by Dave O'Connor
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It’s a doll’s life for Coppelia

BALLET Ireland’s edgy new take on the 19th century comic ballet, Coppelia, will visit Draiocht, Blanchardstown, on December 18 as part of its national tour.
Coppelia tells the story of a dollmaker, who creates an incredibly lifelike doll to ease his loneliness.
The result is a doll so realistic that everyone who encounters her thinks she’s a living woman, and one unfortunate young man falls in love with her.
In this new production, the action takes place at a 1950s country fair, and Coppelia is the face of a cosmetics line.
Speaking to the Gazette, director Anne Maher says Ballet Ireland always attempts to give its own spin to any production, to make it easier for audiences to identify with.
She says the reasoning behind setting it in the 1950s was manifold.
One reason was that the feminist movement was very strong in the 1950s, and the heroine of the piece,
Swanhilda, is “very much a feisty and independent woman so we thought that would be a great place to set her. We were looking around for different ideas and this sort of jumped out”. She says the idea worked really well.
“Musically, the theme is around some of the more traditional pieces of music in the original score; folk dances like the mazurka or the csardas.
“Obviously, the large sections of the score have stayed in their original format, but then we’ve taken some parts and tinkered with them a little.
“Some of them are set in a more bluegrass style, and because those are originally folk tunes, they transcend beautifully into another kind of
“It worked fantastically well on a musical level and also stylistically, and then from the perspective of the actual libretto and storyline.”
She says the most challenging aspect of the show was not in the adaptationor the performance, but containing their ambitions for the show, so they do not exceed the budget
“That would be the biggest thing. We had such fine and fantastically creative collaborators working with us on the production, it was all about containing the amount of ambition that they had to manage as much as
we could within the budget that we had,” she says.
The show has been on tour for a number of weeks now, performing at numerous venues throughout the country.
Maher says it has been very well received. The best part of it, is the audiences really seem to “get it”, she says.
Ballet Ireland’s Coppelia will visit Draiocht, Blanchardstown, on December 18 as part of its national tour. For more information visit www. draiocht.com

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