Not Dollish Love
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM The premiere of comic ballet Coppélia was a huge success at the Astana Opera. On November 22 and 23, the French version of the ballet, staged by Roland Petit, was presented in the capital to a full house, incessant applause and a sea of flowers.
Two and a half hours of watching the performance flew by in one breath. The plot of Coppélia is based on Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann’s novel Der Sandmann (The Sandman). However, the creators of the production turned the German writer’s gloomy mysticism into a comedy, telling the story of a young man who fell in love with a mechanical doll made by Dr. Coppélius. Thus, all the romantic feelings in this ballet are ridiculed, nevertheless, the audience still has something to reflect on – the story of Dr. Coppélius’ unrequited love for a mechanical doll modeled after Swanilda.
At the beginning of the performance, the heroes were presented in a military garrison, with the set corresponding with the ascetic life of soldiers. Young residents of the town flirted with the brave military men, circling in a massive light and easy dance. Elegant costumes in pink and blue colours, made by prominent designers Ezio Frigerio and Franca Squarciapino, attracted the audience’s attention. Against the gray backdrop of the barracks, the entertaining intricacy of the dance appeared incredibly spectacular.
The frivolous young man Frantz (Bakhtiyar Adamzhan, Arman Urazov), his jealous bride Swanilda (Aigerim Beketayeva, Shugyla Adepkhan) and the whimsical Coppélius (Luigi Bonino, Rustem Seitbekov), in whose window the mysterious lady with a fan sits, do not create a love triangle, but rather a quadrangle.
Frantz is interested in the stranger and wants to meet her. He secretly gets into Coppélius’ house, where Swanilda has entered earlier, exposing the professor. As expected in the comedy genre, there is a happy ending: Frantz and Swanilda get married, the residents of the town are happy and only Coppélius is left alone with a broken doll in his hands and a broken heart.
Throughout the performance, according to the choreographer’s idea, the characters communicate with the audience. Principal Dancers performed this ballet with truly French humor. The audience laughed and reacted vividly to everything happening onstage. On both days, everyone portrayed their heroes in their own way. Bakhtiyar Adamzhan’s Frantz, without a doubt, turned out to be very strong in terms of dance technique, and light, playful and charming in terms of acting. Arman Urazov showed absolutely precise poses, his Frantz was flippant, just as Roland Petit intended him to be. On the first day, an unconditional beauty, a tall, aristocratic ballerina with elongated lines, Aigerim Beketayeva, went onstage as Swanilda. Her Swanilda is a capricious girl, curious and jealous. Childlike naivety was in everything: in gestures, looks of the dancer, she managed to portray a young coquette to perfection. She handled Roland Petit’s complex choreography with dignity. Her footwork was wondrous, so deftly Aigerim Beketayeva performed movements, preserving all the nuances and observing the canons of the genre and style. A young dancer of the Astana Opera Ballet Company Shugyla Adepkhan performed Swanilda on the second premiere day. Choreography for this role causes considerable difficulties even for experienced ballerinas, but the dancer managed to overcome them, justifying the hopes of the ballet master, according to the Astana Opera press service.
The performers of Dr. Coppélius – Luigi Bonino (also the Ballet Master) and Rustem Seitbekov in this part relied on acting, because it played a major role here. Luigi Bonino went onstage as this character dozens of times. His interpretation can certainly be considered a reference. Rustem Seitbekov’s portrayal was his own, and thereby a sense of originality was created. The dancer is fluent in classical ballet; he is perseverant and talented in performing comedic scenes. This applies to funny poses on the alchemy book, confrontation face to face with Frantz, and much more. The Astana Opera’s corps de ballet showed excellent synchronism and cohesion; the dancers kept the lines, and, overall, were very musical.Under the baton of the ballet conductor Arman Urazgaliyev, Léo Delibes’ score sounded seamless and exciting. The Astana Opera Symphony Orchestra reproduced the musical text in a masterly fashion. In frosty premiere days, the capital’s audience responded to the effervescent melodies with unbridled enthusiasm. It is important to note that this wonderful ballet was added to the repertoire of the Astana Opera at the initiative of the Artistic Director of the Ballet Company, People’s Artist of Russia Altynai Asylmuratova, and the premiere took place with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.