Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon
Arthur Saint-Leon
Arthur Saint-Léon was the Maître de Ballet of St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet from 1859 until 1869 and is famous for creating the choreography of the ballet Coppélia.-Biography:...

 to a ballet libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes
Léo Delibes
Clément Philibert Léo Delibes was a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage...

. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann
Der Sandmann
The Sandman is a short story written in German by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was the first in an 1817 book of stories titled Die Nachtstücke .-Plot summary:...

(The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll). The ballet premiered on 25 May 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial de l´Opéra, with the 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the principal role of Swanhilde. Its first flush of success was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 and the siege of Paris - which also led to the early death of Giuseppina Bozzacchi, on her 17th birthday - but eventually it became the most-performed ballet at the Opera Garnier.

The team of Saint-Léon and Nuittier had a previous success with the ballet La Source (1860), for which Délibes had composed the music jointly with Ludwig Minkus
Ludwig Minkus
Ludwig Minkus a.k.a. Léon Fyodorovich Minkus was an Austrian composer of ballet music, a violin virtuoso and teacher.Minkus is most noted for the music he composed while serving as Ballet Composer of the St...



The story of Coppélia concerns a mysterious and faintly diabolical inventor, Doctor Coppélius who has made a life-size dancing doll
A doll is a model of a human being, often used as a toy for children. Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals throughout the world, and traditional dolls made of materials like clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The earliest documented dolls...

. It is so lifelike that Frantz, a village swain, is infatuated with it, and sets aside his true heart's desire, Swanhilde, who in Act II shows him his folly by dressing as the doll and pretending to come to life. The festive wedding-day divertissement
Divertissement is used, in a similar sense to the Italian 'divertimento', for a light piece of music for a small group of players, however the French term has additional meanings....

in the village square that occupy Act III are often deleted in modern danced versions, though one of the entrées was the first czardas presented on a ballet stage.


The part of Frantz was danced en travesti
En travesti
Travesti is a theatrical term referring to the portrayal of a character in an opera, play, or ballet by a performer of the opposite sex. Some sources regard 'travesti' as an Italian term, some as French. Depending on sources, the term may be given as travesty, travesti, or en travesti...

by Eugénie Fiocre
Eugénie Fiocre
Eugénie Fiocre was a principal dancer at the Paris Opéra 1864–75 where she often danced en travesti, creating Frantz in Coppélia in 1870, and, renowned for her beauty, was sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and painted by Degas in a scene from Saint-Léon's ballet La Source...

, a convention that pleased the male members of the Jockey-Club de Paris
Jockey-Club de Paris
The Jockey Club de Paris is best remembered as a gathering of the elite of nineteenth-century French society. The club still exists at 2 rue Rabelais, and hosts the International Federation of Racing Authorities...

 and was retained in Paris until after World War II.

Some influence on this story comes from travelling shows of the late 18th and early 19th centuries starring mechanical automaton
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

s. This field of entertainment has been under-documented, but a recent survey of the field is contained in The Mechanical Turk by Tom Standage
Tom Standage
Tom Standage is a journalist and author from England. A graduate of Oxford University, he has worked as a science and technology writer for The Guardian, as the business editor at The Economist, has been published in Wired, The New York Times, and The Daily Telegraph, and has published five books,...

 (2002). These shows were later to also influence Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage, FRS was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer...

 in his invention of the difference engine
Difference engine
A difference engine is an automatic, mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. Both logarithmic and trigonometric functions can be approximated by polynomials, so a difference engine can compute many useful sets of numbers.-History:...


Alternate Versions

A variation of the Coppelia story is contained in Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, a fictional work about the same Hoffmann who wrote the story that inspired Coppelia. The opera consists of a prologue
A prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information. The Greek prologos included the modern meaning of prologue, but was of wider significance...

, three fantastic tales in which Hoffmann is a participant, and an epilogue
An epilogue, epilog or afterword is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work...

. In the first story, based on Der Sandmann, Hoffmann falls in love with a mechanical doll, Olympia, but in this case, the story takes on a melancholy tinge as the doll breaks apart.

In 1974 George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

 choreographed a version of Coppélia for the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

. He was assisted by Alexandra Danilova
Alexandra Danilova
Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova was a Russian-born prima ballerina who became an American citizen....

, who had performed the title role many times during her dancing career. She staged the Petipa choreography for Act II. Balanchine created new choreography for Act III and for the mazurka, czardas and Frantz's variation in Act I. Patricia McBride
Patricia McBride
Patricia McBride is a ballerina who spent nearly 30 years dancing with the New York City Ballet....

 danced the role of Swanilda; Helgi Tomasson
Helgi Tomasson
Helgi Tómasson is a former Icelandic ballet dancer and current artistic director for the San Francisco Ballet and its ballet school.- Early life :...

 danced the role of Frantz; Shaun O'Brian portrayed Dr. Coppélius.


