Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by ETA Hoffmann, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll). The ballet premiered on 25 May 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial de l´Opéra, with the 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the principal role of Swanhilde. Its first flush of success was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris – which also led to the early death of Giuseppina Bozzacchi, on her 17th birthday – but eventually it became the most-performed ballet at the Opera Garnier.
The team of Saint-Léon and Nuittier had a previous success with the ballet La Source (1860), for which Délibes had composed the music jointly with Ludwig Minkus.