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Delibes: Coppelia -- Royal Ballet DVD

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Coppélia is Delibes fairy-tale ballet of 1870, here presented in a production based on the Royal Ballet's 1954 version with designs by Osbert Lancaster and choreography by the company's founder Ninette de Valois. In a small European town Dr Coppélius (Luke Heydon) makes life-sized mechanical dolls. The whimsical tale unfolds as Swanilda (Leanne Benjamin) suspects that her fiancée Franz (Carlos Acosta) is falling in love with the enigmatic Coppélia (Leana Palmer). Everything is suitably magical, from the beautiful sets and costumes to the gorgeously melodic score. There is a sense of romantic playfulness throughout, and of course almost two hours of wonderful dancing, making this a treat to place beside Swan Lake and Giselle. Given live on 19 February 2000, this was the first live full-length ballet from Royal Opera House to be broadcast since 1968.On the DVD: Fortunately the DVD proves an object lesson in how to present ballet on the digital format. There is an introduction by Deborah Dull, principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet, a short but interesting profile of designer Osbert Lancaster, and a nine-minute film "Covent Garden Tales--The Ballet Moves" which gives a look behind the scenes at the Royal Ballet's new home. For a live production, the 16:9 anamorphically enhanced widescreen picture is simply superb, with excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. With even the special features delivered with 16:9 anamorphic enhancement this is a high-quality production in every respect. Encoded for regions two and four. --Gary S Dalkin

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