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March 16, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet prepares a unique, 21st-century Coppélia

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Above Sir Jon Trimmer and Lucy Green in Coppélia.

The comic ballet Coppélia is next on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s programme, opening in Wellington on April 17.
   This 21st century version, staged by RNZB ballet master Martin Vedel, is unique, with the presentation sharpened up while retaining its core messages of love, devotion and friendship.
   Vedel said, ‘When RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel asked me to stage Coppélia I was instantly intrigued—it is a ballet in which I have performed many times both as a student of the Royal Danish Ballet School and later with the Royal Danish Ballet. It is a wonderful ballet for all audiences with exhilarating character dances, including the show-stopping Csárdás [Hungarian folk dance], wonderful classical solos and pas de deux, to a memorable score.’
   Production design is by the late Kristian Fredrikson, whose work featured in the RNZB’s recent production of Swan Lake. The original score is by Léo Delibes.
   The story revolves around a life-sized automaton who is mistaken for a real girl.
   Also noteworthy is Sir Jon Trimmer reprising the role of Dr Coppélius, the inventor. Sir Jon first performed the role for the RNZB in 1964, and danced it again in 1983.
   After Wellington, Coppélia tours to to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna, and Auckland.

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