Yuri Vámos
Scene photo Coppélia at Montmartre 1
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Coppélia at Montmartre 2
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Coppélia at Montmartre 3
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Coppélia at Montmartre 4
© Eduard Straub

Coppélia at Montmartre

Ballet by Youri Vámos
Music by Léo Delibes (1836–1891)
Choreographical assistance: Joyce Cuoco, Uwe Schröter
Stage and costumes: Michael Scott
Lightdesign: Klaus Gärditz
Duration: 2 hours

World premiere 1981 Bayrische Staatsoper München

Youri Vámos places his Coppélia into Paris during the times of the «Belle Époque”, into Paris, the town of the composer whose music inspired Vámos' idea.

Coppélius, an old painter, spends the evening in his favourite club, a well-known disreputable establishment, in which one dances the prohibited Cancan, reason enough for every decent citizen to avoid the place.

So it is for the old man – as so often – a very lonely evening. He longs for youth and beauty which for him are now out of reach, and he longs for the lovely girl Swanilda whose boyfriend is Franz, a pleasant carefree young lad from the neighbourhood. Franz, contrary to Coppélius, longs to get to know the notorious club and, in particular, the Cancan-dancers. There is only one problem: he is still a minor.

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Press reviews

With skill and much enthusiasm Youri Vámos has constructed Léo Delibes' ballet «Coppélia at Montmarte” as a pretty and very lively Moulin-Rouge-divertissement with tragic Toulouse-Lautrec-undertones. […] Léo Delibes'Coppélia composition, played with precision by the «Düsseldorfer Symphoniker” under Koen Schoots, becomes for Vámos and set designer Michael Scott the background for a glittering fancy-dress ball. Cheerful defilees of smart Parisian gendarmes (caricatured pricelessly by their commander Jörg Simon) and bunches of dancing painters, servants or chimney sweeps add momentum to the main action. Pantelis Zikas successfully acts a boorish Hans, Istvan Herczog shows the painter Coppélius as an agile leg-shaking elder gentleman. Michael Scott stages for the ballet a Montmarte as if taken from a picture book. […] Vámos produces a ballet for operetta fans.

Rheinische Post

Those who love turn-of-the-century French Can-Can will find themselves served well. The former soloist Istvan Herczog plays the old painter Coppélius, Marina Antonova plays Swanilda, and Michal Matys, excellent virtuoso, as Franz turns the girls' heads. Even supporting parts are danced by well-known soloists like Guy Albouy, Jörg Simon, and the young prima ballerina Cécile Tuzii.

Welt am Sonntag

Coppélia is a real catchy operetta without words. We see a lot of slapstick with disarming precision in Michael Scott's stage and costume pomp, for example when Istvan Herczog teaches young girls how to wriggle their legs. Also there are moments of classical charm like Marina Antonova's and Michal Matys' pas de deux as dream figures of the painter. The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker under Koen Schoots play very beautifully. The audience was obviously kept amused, and the compagnie, too, joined in the final applause for Vámos.

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

It is life in Paris in its entire colour which whirls across the stage of the Düsseldorf opera house. The scene of the ballet «Coppélia at Montmartre” is the ill-reputed Moulin Rouge, an establishment where even policemen show that they are capable of doing better than just arresting loose girls and crooks. The new version of Coppélia at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein is a mixture of dance-on-points, operetta and musical, with high public appeal. The performance of dance and stage setting represent a feast for eyes and ears.