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Coppélia - The Design


TAB Coppelia Sydney Photo Daniel Boud 2016 19 1

Design Overview

Kristian Fredrikson was the designer for Coppélia. He was inspired by the Bavarian harvest festival for the colours and designs of the costumes.

In Act I you can see this reflected in the wheat motifs in the costumes and the autumnal colours of rust cream, yellow and ochre.

Within Act II there are darker greens and greys to reflect Dr Coppelius’ dark intentions towards Franz (he intends to extract his lifeforce).

Interestingly the Coppélia doll stands out in beautiful blue in contrast to all the other colours used and this is what draws Franz to notice her.

By the time the ballet moves into Act III the cast are in bridal colours of cream and gold, with the reapers in ochre colours. Dawn is in pink to represent the sunrise and Prayer is in a peaceful creamy white.

Read about the design process here.

Coppelia Act3 gallery 900x1200
Coppelia Act2 gallery 900x1200
Coppelia Act1 Gallery 900x1200

Kristian Fredrikson

Kristian Fredrikson is one of Australia’s most notable designers. For eight years he was resident designer for the Melbourne Theatre Company, designing among productions War and Peace, Three Sisters, Revenger’s Tragedy, The Devils and The Royal Hunt of the Sun.

His designs for The Australian Ballet are:

  • 1964 Aurora’s Wedding (Peggy van Praagh)
  • 1972 Cinderella (Frederick Ashton)
  • 1975 Night Encounter (John Butler)
  • 1979 Coppélia (George Ogilvie/ Peggy van Praagh)
  • 1981 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Bruce Wells)
  • 1987 Gallery (Graeme Murphy)
  • 1991 Of Blessed Memory (Stanton Welch)
  • 1992 The Nutcracker (Graeme Murphy)
  • 1997 Cinderella (Stanton Welch)
  • 2001 Tivoli (Graeme Murphy)
  • 2002 Swan Lake (Graeme Murphy).
  • 2005 The Sleeping Beauty (Stanton Welch)

Kristian has had a long association with Graeme Murphy and Sydney Dance Company, for whom his designs include Daphnis and Chloé, Poppy, The Selfish Giant, After Venice and Schéhérazade. He has also designed The Firebird, Swan Lake, Tell me a Tale, Winter Garden, A Servant of Two Masters, Jean Batten and Cinderella for Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Designs for opera include: for Opera Australia, Il Seraglio, Lucrezia Borgia, The Merry Widow, Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Manon Lescaut, Otello, Turandot, Salomé and Les Troyens; for the Victoria State Opera Don Carlos and Carmen; and Macbeth for State Opera of South Australia.

Drama Designs include: Pericles for Sydney Theatre Company, Death of a Salesman, Boswell for the Defence and Day After the Fair. Film and television credits include costumes for Undercover, Vietnam and Dirtwater Dynasty; and production designs for Sky Pirates, Short-Changed and The Shiralee.

Kristian Fredrikson is a recipient of four Erik Design Awards, and has won prestigious Green Room Awards for After Venice (1985), King Roger (1991), Turandot (1991), The Nutcracker (1992) and Salomé (1993), an Australian Film Industry Award for Undercover, and a Penguin Award for The Shiralee (1988). In 1999 Kristian Fredrikson received the Australian Dance Award for Service to Dance.

He was one of the specialised team of designers who worked on the ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. His design for The Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake earned him a 2002 Helpmann Award as well and yet another Green Room Award to add to his collection.


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