Ballet is not an expertise of mine, opera is though, but I have been a lifelong fan ever since seeing Swan Lake in London when I was 6. I do love Coppelia, it is very funny and cute with a lot of gentle charm. And this Royal Ballet production is just delightful, slightly superior to the excellent Australian Ballet production. The production values are bright and colourful, almost like a storybook picture or pop-up book come to life, and enhanced by the first rate picture quality and video directing. I also loved how life-like the dolls were, very like Australian Ballet's actually. Delibes' wonderfully luscious score(for me Coppelia is easily Delibes' best work) is played brilliantly by the orchestra, they never let the style lag and the strings especially have such a warm sound when playing. Nicolae Moldoveanu conducts with a clear enthusiasm and phrases the music very elegantly. The sound is excellent. The choreography is outstanding, the mazurkas and czardas have so much verve and authenticity, while the Corps-De-Ballet and folk dancers dance with such poise and character while never coming across as cold. The three leads are impeccable, especially Leanne Benjamin- apparently a stand-in- as Swanilda, whose technique in the leaps, footwork and turns proves to be superb and full of fluidity and grace. The gestures were well judged as well. The Franz of Carlos Acosta is handsome, dashing and always precise in his spins and jumps. He also has a youthful vitality to his dancing and presence also, which he uses with great charm. Luke Heydon is deliciously comic and eccentric, and also shows a poignant side as he falls under Coppelia's spell. He is made to be knocked over and carried around a lot, but he makes it look easy and it is amusing to look. Overall, a delightful production in every way. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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