David Roland and Ashley Evans take a comic turn in Ballet Etoile’s Coppelia. Photo contributed

REVIEW: Ballet Etoile scores comic triumph with Coppelia

Victoria professional company produces a fine ensemble piece

By Steve and Jayne Weatherbe

Special to Monday Magazine

Ballet Etoile, Victoria’s feisty little professional ballet company, staged a tiny masterpiece of comedy highlighted by several artistic tours de force. Sadly, few came to see Coppelia at the Dave Dunnett Theatre at Oak Bay High and one performance was cancelled.

As for those of us who did come, we saw a fine ensemble piece with very competent contributions from girls from several local dance schools, impressive solos from one or two of the youngsters and the usual brilliance from Amalia Schelhorn, a former National Ballet member and teacher at several schools in Victoria, in a supporting role.

David Roland also did a fine comic turn in the key role of Dr. Coppelius, a dotty rather than a mad scientist who builds life-sized wind-up figures that sit, mostly immobile, in his shop.

Ian Szkolak playing Franz, the male lead, falls for one comely automaton whom he takes for Coppelius’s daughter, demonstrating focused physicality, grace and bashful charm as he attempts to win the heart of the inanimate girl, ending up drugged and trapped by the malicious doctor instead.

But Franz is betrothed to the lovely village lass, Swanhilda, who dramatically spurns him for chasing Coppelia, then sneaks into Dr. Coppelius’s workshop to discover the truth about his “daughter,” leading a trio of village girls.

It is Ashley Evans as Swanhilda who makes this ballet such a triumph. Ms. Evans is a wonderfully limber, graceful and expressive dancer, but she is much more. She is the choreographer and director of this piece, founder of Ballet Etoile, and, rumour has it, she also sews some of the costumes. Her face is wonderfully expressive too, and she hams it up hilariously with Roland’s Dr. Coppelius in his workshop, where she impersonates his prize doll in order to rescue Franz.

Everyone involved should be proud and every ballet fan who missed it should resolve to make Ballet Etoile’s next show July 29 and 30 at Butchart Gardens.

Ballet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends, family suprise Current Swell singer and new wife with socially distant wedding

‘We just thought we were going over there to have a glass of champagne and do some paperwork’

Victoria art gallery provides Open Space in an online way

View Chantal Gibson’s recent show on the web, hear Indigenous stories on Instagram starting Sunday

Victoria brewery throws support behind still-operating restaurants

Vancouver Island Brewing initiates #TakeOutTuesday to keep local eateries in the public eye

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

Victoria vocalist Maria Manna reaches out to hard-hit Italy with special online song

Jazz singer to perform ‘Hymn to Freedom’ with Italian lyrics on Facebook at 2 p.m. Monday

After 37 years, Campbell River Arts Council annual members’ show goes online

38th Annual Members Show shifted from physical gallery to website

COVID-19: Vancouver Island man forges hearts for his community

Dave Kasprick has already given out approximately 400, plans to make it 600

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Vancouver Island musicians in quarantine thank neighbours with backyard performance

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra director Karl Rainer and his sons play for those in self-isolation

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxophonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Campbell River journalist launches Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians, a volunteer virtual concert, of sorts

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Most Read