CriticalDance Forum

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002
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Author:  DavidH [ Mon Dec 16, 2002 12:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

djb, Jim Sohm danced the Snow King?????? In the casting it lists Peter Brandenhoff as the Snow King and Sohm as Dross.



Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 16, 2002 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

Oops! Good thing I'm not a critic. I couldn't tell who it was, and didn't have a program, so I checked my casting printout from the SFB site, and looked at the wrong day, I guess.

<small>[ 12-16-2002, 13:30: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Dec 16, 2002 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

A very special offer from SFB:

San Francisco Ballet invites you to get out of the cold and experience the magic and wonder of Nutcracker with our Rainy Day Specials!

For the 2 pm matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday December 17-19 only, Dress Circle and Orchestra Side seats are being offered for $20 and Orchestra Center seats are being offered for $40. All other seating prices remain the same and seats previously purchased for these performances will not be entitled to a price adjustment.

This offer will be extended via Phone and Box Office orders only and is subject to availability. Call 415.865.2000 for tickets and information, or visit the Ballet Box Office at 310 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Dec 16, 2002 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

Yes, Jim Sohm as the Snow King knocked my consciousness back about 15 years. ;)

Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 16, 2002 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

Guess I looked at the wrong line, not the wrong date! I wasn't watching SFB 15 years ago, so it didn't strike me as odd that a Jim Sohm should be dancing the Snow King. I'll fix my original post.

Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Dec 18, 2002 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

A strange review from the SF Weekly. Is she reviewing the dancing or the stagehands?

The Tired Nut
The last days of San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker as we know it

It costs $1.5 million for 2 1/2 weeks of work for about 170 people, and it depends on fat bags, hats that look like wet dogs, weird harnesses, and 100 pounds of scrap paper in pieces slightly bigger than confetti. Day in and day out, the same clothes are worn by scores of different people, each of whom leaves behind rank yellow perspiration stains after laboring under bright, sweltering lights. Late into the day, a woman with a kindly face obsessively worries over the washing.

Saw the matinee yesterday. Some techincal snafus, but Julie Diana as Sugarplum redeemed her opening night flubs with a beautiful performance. Zach Hanch was much better too. Vanessa Zahorian is a great butterfly. It's really best when the butterfly really flits aroung the stage.

Author:  DavidH [ Wed Dec 18, 2002 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

I agree about the Butterfly. Typically it's danced nicely. But when it's done by a Zahorian, Berman, Loscavio or a Lilly(I know, the old days) it's can be very, very special.


Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Dec 18, 2002 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

I really like Kristin Long in the Butterfly as well. She has attack and clean technique. she make it exciting. I saw a couple of corps girls get their chances at Butterfly this week. They were all fine, but not very interesting. Courtney Wright, I thought, made the most out of it.

Author:  mehunt [ Thu Dec 19, 2002 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

So I notice from the SFB Casting page that tonight Muriel Maffre and Olivier Wecxsteen are dancing Sugar Plum again and I thought I’d just make a few comments, since I saw them last Sunday in those roles.

Actually I went specifically to see Maffre and Wecxsteen (he’s a guest artist, I believe from France) because Maffre hardly ever fails to disappoint. As Sugar Plum, she was regal, and a little remote, although that’s not a bad thing. I was certainly not disappointed in her dancing at all, but I forget each year, as I’m being charmed away by the Lew Christensen production, that I really detest the choreography for the Grand Pas de Deux. Last year I watched the incomparable and smart Joanna Berman get all jammed up onto one side of the stage, stranded by the steps that kept pulling her towards stage right. This year, Maffre fared better. Perhaps with her length, she can cross the stage in a couple of steps and solve the spacing problem. The variation for the Sugar Plum Fairy, however, continues to look poky and wildly unmusical to me. At the very start, there’s a peculiar step in which the ballerina turns about a third of a turn over one leg… I can’t even begin to describe it properly, except to say that I have yet to see it done convincingly.

Nevertheless, I think it’s always worth it to see a beautiful dancer such as Maffre make something out of nothing. Her partner, Wexcsteen, has better choreography, but I found him a touch bland and not as clean in his technique as I had expected from someone who looked so striking physically.

