As only the third company in the world to perform George Balanchine’s version of “Coppelia,” it’s a risk. But it’s a risk that that Boston Ballet nails with great success.
In the comedic full-length ballet, two men fall in love with the title character, who is a doll, literally. Boyko Dossev plays toy maker Dr. Coppelius and Nelson Madrigal plays Franz, a peasant boy who doesn’t know that the life-size creature is not real. Although Franz is truly in love with Swanilda (Misa Kuranaga), he can’t help but sneak inside to find out more about Coppelius’ “daughter.” Swanilda, also intrigued with Coppelia, gets there first, and changes into the doll’s clothes to trick both the doctor and Franz. Not exactly the sort of thing that happens every day.
Kuranaga is the perfect Swanilda/Coppelia. She’s a real doll — petite, flirty and fully committed to her character. Her technique is precise and playfully spectacular. Kuranga is an instant star and will be one to watch in upcoming story ballet productions. Madrigal masters the comic challenges, making his pantomime look natural and spontaneous. The two together are beautiful to watch.
For all intents and purposes the story wraps up in second act, leaving the Act III for a wedding celebration that is dependent on divertissements to carry it through. While entertaining, the Discord and War section seems an unlikely match with the light and airy set design and pas de deux.
The Opera House
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