07:30 pm | Nationaltheater


Roland Petit




Choreography Roland Petit. Music Léo Delibes.

Ballet in three acts (1975)

recommended for 6 years and older

>>> CAST CHANGE: Shale Wagman replaces Yonah Acosta as Franz. <<< 

Van Cleef & Arpels

It all starts when a man creates a woman – a wooden doll to be brought to life. Dr. Coppélius is the wistful, lonely creator, a kind of magician, a sorcerer getting on in age, a crazy professor type – diagnosis: Frankenstein complex. Young Franz, who is actually engaged to Swanilda, can’t see the illusion and falls in love with this very beautiful doll, Coppélia, which sits day-in, day-out in elegant passivity in her window. When Franz breaks into the house to be close to the object of his desires, Coppélius catches him and puts him out of action with a mish-mash of magic and potions. Unbeknownst to the two: The curious Swanilda has already preceded Franz and crept into the house, revealed Coppélia to be the doll she is and quickly hidden when Franz turned up. While Coppélius does his best to transfer the spirits of life from Franz to Coppélia, Swanilda has taken the doll’s place and now pretends to come to life. The “magician” disintegrates as Franz awakens from his delirium and the two flee together. Coppélius is alone once again.

With humour and an ironic wink here and there, Roland Petit’s Coppélia  choreography (1975) asks the questions, as thrilling today as they were in the past, about blind love and the idealisation of the perfect human. The ballet, which celebrated its world premiere in 1870 to music by Léo Delibes and based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s literary original, The Sandman, plays out in Petit’s version in a barracks at the end of the 19th century. The synchronised formations of the soldiers meet with the stylised, affected movements of the women – is there perhaps a bit of the marionette in us all? The setting originally located in Galicia (the Eastern European one) delivers a colourful musical template for local folk dances (à la Csárdás or Mazurka), which are coloured in a Broadway-way by Petit’s characteristic style. But again and again in the classically interpreted sequences the dancers also become revue pin-ups with show effect, coquettishly waggling shoulders and dazzling jazz hands.


  • Ensemble of the Bayerisches Staatsballett
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester