REVIEW: Russian State Ballet of Siberia @ Darlington Hippodrome

Posted on January 28th 2020 by Whats on Northeast

Review by Amanda Tutin

One of the great masterpieces of ballet storytelling was performed last night by the critically acclaimed Russian State Ballet of Siberia, at Darlington Hippodrome. Coppelia, a slightly comedic story of jealousy, mistaken identity and love was the perfect introduction to the magical world of ballet.

As a first time ballet goer, my daughter and I were absolutely in awe of the physical abilities, the ethereal artistry of the performers and the breath taking costumes last night. The story itself was a typical light and fluffy fairytale; set in the 19th century, a life-size dancing doll is created by haphazard inventor Dr Coppelius and when a young boy named Franz gazes upon her through a window in the village, he becomes infatuated with her, despite Swanhilda, his current love, already having captured his heart. Franz and Swanhilda get into a disagreement and part ways, however, Swanhilda has the last laugh when she and her friends break into the Dr’s toy workshop and she pretends to be the doll come to life and tricks Franz into loving her instead. There is a happily ever after when Franz and Swanhilda eventually do marry in Act 3 and everything is as it should be once again.

Accompanied by The Orchestra of the Russian State Ballet, and conducted by Anatoliy Cherpurnoy, as soon as the strings and flute started playing for Act 1, I had goosebumps as we watched the dancers frolicking in the village. With music by Leo Delibes, some of the melodic numbers were recognisable and complemented the choreography superbly. Alexander Gorsky and Gennady Malkhasiants are to thank for the intricate and showstopping routines, which managed to display the dancers technical abilities with awe-striking brilliance. The pointe work by Coppelia definitely needs a mention.

Yury Kudryavtsev (Franz) was outstanding; his precision and control made him just fascinating to watch. You could feel the connection between Yury and Anna Fedosova (Swanhilda), especially in the village dancing piece in Act 1. However, Fedosova really came into her own when dancing solo, both in Act 2 when she was mimicking the jaunty action of the doll and in the sharp turns in Act 3. Without having dialogue, I was nervous about misinterpreting the story, but I needn’t have worried. The frustration and jealousy with Franz from Swanhilda in the beginning was clear, as was the comedic arguing between the pair later on.

Currently on tour until mid-March, The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra are performing Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker at each venue visited. We found Coppelia to be pretty, magical and captivating, leaving you unable to look away. Although not starting until 7.30pm, I’d say this was suitable for older children as well as adults and is a perfect introductory story to ease you into the magnificent ballet scene.

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