PNB closes season with comic ballet

  • Thu May 31st, 2012 8:58am
  • Life

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

Pacific Northwest Ballet is closing the 2011-12 season with the much-loved production of George Ballanchine’s “Copellia.”

The ballet’s history reaches into the height of 19th century romanticism and the rise of mechanical invention. It’s a play on the art of invention with a life-size doll finding a way be part of a real couple.

Swanilda and Franz are the happy pair until they come across Dr. Coppelius, an eccentric inventor.

Coppelius has built a life-like doll who steals Franz’s interest. Meanwhile, Swanilda will have no part in losing her beau. She dresses up like a doll to trick Franz.

No worries, the couple make up and the ballet’s final act features a spectacular wedding celebration.

“It is eye-poppingly beautiful,” said Gary Tucker, a spokesman for PNB. “It is the happiest ballet on earth.”

The ballet debuted in 1870 in Paris, then was restaged by the famous Petipa in 1884 for the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersberg.

Then, in 1974, Ballanchine reenvisioned and rechoregraphed the dance for the New York Ballet.

PNB premiered the Ballanchine version in 2010 with new sets and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi de Bagno. It’s that production that opens tonight.

The music is composed by Leo Delibes, who Ballanchine credits for inspiring Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

This is a comic ballet, full of fancy and classic dance.

Although long— it runs 2 1/2 hours with two intermissions — it should still be engaging for younger audiences.

The matinees include free family activities before the show and during the intermissions.

“Copellia” opens tonight with eight performances through June 10 at McCaw Hall in Seattle.

Performance are at 7:30 p.m. tonight and June 2, 7, 8 and 9. Matinees are at 2 p.m. June 2 and 9; and 1 p.m. June 10.

Tickets cost $28 to $168 at www.pnb.org or 206-441-2424.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; jholtz@heraldnet.com.