Coppelia: the first leading role in the full-length ballet for Shale Wagman in Munich
Last weekend Sabine attended Bayerisches Staatsballett for watching Coppelia:
Staatsballett Munich currently performs Coppelia by Roland Petit with three different casts for the main roles, and I went to see Ksenia Ryzhkova as Swanilda, Shale Wagman as Franz and Javier Amo as Dr. Coppelius (he dances this role in all performances). The performance had marvelous soloists, a fabulous corps de ballet and orchestra for the 22 April night.
Petit's choreography is a colorful and "bonbon-rose" version of this ballet. And especially when the corps was dancing I was under the impression that we see a revue rather than a ballet with a story to tell. Somehow it felt that the extended corps parts were made to give the three main characters time to catch their breath backstage. And for no other purpose! It sounds a bit mean but it really didn't add to the story at all.
As for the story, it was pure entertainment and fun to watch. Mostly, and I have to focus now on the main reason why I travelled to Munich this time, - because of the witty, defiant, proud, brilliant performance Shale Wagman delivered as Franz.
It was his first main role in a full length ballet in Munich as soloist (which in Munich means "demi-soloist"), alongside principal dancer Ksenia Ryzhkova as a lovely, charming and graceful Swanilda, who was also very good in acting as poor girl, trying frantically to get her Franz. She performed beautiful clean solo parts especially with her fouettes.
Shale's technical and acting skills met the funny, mischievous and proud character of Franz perfectly. High-flying jumps (one to the back of the stage made me literally gasp), wonderful manege jumps, his "trademark" flexibility and a charming partnering for Ksenia as well as duets with Coppelius were just so delightful to watch.
Once onstage, his marvellous presence and fun to dance is palpable and striking, with soft and strong pirouettes, a witty perfect acting and wonderful tours en l'air with perfect landing. When the fun hops from the stage into the audience, then the performance is perfect.
The grand applause, bravi and many curtain calls for Franz and Swanilda were highly deserved that night. So, waiting for the next main role for Wagman (according to the recent Staatsballett's press release it will be "Puck" in Neumeier's Midsummer Night's Dream), we can say that debut turned out to be wonderful and very promising.
Text: Sabine Proll
Photos: @gherciu_serghei, Bayerisches Staatsballett