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The Ballet Russe Collection

© 2001 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Full-length ballet in three acts. Originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon for the Paris Opera, to a libretto by Charles Nuitter and Saint-Leon himself, music by Leo Delibes, premiered May 25, 1870. The Ballet Russe version was staged by Nicholas Sergeyev, after the adaptation by Louis Merante for the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and premiered in London on September 20, 1938. The decor for this production was designed by Pierre Roy.

Coppelia has long remained one of the jewels of the classical ballet repertoire, as it represents one of the few true comedies of ballet. Some also argue that Coppelia represents the first "feminist" ballet, breaking as it did with the romantic tradition of portraying the female heroine as an otherwordly creature and replacing it with a witty, earthy woman who knows how to get her way with a womanizing fiance. The ballet has been in the repertoire of many companies world-wide for many decades. The Butler Ballet presented Coppelia several times in its history, most recently in April of 1996 when the production was televised by the Butler-affiliated PBS station, WTBU-TV.

The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo kept Coppelia in its repertoire almost during the entire life of the company, sometimes presenting the entire full-length production, sometimes only the first two acts (as most of the story is contained therein), occasionally presenting just the third act as a divertissement. This repeated use of the ballet eventually took its toll on the scenery. By the time we unearthed the production from the pile of drops, many had suffered greatly - few of the portals remained intact, dry rot had set in, and as a result only the backdrops now remain in the collection: the Act I backdrop above; the Act III backdrop below (unfortunately with moisture stains); and the Act II set, including some rather faded legs and borders.

Act 2 set 

Act 3 backdrop

Reproduction, including downloading of Pierre Roy works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.