BWW Reviews: New York City Ballet Treats NYC to 'Coppelia' After a 5-Year Hiatus
During February 2014, the third snowiest on record in NYC, winter weary dancegoers are welcoming the mood-boosting comedy and charm of the New York City Ballet's version of "Coppelia". Staged by Balanchine with the legendary Alexandra Danilova in 1974, the production has musical passages for added male variations from "La Source" and "Sylvia" interpolated into Delibes' inspired original score. Balanchine, who famously said "Ballet is Woman," clearly knew that the vigor and bravura of the gentlemen is also important. On the evening of February 15th at the Koch Theatre, the long-limbed Andrew Veyette as Franz did a decent job of delivering those qualities, although he can't match the virtuosity of many of his NYCB colleagues or the pyrotechnics of American Ballet Theatre's male contingent.
Megan Fairchild, Veyette's wife, was very good indeed in the challenging role of Swanhilda. Girlishly petulant in Act I and broadly comedic in Act II, she evolved into an all-grown-up bride for a seamless wedding pas de deux complete with excellent balances and a daredevil dive into Veyette's arms.
As Dr. Coppelius, the slightly dotty and deluded toymaker who tries to breathe life into a doll, guest artist Robert La Fosse delivered a convincing performance that not only showed he can still cut it as a character dancer but also left me feeling genuinely sorry for him when he learned of Swanhilda's ruse.
Even so, the highlight of this ballet is always the mini corps de ballet of 24 little girls from the School of American Ballet in Act III's "Waltz of the Golden Hours". The young dancers, heart-meltingly adorable in pink tutus, had clearly been impeccably rehearsed by Children's Ballet Master Dena Abergel and Assistant Children's Ballet Master Arch Higgins. I've always thought that the roles of Dawn, Prayer, Spinner, and the Four Jesterettes are rendered thankless when the adult dancers do their best to get the audience's attention while all eyes are actually on the youngsters.