The Australian Ballet returns to St Kilda’s Palais Theatre in a special Melbourne season of Coppélia from 23 September, before touring to the Sydney Opera House for a festive-season run from 2 December 2016.
An important place in The Australian Ballet’s history, Coppélia was performed during the company’s inaugural season in 1962, and was revived in 1979 in a new production by founding Artistic Director Dame Peggy van Praagh and the renowned theatre director George Ogilvie. The ballet’s return in 2010 was a fitting tribute to the late van Praagh – paying tribute to her extraordinary talents, and proved the work as fresh as ever 30 years after its creation.
The Australian Ballet is thrilled to bring it back to captivate a new generation of ballet lovers, in the majestic setting of the Palais Theatre. The company first performed on the Palais stage in 1964, and has since presented eleven world premieres in the theatre, including the original premiere of van Praagh’s Coppélia.
In the classic tale, Dr Coppelius – an eccentric toy maker, dreams of bringing his mechanical ‘daughter’ to life. Meanwhile, in the village, Swanilda and Franz are in love. But a beautiful stranger appears in town, and Franz is fascinated. Swanilda must rescue Franz from the magician’s sinister lair before it’s too late.
Filled with masquerade, romance and high jinks, Coppélia’s magic is enhanced by gorgeous sets and costumes designed by the late Kristian Fredrikson, which have been lovingly restored for this season. The internationally renowned Fredrikson conjures a world of magic, mystery and make-believe, transporting audiences out of the everyday and into a world of pure fantasy.
“We are delighted to bring back this production, which has long been considered a jewel of The Australian Ballet’s repertoire,” says Artistic Director David McAllister. “We are especially pleased to have George Ogilvie working with our artists in the studio once again. Together with Dame Peggy van Praagh, he created a rich and theatrical production layered with warmth, depth and humour.”
“It is wonderful to reignite the creative spark of their original for a whole new generation of dancers and to see him share the ballet’s intensity and intrigue with our younger artists. I can’t think of a more joyous way to complete what has been another action-packed year for The Australian Ballet.”
“Kristian Fredrikson’s costumes and sets are sumptuous, the dancing is neat and engaging, and children in particular will enjoy the story.” – The Age
Palais Theatre, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Season: 23 September – 1 October 2016
Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 2 – 21 December 2016
For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.
Image: Dimity Azoury as Swanhilda – photo by Justin Ridler