Combining traditional character dance and classical ballet, Patty O’Reilly describes the plot of “The Magic Toy Shop” ballet as the enchanting tale of a shopkeeper’s beloved toys who come to life and happily perform for prospective customers – until the day when two spoiled girls enter the store and decide to purchase and separate the pair of Can-Can Dolls.
The night before the families are to return for their selections, the toys share an evening of farewell performances before the Cossack Doll declares they should rebel and fight to keep the Can-Can Dolls from their wretched fate.
The next day, when the families return for the dolls, the toys do indeed rebel, causing the shopkeeper to refuse to sell her precious toys to the girls, who leave the magical shop in a huff while the shopkeeper and her toys celebrate.
The ballet “La Boutique Fantasque,” with music by Ottorino Resphighi, was first performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes at the Alhambra Theatre in London in 1919. The original leading roles of the Can-Can Dolls and the Shopkeeper were danced by Lydia Lopokova, Enrico Cecchetti and Leonide Massine.
The Sonoma Ballet Conservatory’s production of “The Magic Toy Shop” (which is an adaptation of the original libretto by Leonide Massine) is choreographed by O’Reilly and Brooke Byrne of Geary Dance Center in San Francisco, and features the music of Respighi’s “La Boutique Fantasque” supplemented with Josef Bayer’s “The Fairy Doll.”
The ballet is being performed at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building. Tickets are $12 to $22 and available at brownpapertickets.com.