coppelia ballet san jose production

Ballet San Jose’s COPPÉLIA, A Ballet for the Ages -- ALL Ages!


San Jose, Calif.--  Ballet San Jose presents Dennis Nahat’s delightful production of Coppélia October 3-11, 2009 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.   Tickets for the crowd-pleasing extravaganza range from $30 to $85.  This light-hearted ballet is perfect family fare with an easy-to-understand story, humorous special effects, and exuberant dancing.

Coppélia (The Girl with the Enamel Eyes) is a whimsical storybook ballet that the entire family will enjoy.  The story by E.T.A. Hoffmann (who also wrote The Nutcracker) is set in a small village in mountainous Central Europe during the 19th century.  An eccentric toymaker, Dr. Coppélius, has created a beautiful doll, which he sets on his balcony to dry her freshly painted eyes.  Everyone in town thinks she is a real person, and Dr. Coppélius indeed dreams that he can bring her to life and endow her with a soul.  Franz, a young man in the town, becomes infatuated with the beautiful doll which makes his fiancée, Swanilda, extremely jealous. When the old toymaker leaves his house, Swanilda and her friends sneak in to confront the other "woman."  There they discover the toymaker's mysterious workshop and set all his dolls in motion, creating pandemonium, and great fun for the audience. Dr. Coppélius returns and chases away all the girls, except Swanilda, who hides in an alcove with the doll, Coppélia.  Franz has decided to try to meet the beautiful girl he saw sunning herself on the balcony, and he sneaks into the workshop, only to be captured by the toymaker, who tries to transfer Franz's "life force" to his beloved doll.  Unknown to Dr. Coppélius, Swanilda has changed into the doll's clothing and pretends to come to life, only long enough to rescue Franz and show both men the truth about the doll "with the enamel eyes."

Dennis Nahat's choreography personalizes every character in Coppélia.  Even the corps as "villagers" have distinct characters…the school children, the flower vendor, the baker, the tailor, and the priest.  Designer David Guthrie has created a storybook look for the sets and costumes.  The toyshop is a treasure house of mystery and fun where dolls and tools come to life.  Symphony Silicon Valley, under the direction of Dwight Cannon, will perform Léo Delibes' enchanting score.

Ballet San Jose’s version of Coppélia has a libretto based upon a rethinking of themes from "Der Sandmann", a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann.  The story was also the inspiration for the "doll" act of the Offenbach opera, "The Tales of Hoffmann."  The ballet was first produced in 1870 at the Paris Opera to a commissioned score by Léo Delibes.  With choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, it is Delibes' most successful full-scale ballet and Saint-Léon's most famous.  Dennis Nahat's version of Coppélia, like most contemporary settings of the ballet, is based quite loosely upon Saint-Léon's original intent.  Nahat's Coppélia was first performed by Cleveland Ballet on October 16, 1981 at the Hanna Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio.  

Ballet San Jose’s Coppélia runs seven performances only, from Saturday, October 3rd  through Sunday, October 11th at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard in downtown San Jose.  Tickets are $30 to $85. A  special one-hour Children’s Matinee for children as young as three years old will be held on Saturday, October 10th at 1:30pm. Tickets to the Children’s Matinee are $16 to $47.(That performance is danced to a recorded score.)   For information contact the Ballet Box Office at (408) 288-2800 or call buy online at