Balanchine’s famous quote sums it up:
Coppélia is the ballet world’s beloved romantic comedy.
This masterwork was originally choreographed by Arthur St. Léon in Paris in 1870. It was restaged by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg in 1884 and has since experienced countless interpretations. October 21-23, Cincinnati Ballet presents choreographer Kirk Peterson’s humorous, athletic and virtuosic Coppélia.
“This ballet really has it all. Humor, a love triangle, a bit of magic and tons of really impressive dancing. It has been performed all over the world by every top ballet company,” says Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan. “Kirk Peterson is the definition of a ballet master. It is such a delight to welcome him back to Cincinnati and to present his engaging, fun, technically stunning Coppélia. It’s an excellent ballet for aficionados and newcomers alike, and I know our brilliant dancers will perform this production beautifully.”
Choreographer Kirk Peterson was a resident choreographer for Cincinnati Ballet from 2001 to 2009. Audiences may remember his productions of Carmen, The Sleeping Beauty, Javelin, and Leda and Zeus (The Swan). He has had a distinguished career, spending 15 years with American Ballet Theatre as principal dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of ABTII, among other roles, in addition to dancing with San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Washington and London Festival Ballet. He has also served Artistic Director of the Hartford Ballet and Associate Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, and has created more than 50 ballets, performed by San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The National Ballet of Cuba, Washington Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, BalletMet and The Royal Ballet School. He is a specialist in re-staging the full-length classical repertoire such as Giselle, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty and most recently Swan Lake for Alberta Ballet and Washington Ballet. He is also known for his original versions of The Nutcracker and, of course, Coppélia!
Another favorite aspect of this ballet is the music. Composer Léo Delibes (1836-1891) was renowned as a composer for ballet; he had a gift for illustrating action, creating mood, introducing characters and inspiring movement. The score for Coppélia has captivated audiences for more than 100 years. In fact, it’s a favorite of Maestro Carmon DeLeone, Cincinnati Ballet Music Director. He comments: “I do love the music of Coppélia, and the story is even more satisfying than The Nutcracker. But don’t just take my word for it — the famous composer Tchaikovsky said that his own music for Swan Lake was “not fit to hold a candle to Sylvia” (another ballet by Delibes). Then, after discovering Coppélia, Tchaikovsky praised it even more than Sylvia, and used it as a model for The Nutcracker.”