Delibes: Coppelia (Arthur Saint-Léon/ Charline Giezendanner/ Claude Bessy/ David Coleman/ Mathieu Ganio/ Pierre Lacotte) (Arthaus Dvd: 107231)
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The young ballet dancers of the L'Ecole de Danse de l'Opera de Paris move elegantly and quickly through the rehearsal rooms of the house. The slight tension that spreads among the young girls, the oldest of whom is just 17 years of age, pervades the atmosphere - an atmosphere made, as it were, for the painter Edgar Degas. On the programme this evening is Coppelia, or the girl with the enamel eyes by Leo Delibes. The excitement among the girls is great because today they will be performing in the (reproduced) scenery and costumes which at the premiere on 25 May 1870 had delighted Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress. The first choreography of the work was undertaken by Arthur Saint-Leon (1821-1870), a violin and dance virtuoso famous at that time. He died of a heart attack at the age of 49, only a few months after the premiere. Over the years many arrangements and choreographies have been made of the piece. The version on this DVD is by Pierre Lacotte, the great ballet expert who has received many honours, and Claude Bessy, the long standing director of the ballet school at the Paris opera.