Coppelia is a charming, funny ballet full of humor and ballet mime. It is often performed by small ballet companies because it doesn't require a large cast of world-class dancers. The ballet is based upon a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann entitled "Der Sandmann" ("The Sandman"), which was published in 1815. The ballet premiered in 1870.
Plot Summary of Coppelia:
The ballet is about a girl named Coppelia who sits on her balcony all day reading, speaking to no one. A boy named Franz falls deeply in love with her and wants to marry her, even though he is already engaged. His fiance, Swanhilda, sees Franz throwing kisses at Coppelia. Swanhilda soon learns that Coppelia is actually a doll that belongs to Doctor Coppelius, the mad scientist. She decides to impersonate the doll, in order to win the love of Franz. Chaos ensues, but all is soon forgiven. Swanhilda and Franz make up and get married. The marriage is celebrated with several festive dances.
Interesting Facts About Coppelia:
Coppelia introduced automatons, dolls, and marionettes to ballet. The ballet consists of two acts and three scenes. The original choreographer was by Arthur Saint-Leon, who died three months after the first performance. The ballet was choreographed again by George Balanchine for his first wife, Alexandra Danilova, with much success.