the third act’s Festival of Bells is in French.

Boston Ballet’s principal dancers trained in the ballet traditions from around the world are truly brought together by Balanchine’s classic choreography.  Both principals that were on stage for the Saturday matinee performance we attended on March 23 Ji Young Chae, as Swanilda and Junxiong Zhao, as Fantz -were precise and playful. Newest Boston Ballet principal dancer Viktoria Kapitonova from Russia was dazzling in War and Discord (part of third act divertissements; (you can see her dance Swanilda on March 30 at 1:30).  (See Full casting details here).

Boston Ballet’s Coppelia. credits @George Balanchine Trust and Boston Ballet. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Boston Ballet premiered Coppélia in 2010 and last performed it in 2013. My daughter (who was then three years old) attended the 2013 production.  She may not remember all the details now (or any details, to be honest), but family outings at the ballet have been an important part of her upbringing.  Not every ballet is of course suitable for a three-year old (and you know your child better) but Coppelia with its life-sized ballet dancer-dolls could potential keep the attention of the very young viewers.  There are two dozen Boston Ballet School students dancing the Waltz of the Golden Hours in Act 3.   Similarly to the Nutcracker, the third act is a set of divertissements (and a pas de deux for newly reunited Frantz and Swanilda).  But “…the Nutcracker is a lot more predictable,”- summarized my date.

Approx. running time is is 2hrs 20 minutes including 2 intermissions.

For a special (get one- get one free) ticketing offer to my readers follow this link to Boston Ballet’s ticket site – the offer “CELEBRATE” should be factored into the price

All performances of Coppélia  will take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111).

Remaining Performances

Thursday, Mar 28 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Mar 29 at 7:30 pm*
Saturday, Mar 30 at 1:30 pm
Saturday, Mar 30 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, Mar 31 at 1:30 pm


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