Elly on the Arts: Ballet coming to town

This is a very exciting weekend for Flin Flon/Creighton/Denare Beach area audiences because the ballet is coming to town. Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, a premier international company from Toronto, will be here on Saturday, March 23 to perform Coppélia. This will be the first full-length ballet ever performed here and I think it will be magnificent.

We have had ballet before, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) performing in the RH Channing Auditorium some years ago and the Professional School of the RWB just three years ago. They were wonderful and beautiful to watch dancing excerpts from ballets in their repertoire which were lovely, but you didn’t actually see the story unfold. It’s not the same when you only read it in the program. Ballet Jörgen will dance the whole story of Coppélia right in front of our eyes.

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This is a fine company of dancers gathered from all over the world. All 14 of them will be dancing here. Hiroto Saito from Kobe, Japan will be playing the leading man and Hannah Mae Cruddas from Dartmouth, N.S. is the leading lady. They will be supported on-stage by Junior Gaspar Caballero from Paraguay, Kenny Cheung from South Korea, Daniel Da Silva of Brazil, Akari Fujiwara from Japan, Ontario’s Elizabeth Gagnon, Adrien Ramirez Juarez of Mexico, Annelie Liliemark from Sweden; Heather Lumsden-Ruegg from Ontario; Momoka Matsui of Japan; Leandro Prado from Brazil and Ayva Rossouw-Holland from Victoria, B.C. There are another eight people on the tour as technical support for lights, sound, sets and costumes.

Coppélia is one of the world’s oldest surviving ballets and one of the best known and most performed comedic ballets. It is a daring, bold and funny story that takes us into the mysterious mind of Dr. Coppélius, a lonely and disillusioned toy maker who wishes he could bring a perfect doll to life.

Dr. Coppélius creates Coppélia, a stunning, life-sized, dancing doll. The story’s beauty and hilarity develop quickly as Nathanael, one of the local villagers, falls madly in love with the doll. His sweetheart Klara enacts revenge, and confusion and love are explored through her pretending to be Coppélia to punish Nathanael, says the Ballet Jörgen website.

The second magical aspect of this experience will be the music. It was written by Léo Delibes, a French Romantic composer. He specialized in opera and ballet scores and one of his best-known is Lakme from which we have the “Flower Duet.” This gorgeous piece was sung so well right here in Flin Flon during the Flin Flon Community Choir production of “Le Grande Opera” last spring. Thank you, Candia Cormark and Angela Ishaka. It was truly an unforgettable moment in a town that has many so musical experiences to draw on.

Delibes was an influential figure in the work of notables like Saint-Saens and Debussy and a story that is told of Tchaikovsky is that he loved the music written for Delibes’ Sylvia so much that he said if he had heard it first, he would never have written the music for Swan Lake. That would have been a shame but high praise indeed.

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s production of Coppélia promises to be a spectacle the likes of which northern Manitoba has never seen. It is the kind of production usually reserved for major cities, but now we have the opportunity to view it.

Tickets to the show are available at Northern Rainbow’s End for $40 for adults and $20 for students. The date, again, is March 23 and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Come early and stay late to meet the dancers following the show.

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