The Kirov Ballet perform Delibes' 'Coppelia', the story of a magician-toymaker and his living doll Coppelia. The magician brings Coppelia to life, but his neighbour Swanilda initiates a deception where she substitutes herself for the doll in an attempt to save her lover, Franz, from his magic. Stars Irina Shapchits, Mikhail Zavialov, Petr Rusanov, and Elvira Tarasova.
"Scintillating" is the word which comes to mind to describe this performance of Delibes' Coppélia
. Both the story and music (here presented in 2.0 Dolby stereo only, which is a shame) are among the most robust in the tradition, and here Oleg Vinogradov's choreography gives us the most extrovert depiction of an already extrovert subject. Highlights abound, but Irina Shapchits's Swanilda and Petr Rusanov's Coppelius are particularly delightful. The former is a boisterous, tomboyish interpretation, providing an additional dimension of contrast with the soullessness of Coppelius' dolls, while the latter eschews the bumbling eccentricity sometimes imposed on the role and instead depicts the dollmaker as an almost wraith-like, Mephistophelian figure. The disc carries one multi-angle option plus a DVD-ROM article by Harlow Robinson which includes a Web link to the label's home page, which is just as well given the drab, parsimonious nature of the accompanying black-and-white booklet. However, just buy this disc for the spectacular performance--you'll be glad you did. --Roger Thomas