Act I
1 Prelude et Mazurka
2 Valse Lente
3 Scène
4 Mazurka
5 Scène
6 Ballade de L’Epi
7 Thème Slave Varie
8 Czardas
9 Finale

Act II
10 Entr’acte et Valse
11 Scène
12 Scène
13 Musique des Automates
14 Scène
15 Chanson a Boire et Scène
16 Scene et Valse de la Poupeé
17 Scène
18 Bolero
19 Gigue
20 Scène
21 Marche de la Cloche

22 Introduction
23 Valse des Heures
24 L’Aurore
25 La Priere
26 Le Travail
27 L’Hymne
28 Le Discorde et la Guerre
29 La Paix
30 Danse de Fete
31 Galop Finale

Instrumentation (music)
In music, instrumentation refers to the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and to the properties of those instruments individually...

The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

String section
The string section is the largest body of the standard orchestra and consists of bowed string instruments of the violin family.It normally comprises five sections: the first violins, the second violins, the violas, the cellos, and the double basses...

2 flutes
(2nd doubling on piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

2 oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

(2nd doubling on English horn)
2 clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

2 bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...


Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

4 horns
2 valved cornet
The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B. It is not related to the renaissance and early baroque cornett or cornetto.-History:The cornet was...

2 trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

3 trombone
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate...

The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...

Percussion (2 players)
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

Triangle (instrument)
The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals like beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve...

bass drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

 with cymbals
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

Popular culture

Coppelia was featured in the Danish film Ballerina
Ballerina (1966 film)
Ballerina is the story of a young girl Mette Sorensen who aspires to be a dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, against the wishes of her mother but with the support of her musician father and her mentor, the famous ballerina Kirsten Holm .The story opens with Mette greeting Kirsten at the airport...

, shown in two parts in the U.S. on Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

's Wonderful World of Color in 1966 and later released theatrically in Europe. Dancer Kirsten Simone
Kirsten Simone
Kirsten Simone is a former Danish ballerina. She studied at the Royal Danish Ballet School with Vera Volkova and joined the Royal Danish Ballet Company in 1952. She became their first soloist in 1966. She created roles in Flemming Flindt's The Three Musketeers , von Rosen's Don Juan and Harald...

 played the lead.

A movie, The Fantastic World of Dr. Coppelius / El fantástico mundo del doctor Coppelius, was released on December 25, 1968. In the U.S., it was titled Dr. Coppelius
Dr. Coppelius
Dr. Coppelius is a 1966 Spanish English-language comedy film based on the ballet Coppelius directed by Ted Kneeland and featuring Walter Slezak, Claudia Corday, and Terry-Thomas....

. The Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 production, with the ballet company and orchestra of the Gran Teatro del Liceo of Barcelona, features Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak was a portly Austrian character actor who appeared in numerous Hollywood films. Slezak often portrayed villains or thugs, most notably the German U-boat captain in Alfred Hitchcock's film Lifeboat , but occasionally he got to play lighter roles, as in The Wonderful World of the...

 as Dr. Coppelius and Claudia Corday in the doll-comes-to-life role, Swanhilda / Coppelia.

A scene from the famous ballet film The Red Shoes shows Moira Shearer
Moira Shearer
Moira Shearer, Lady Kennedy , was an internationally famous Scottish ballet dancer and actress.-Early life:She was born Moira Shearer King in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the daughter of actor Harold V. King...

 playing the fictional Victoria Page. Vicky is seen as Swanhilda in the scene in which she pretends to be Coppelia, and fools even Dr. Coppelius.

The ballet Coppélia and Giuseppina Bozzacchi's tragic fate are narrated in the novel No Telling (London: Vintage, 2004) by British author Adam Thorpe (*1956). The novel's protagonist, thirteen year-old Gilles, desperately wants to see the ballet because his crush Jocelyne plays a minor part. He researches into the topic in order to impress Jocelyne, who, sadly, turns out to be fed up with ballet in general and Coppélia in particular.

In the anime Princess Tutu
Princess Tutu
is a magical girl anime series created by Ikuko Itoh in 2002 for animation studio Hal Film Maker. It was adapted as a 2-volume manga illustrated by Mizuo Shinonome...

, episode 15 is entitled "Coppelia". Within the episode, the ballet is referenced when the character Pique/Pike is hypnotized in Mythos's presence and begins dancing the puppet-like "Waltz of the Dolls" from Coppélia as the corresponding song plays in the background. Additionally, the clock tower shown throughout the show plays the beginning of "Waltz of the Hours" when it tolls the hour, and the hand organ of the character Edel plays a modified version of "Music of the Automatica" (the original plays in the show as well). A stage adaptation of Coppelia was presented at the Gene Frankel Theater
Gene Frankel
__notoc__Eugene V. "Gene" Frankel was an American actor, theater director, and acting teacher especially notable in the founding of the off-Broadway scene...

 in 1999.

See also

External links

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