Theatre / Coppelia

Coppelia is a ballet based on "The Sandman" by E. T. A. Hoffmann, with choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon and music by Léo Delibes.

Franz is preparing for his wedding to his sweetheart, Swanhilda, when he glances into the upper story windows of the house of the reclusive Doctor Coppelius. Inside, he sees the most beautiful girl he has ever laid eyes on—Coppelia, the doctor's daughter, and falls in love at once. Forgetting Swanhilda, he sneaks into the Doctor's house to woo his new love. However, Coppelius has more than a few secrets hiding in his home... and Swanhilda is by no means going to take her lover's abandonment lying down! So she decides to check on this mysterious love rival, and in her quest she finds out about more than one shocking truth—and the truth behind Coppelia and her father.

Coppelia provides examples of:

  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Swanhilda is jealous. Probably justified, as her fiancé suddenly is smitten with a new girl right before Swanhilda and him are going to marry.
  • Crosscast Role: In the original production, the role of Franz was played by a woman in drag.
  • Lighter and Softer: The ballet is a light-hearted comedy, whereas the original E. T. A. Hoffmann story is a horror story and a tragedy.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Coppelius, a hermit who slaves over his dedication to his perfectly lifelike dolls, and bringing his "daughter" to life—at any cost. He is, however, FAR nicer than his incarnation in the original "Sandman", where he was (probably) the Sandman himself, and liked nothing better than to drive men mad and rip out the eyes of children.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Swanhilda successfully impersonates Coppelia by simply swapping clothes with her.
  • Plucky Girl: Swanhilda is unwilling to take Franz's sudden abandonment and defends him when it turns out that he's in danger of losing his own soul.
  • Robotic Reveal: Inverted and then played straight: at the end of Act II, Swanhilda reveals her true identity to Coppelius; then she pulls out the real Coppelia from behind the curtain, showing Franz that his recent infatuation is... well, only a doll.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Swanhilda and Franz have a rather... lively relationship.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Most notably when Swanhilda and her friends all dare each other into sneaking into Coppelius's house and messing around with his stuff.