|| Boston Herald
|| April 10, 2010
|| Keith Powers
Sometimes you need to wait a bit before good things happen. That was certainly the case with Boston Ballet’s “Coppelia,” which opened Thursday at the Opera House.
“Coppelia” is one of the oldest ballets in the repertory, but it was George Balanchine’s reworking in the 1970s that made it a standard. His alterations in Act III made the performance worth the wait.
Simply put, “Coppelia” retells “Frankenstein” with a smiley face. A mad inventor in a small village creates a life-sized doll that captivates the heart of an engaged swain. Jealousy, mischief - and dancing - ensue.
This marks Boston Ballet’s first attempt at the Balanchine version, and artistic director Mikko Nissinen clearly aimed to create a winner. The opening-night cast featured Misa Kuranaga and Nelson Madrigal in the starring roles of Coppelia and her beau, Frantz.
With only two leading roles, the ensemble plays a major part in the ballet’s success. That worked well in Act I, which featured a series of beautifully rendered ethnic dances. Judith Fugate’s insightful staging had the corps creating stunning visual images throughout.
The crux of “Coppelia” lies in the characters of the leads, roles that are open to broad interpretation. Coppelia can be whimsical, naughty or willful. Frantz can be hapless, cadlike or flat-out bad. Kuranaga, as a capable and airy center of attention, shined. Madrigal’s performance opening night lacked sizzle.
“COPPELIA.”Presented by the Boston Ballet at the Opera House, Thursday evening. Through April 18.