Johan Kobborg choreographes Coppélia for the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk

The Baltic Opera in Gdańsk stages Coppélia by Léo Delibes in a new version. Johan Kobborg, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Danish choreographer, was invited to collaborate on this production. The Baltic Opera orchestra will be conducted by Luis Gorelik, while the set design and costumes will be designed by Hanna Wójcikowska-Szymczak. The premiere will take place on Saturday, April 6.

Johan Kobborg and Mayu Takata. Photo: Krzysztof Mystkowski.

Johan Kobborg and Mayu Takata. Photo: Krzysztof Mystkowski.

The piece by Delibes was created in the 19th century and was very popular from the very beginning. Audiences of the time appreciated not only the musical and choreographic layers, but also the libretto based on the stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Coppélia followed its literary prototype and reflected the fascination with technology, but also with spiritualism and magnetism, widespread at the time. Modern knowledge of the world allows us to treat these themes with more distance, but the plot of Delibes’ ballet itself remains interesting.

Coppélia is set in a small town which, in the staging prepared by the Baltic Opera, visually evokes Chagall’s paintings. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact place and time of action. The choreographer follows the classic patterns but with a contemporary audience in mind.

Mayu Takata and Gento Yoshimoto. Photo: Krzysztof Mystkowski.

As a choreographer, I don't feel the need either to put the action of Coppélia in a robot factory or a madhouse, or to change the classical ballet music or movement,” says Johan Kobborg in an interview for the performance programme. “Instead, I do feel the need to adapt the performance to a contemporary audience, while firmly believing in the power of classical ballet (...) I chose those pieces of music that moved something in me, choreographed them and integrated them into the performance, perhaps sometimes even in different places than originally intended”.

The performance is prepared for audiences of all ages. For the younger ones, it’ll be a fun story, and an encounter with classical ballet at the same time, while the older spectators will surely see something more.

If we take it as pure entertainment, Coppélia is the perfect colourful and fun ballet performance for a young audience,” says Johan Kobborg. “My aim, however, is to take the story to another emotional level that will allow something more to be shown. I found the key to interpret the libretto in Dr Coppelius: a grown man sitting at home creating puppets that he doesn’t sell but keeps for himself. Reflecting on this figure, I thought of a person who has lost something precious in life”.



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