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ROH: Coppelia (2019)

A classic returns to the Royal Ballet repertory with Ninette de Valois’ charming and funny Coppélia – a story of love, mischief and mechanical dolls. The intricate choreography is set to Delibes’ delightful score and shows off the technical precision and comedic timing of the whole Company. Osbert Lancaster’s designs bring a colourful storybook world to life in this Christmas treat for the whole family.

Toy maker Dr Coppélius seems to have a beautiful young woman in his house: Coppélia, who sits and reads on his balcony. Franz and his fellow young villagers are curious about her and how she ignores them all. Franz’s fiancée Swanilda is not pleased by Franz’s interest in another woman, but equally curious. When Dr Coppélius goes to the local tavern, the young villagers slip into his house to introduce themselves to the strangely silent young woman.

In the house, they are astonished by several mechanical dolls, including Coppélia. Coppélius returns and throws them all out – except Swanilda, who hides and takes Coppélia’s place. When Franz climbs in through a window, Coppélius drugs him and attempts through magic to put his lifeforce into the mechanical Coppélia. Swanilda is able to trick him into believing his spell has worked. In the inevitable happy ending, Coppélius is placated, and Swanilda happily united with Franz as the villagers celebrate their new town bell.

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