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Thursday, November 22, 2012


(Laura Bosenberg as Coppelia and Johnny Bovang as Dr Coppelius)

A glorious evening at the ballet. (Review by Mary Ann Salvage)

The South African National Ballet supported by The Playhouse Company appears with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra at the Playhouse.

What a glorious evening at the ballet! It felt like “old times” bumping into familiar faces in the foyer: Executive Director Prof Elizabeth Triegaardt and Artistic Co-ordinator and Director of Operations Keith Mackintosh. Both were former Principal dancers of the previously known CAPAB Ballet Company. They have, together with Artistic Director Robin van Wyk done a sterling job in keeping the high standard of the company and, in particular, this production of Coppelia.

An added treat were the sounds of Delibes’ score with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra lead by conductor Naum Rousine. At times, I felt he ran ahead with the music, leaving the dancers frantically trying to play catch up. Perhaps with more rehearsals with the principal dancers, he would be able to follow them and not the other way around.

There is no mention in the programme of set and costume designers. While I found the set very pleasing and functional, I felt the costumes were a bit drab. And I did not think the Christmas tree in the third act tied in with the theme of The Wedding. For a moment, I thought I was in another ballet!

An outstanding performance from Character Principal Johnny Bovang as Dr Coppélius saw brilliantly timed comedy. Not too surprising, considering his wealth of experience as a dancer. Just wonderful to sit back and watch.

Laura Bosenberg shone as Swanilda. What a delight it was to see this superbly technical and musical dancer who has beautiful lines. She was perfectly cast.

Although Thomas Thorne, who danced Franz, struggled with the speed of his solo, he made up for it with superb partnering, miming and acting.

A bright star of the future is Senior Soloist Angela Hansford who danced Prayer with Xola Putye. Hansford has a presence on stage that is quite rare. She is just lovely. Putye partnered her with aplomb.  This is the first time I have seen Prayer done as a Pas de Deux.  It is usually done as a solo.

The Corps de Ballet were well-rehearsed considering some dancers are from the Graduate Programme. It is very encouraging to see up and coming talent. Care should be taken, though, with the female Corps’ eye make-up which I feel needs to be enhanced.

All in all, a delightful feel-good ballet and a must see!

Coppelia runs in the Playhouse Opera until November 25. Tickets reasonably priced at R150 for evening performances (R120 matinees) with bookings at Computicket. – Mary Ann Salvage