San Francisco Ballet's homey 'Nutcracker,' just a year old, proves that it will be well worth many happy returns
Janice Berman, Special to The Chronicle
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Years of scientific research and songwriting have proved conclusively that there's no place like home for the holidays. So let it be noted that Helgi Tomasson's version of "Nutcracker," which began its monthlong run Friday night just one year after its premiere at his San Francisco Ballet, feels, in every possible way, like home. From designer Michael Yeargan's San Francisco settings, with its misty pastel skies, to Artistic Director Tomasson's choreography for his stellar company and students, this is a show to cherish, to visit again and again.
It's 1915, the year of the Pan-Pacific Exposition. The Stahlbaums are a distinctly upper-middle-class household, the "Nutcracker" norm ever since it premiered in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, with choreography by Lev Ivanov and libretto by Marius Petipa. The Stahlbaum home is a place of exquisite manners, beauty and -- importantly for the audience -- escape.