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Polunin in Petit’s Coppélia

Posted on May 29, 2013


coppeliapoluninshapranThis July, the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet comes to the London Coliseum with Roland Petit’s version of Coppélia. Sergei Polunin will dance Franz during the run.


First staged in 1975, Petit’s version is a rethinking of the 19th-century ballet. He kept the central ideas of quarrelling lovers Franz and Swanilda and a toymaker who makes a mechanical doll, but with a different emotional edge. Petit wrote: “The main idea is simple. Coppélia [the doll] is created by Coppélius in Swanilda’s likeness. Coppélius loves Swanilda. By running away from Swanilda it is in fact still Swanilda whom Franz seeks. All bliss is woven out of infidelities… every interpretation is both a sacrilege and a homage.”


The production is staged by Luigi Bonino , a former dancer of Roland Petit’s Ballet de Marseille. The company will bring principal dancers Sergei Polunin, Semyon Velichko, Kristina Shapran and Erika Mikirticheva, with Anton Domashev as Dr Coppélius, the role originally played by Petit himself. The Delibes score will be played by the English National Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Anton Grishanin.


Polunin was last expected at the London Coliseum, when he was announced as the star of Peter Schaufuss Ballet’s Midnight Express, but withdrew from the production during rehearsals. At a press conference, Polunin said: “I am very sorry that, due to health issues at the time, I wasn’t able to explain to everyone why I couldn’t perform in April but I’m delighted to have another opportunity to dance at the Coliseum in July. Coppélia is one of my favourite ballets and I will be there!”


Casting has been announced for the six performances:



July 11 (eve): Kristina Shapran, Sergei Polunin

July 12 (mat): Natalia Somova, Dmitry Sobolevsky

July 12 (eve): Erika Mikirticheva, Semyon Velichko

July 13 (mat): Kristina Shapran, Sergei Polunin

July 13 (eve): Natalia Somova, Semyon Velichko

July 14 (mat): Erika Mikirticheva, Sergei Polunin


Tickets cost from £5 to £85. Call the box office on 020 7845 9300 or see for details.


Picture: Sergei Polunin and Kristina Shapran in Coppélia. Photograph: Oleg Chernous

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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