Ballet's treasured comedy | October 21-23

Dr. Coppélius’s dream comes true when his latest creation, a doll he named Coppélia, comes to life – or so he thinks! Little does he know, the doll has caused quite a stir among villagers. The entire family will be captivated by the charming doll, the quirky toy maker and the hilarity that ensues over love, infatuation and mistaken identities! Ultimately, love conquers all in this treasured comedic ballet. The delightfully melodic music of Léo Delibes, played by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, pairs perfectly with Kirk Peterson’s physical, classical choreography that he punctuates with a lovely sense of humor and musicality. We invite you to take your seats and watch as this beloved comedy returns to Cincinnati Ballet for the first time since 2001!


  • Classical choreography
  • Humorous plot
  • Romance and true love

Léo Delibes

Act I

In a small town in Galacia in the mid-19th century, a young man, Franz, is soon to be married to his sweetheart, Swanilda. However, he is captivated by a mysterious girl whom he sees every day, as she reads a book on the balcony at the home of Dr. Coppélius, a local toy maker. Unbeknownst to Franz, this “girl” is actually a doll that Dr. Coppélius has created and is so lifelike that everyone in the town has imagined it to be his beautiful daughter. Franz’s fiancée Swanilda is very annoyed when she discovers that Franz has been flirting with this “other girl.” The villagers enter and dance a lively mazurka, after which the burgomeister (the master of the town) pays them a visit. He announces that there is to be a party the following day in celebration of the Duke’s gift of a new bell for the Town Hall, and anyone who is engaged on that day will receive a dowry from the Duke. The burgomeister then offers all the young girls of the town a shaft of wheat. According to local custom, if one hears anything upon shaking the wheat, their beloved “loves them true,” but if it is silent, their beloved “loves them not.” Swanilda hears nothing and suspects the worst. Franz thinks the custom is silly. After everyone dances a czardas (a traditional Hungarian folk dance), the village festivities begin to calm down. Dr. Coppélius then ventures out of his workshop. He is teased by rambunctious youths and then drops the key to his front door. Swanilda and her friends find they keys and decide to explore Coppélius’ workshop to investigate. Franz returns and he, too, decides to sneak into the workshop through the balcony window and finally meet the mysterious Coppélia.

Act II

Inside the workshop, Swanilda and friend approach the room that hides Coppélia. They are astonished and amused to find that she is a doll. The girls mischievously set other dolls in motion and playfully dance around them. Dr. Coppélius finally returns and drives all of them out except Swanilda, who hides in Coppélia’s room and takes the doll’s place to avoid being seen. Franz then appears and Dr. Coppélius, pretending to be one of his own dolls, captures Franz and threatens to punish him. On second thought, however, he adopts another plan: he offers Franz a sleeping potion and Franz soon falls asleep. Using a book of spells and magic, Dr. Coppélius tries to bring Coppélia to life by taking Franz’s spirit. Swanilda, acting as the doll, pretends to come to life. Dr. Coppélius is amazed and overjoyed when he thinks that his spells have worked. Swanilda plays along, dancing and winding up all the dolls in the workshop. Finally, she wakes up Franz and they escape the workshop together. Dr. Coppélius realizes he has been tricked!


The next day the festivities are in full swing and everyone is celebrating the dawn of a new day. The burgomeister bestows a purse of gold to Swanilda and Franz on their wedding day. Dr. Coppélius angrily arrives on the scene to complain of the previous night’s mischievous adventures, but the burgomeister gives him a purse of gold as well. The village dances ensue and all the townspeople join in the wedding festivities.

Coppelia Performance Schedule

Friday, October 21, 2016

8:00 pm

  • Aronoff Center for the Arts
Audio Described

2:00 pm

  • Aronoff Center for the Arts

Saturday, October 22, 2016

8:00 pm

  • Aronoff Center for the Arts

Sunday, October 23, 2016

1:00 pm

  • Aronoff Center for the Arts

Coppélia Sponsors

Franz and Swanilda Sponsor

David and Loretta Motz Cook

Performance Sponsors

Michael & Carole Giuliani
The William S. Rowe Foundation
Frost Brown Todd

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