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21 Feb 2012

Marc Ribaud’s Coppélia performed by the Finnish National Ballet

The Finnish National Ballet’s first premiere this spring will be a production of Coppélia created by French choreographer Marc Ribaud.

The original choreography to this ballet with music by Léo Delibes, premiered in Paris in 1870, was created by Arthur Saint-Léon. Coppélia was previously staged by the FNB in 1978.

Marc Ribaud has set the action at the studios of film director Georges Méliès near Paris in the early years of the 20th century. Méliès made some 500 short films and was an innovator and a pioneer in the use of trick photography in cinema. The central character of the ballet, Doctor Coppélius, is here transformed into Méliès himself, while the young lovers Swanilda and Franz are film actors. The production incorporates Marc Ribaud's choreographic re-creation of one of Méliès's most absurd films, Infernal Cakewalk.

Ribaud has staged Coppélia as an entertaining ballet, including slapstick comedy in the spirit of the yearly years of cinema. The colourful sets and costumes evoking the fin-de-siècle are by Dirk Hofacker, and the lighting is by Jacques Chatelet. Ribaud's version of the ballet was originally premiered by the Nice Opera Ballet in 2003 and comes to Finland by way of the Royal Swedish Ballet.

In the FNB production, Swanilda will be danced by Maria Baranova, Annabelle Hellinckx, Petia Ilieva and guest artist Barbora Kohoutková. Franz will be danced by Jaakko Eerola, Ilya Bolotov, Michal Krčř and Frans Valkama. Méliès will be danced by Henrik Burman, Jarkko Niininen, Nicholas Ziegler and Wilfried Jacobs. The Orchestra of the FNO will be conducted by Philippe Béran.

Star Dancer Minna Tervamäki to give farewell performance in March

Minna Tervamäki, a Star Dancer with the FNB, will be retiring in March. She will give her farewell performance in Natalia Makarova's production of La bayadère on 31 March. Tervamäki studied at the Ballet School of the FNO and has been a member of the FNB since 1986. She has appeared in leading roles in numerous classical ballets, including Odette-Odile in three different productions of Swan Lake. She has also performed in major roles in Neo-Classical and contemporary dance works, and in the 2000s she has also appeared as a choreographer.

TV broadcast of the FNB 90th anniversary gala online

The TV broadcast of the 90th anniversary gala of the FNB can be viewed worldwide on the Finnish Broadcasting Company website until 28 February 2012. The broadcast consists of a 90-minute highlights version of the gala.

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