Art Alert: Ballet Coppélia brings magic to Cairo and Alexandria

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 Jan 2017

Performed by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, Coppélia premiered in Egypt in October 2015

Coppélia ballet performed at the Cairo Opera House in October 2015 (Photo: Bassam Al Zoghby)

The Coppélia ballet, which is based on a fairytale by E.T.A Hoffman, will be staged in Cairo by the Cairo Opera Ballet Company's between 30 January and 3 February, followed by performances in Alexandria on 9 and 10 February.

Following its world premiere in 1870 at the Paris national opera, Coppélia has become one of the most captivating works in ballet companies’ repertoires. It entered the Cairo Opera Ballet Company's repertoire in October 2015, and was one of the troupe's biggest successes.

The basic plot of Coppélia is enclosed in the ballet’s first two acts and tells a story of a human-sized doll that catches the eye of Franz, inciting the jealousy of his fiancée Swanhilda and leading to confrontations with the dolls’ eccentric inventor, Dr Coppelius. Though the third act is linked to the main plot, it is more of a divertissement that gives room for the virtuosity of the dancers. 

The Egyptian performance was choreographed by Romanian choreographer Valentin Bartes, who based the timelessness of Coppélia on the original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, adapting it to the Egyptian troupe, while Italian designer Gianluca Saitto created the costumes. 

Following the classical first act, Saitto's imagination allowed him to capitalise on the fairytale elements and give the sense of a dream. Saitto used this as an opportunity to insert elements from a variety of styles, including those characteristic of Egypt. 

Coppélia’s beauty also comes from Leo Délibes’ captivating and evocative music, which is well adapted for dancing, where folkloric accents, spirited mazurkas, energetic czardas and melodious waltzes meet classical ballet and music.

The work is filled with humour, lovely thrills and intriguing mysteries, giving it a lively, burlesque touch in the second act. Moreover, the ballet parallels dance numbers, solos, duets and group scenes with a lot of room for acting and pantomime.

The Cairo Opera Orchestra will be conducted by Sherif Mohie El-Din.  

The set design is by Mohamed El-Gharabawy and the lighting is by Yasser Shaalan. The Cairo Opera Ballet Company's artistic director is Erminia Kamel.

Daily: 30 January -- 3 February, 8pm
Cairo Opera House, main hall, Zamalek, Cairo

9, 10 February, 8pm
Alexandria Opera House (Sayed Darwish Theatre), Alexandria

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