Tall and long-legged, he is a good match height-wise for Maffre, and partners her easily, which is a relief to see. It was a spectacular as one could hope to see her take a crisp yet elongated fish in his arms. Benjamin Pierce, who seems most often to work with her, is also a good match for her, but otherwise, the selection among the male ranks of the company don’t offer many options for her, which is a pity.

One of the real delights of Sunday evening’s show though, was seeing Kristen Long, who I am sorry to say, I’m guilty of underrating so often. As the Snow Queen, partnered by Damian Smith, Long was absolutely wonderful. With sharply delineated lines, precise and whirlwind pirouettes and a beautiful smile the entire time, she redefined brilliant. She plunged headlong into series of double pique turns punctuated by double fouettes holding nothing back and apparently ignoring the mounting snow that was piled all over the stage and that alone gave her points for bravery. Smith partnered her gallantly, but there was almost no need for him to support any of her turns.

I mention it because on December 21 and 24, audiences will have a chance to see her as Sugar Plum, and if I were in town, I’d not miss the chance.

Author:  DavidH [ Thu Dec 19, 2002 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

Nice post Me! I saw Maffre and Wecxsteen dance Grand Pas last night and they have obviously settled in to their partnership and the choreography. I don't know when I've seen Muriel dance with such warmth. Wecxsteen partnered her beautifully and while he did a couple odd things in his variation(stylistically) I really enjoyed his performance. I have to say I was mezmerized by them.

The amount of snow got the better of Moises Martin as the Snow King. He took a bad spill, not his fault, and got up and continued to partner Julie Diana beautifully.

I love Kristin Long as well. I don't know that I'll ever forget her performances of Vertiginous Thrill...........and she's a mom to boot!!!!!!!


Author:  Azlan [ Thu Dec 19, 2002 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

You guys are not helping me... I'm trying not to go this year...

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Dec 19, 2002 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

I thought Muriel looked the most secure in her partnering I've ever seen her. Wecxsteen's a big guy. It makes sense that she'd fell well supported. I've never seen her look so good.

Author:  djb [ Thu Dec 19, 2002 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

In my last post, after talking about how much I like Christensen's choreography for the snow scene, I decided not to mention what I think about the choreography of the SFP's variation. But as long as mehunt brought it up...I also think that the variation feels unmusical, and I don't really like the rest of the pas de deux, either. There's an amazing trick Joanna Berman used to do at the end of the variation that I'd love to see someone duplicate: in the final turns en manege, she did 3 chaine turns and 2 double time chaine turns that fit perfectly with the little clarinet runs.

<small>[ 12-20-2002, 01:46: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  mehunt [ Fri Dec 20, 2002 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

djb, I LOVE that moment that Joanna Berman concocted. I wish that I could have bottled it, because it was so perfectly her: to take something that wasn't much of anything and use her musicality to turn it into a really special moment. Her manege made the variation bearable. That's also an example of why I always think of Berman as being so smart. In her Swan Lake, I remember how she turns her bourrees as the White Swan into something that looks like a quickening heartbeat, and from what I understand of her way of working, all these moments that she creates are not by chance, they're carefully developed out of her enormous talent. (Sorry I still can't quite bear talking about her in the past tense...)

Author:  djb [ Fri Dec 20, 2002 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Season - 2002

I saw the matinee today, and just want to mention a couple of people in new roles whose performances I especially enjoyed.

Courtney Wright was lovely as the Butterfly. She's tallish, with the beautiful, long lines and flowing movements that so often go along with being tall, but she's also strong, with good attack. With all that and a face that expresses how much she enjoys dancing, she's another corps member to watch.

Chidozie Nzerem was the lead in the Russian dance (hurray!). Despite the incongruous red wig, I thought he looked wonderful in this part, as he has in everything I've seen him in. Of all the men I've seen in the Russian Dance, I think he had the most flair and presence. His straddle split jumps (or whatever they're correctly called) were spectacular, and he finished his tours a la seconde with some mighty nice pirouettes.

<small>[ 12-20-2002, 02:15: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

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