With magical elements that recall both The Nutcracker and Giselle, Coppélia has a lot to offer to both children and adults, as the Colorado Ballet's visually lush and delightfully comic production attests.

Sharon Wehner as Swanilda
Sharon Wehner as Swanilda
Photo: Allen Birnbach
The romance between Swanilda and Franz is interrupted by Coppélia, a lifelike doll. As with Drosselmayer's Christmas creations, she and other mannequins come to life with magical effect, resulting in a fantasy climax that, as Balachine points out, produces a happy ending, in contrast to a similar device that produces a bittersweet conclusion in Giselle.

In Thursday night's dress rehearsal, long-time company favorite Sharon Wehner and impressive newcomer Alexei Tyukov made a marvelous pairing, equally adept at pantomime and in their technical artistry. Wehner's solos vary from buoyant to vibrant to scintillating, while Tyukov's are athletic and soaring; together, in the coda to the grand pas de duex, their lines dazzle.

Master storyteller Gregory K. Gonzales brings his impressive bag of tricks and funny business to the role of Dr. Coppelius.

American Ballet Theater's sets, by Tony Straiges, are bright and inviting. Todd Elmer's lighting amplifies the mood throughout. Patricia Zipprodt's costumes capture a multitude of ethnic flavors. Léo Delibes rich score is sure to impress with full orchestral treatment.

The Colorado Ballet's production of Coppélia runs through March 2nd at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. 303-837-8888 or


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