CriticalDance Forum

San Francisco Ballet "Nutcracker" 2005
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Author:  mehunt [ Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  San Francisco Ballet "Nutcracker" 2005

Preliminary Casting is available for SFB's Nut:

Nutcracker Opening Night
Friday, December 02, 2005 7pm
Drosselmeyer: Ashley Wheater
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Ruben Martin
The Sugar Plum Fairy: Muriel Maffre
Grand Pas de Deux: Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia

Nutcracker Matinee
Saturday, December 03, 2005 2pm
Drosselmeyer: Jorge Esquivel
Queen and King of the Snow: Lorena Feijoo, Moises Martin
The Sugar Plum Fairy: Frances Chung
Grand Pas de Deux: Kristin Long, Joan Boada

Nutcracker Evening
Saturday, December 03, 2005 7pm
Drosselmeyer: Ashley Wheater
Queen and King of the Snow: Muriel Maffre, Pierre-François Vilanoba
The Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
Grand Pas de Deux: Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets*

Nutcracker Matinee
Sunday, December 04, 2005 2pm
Drosselmeyer: Peter Brandenhoff
Queen and King of Snow: Sarah Van Patten, Sergio Torrado
The Sugar Plum Fairy: Rachel Viselli
Grand Pas de Deux: Katita Waldo, Davit Karapetyan*

* Premiere in a role
Casting subject to change.

Author:  LMCtech [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Review in the SF Chronicle

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.


Author:  crandc [ Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Has anyone gone? Any thoughts? I'm not going until the 27th. (one of the thing I've noticed about going late is that the posted casting is NEVER accurate)
Last year we all pretty much liked the new production but thought it needed some polishing. Have there been any changes?
Come on, someone must have an opinion!

Author:  djb [ Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

I haven't gone yet.

Author:  bcx [ Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:44 am ]
Post subject: 

I went to opening night and have gone to four performances since. I love this company and have missed seeing them dance since their regular season ended in May. The Opera House has been virtually sold out every performance—Helgi's Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition in San Francisco after one and a half seasons. Tina LeBlanc and Gonzalo Garcia have developed the chemistry they displayed in Romeo & Juliet (seasoned, elegant ballerina partnered by an adoring, gifted young dancer: they make their dancing look effortless, and they clearly enjoy each other's company. We haven't had a couple like this in SF in a long time (if ever). My favorite Sugar Plum Fairy this year is Vanessa Zahorian—radiant and speedy (and good with kids). Sarah Van Patten was sensuous as usual in "Arabian," but Helgi has cast Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun as Arabian, too, this year, and she is surprisingly good in the role. I hope she gets more substantive roles in the coming season. Nutnaree and Sarah are also well-established and magical in the role of Queen of the Snow. I was surprised by how much I liked Davit Karaeptyan (just hired as a principle from the Zurich Ballet) in his debut—a very sensitive partner with a clean, elegant line, and an attrctive modesty. I hand it to SFB for turning the Nutcracker into extremely popular entertainment without ever compromising their art. They deserve the enthusiastic applause they are receiving twice a day at the San Francisco Opera House. It's not the usual ballet crowd, but they get it: "awesome moves" I overheard one of them say on the way out.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:34 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi bcx and thanks for your comments - it's always nice to hear from you.

Good to hear that Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun has impressed in a couple more roles. When SFB were last at Sadler's Wells with newcomer, Nutnaree, already in leading roles, many of us here thought: our loss is your gain. Hope we can persuade her to return to these shores before too long.

Author:  bcx [ Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  San Francisco Ballet "Nutcracker" 2005

Last Friday night's performance was the strongest case I've seen made yet that Tomasson's production (new last year) could be a classic—that it can work its magic again and again, and in particular that it provides opportunities to measure new dancers against exacting standards. Two weeks into the run, the production is self-oiling and running very smoothly.

More from Paul Parish's review in Danceview Times.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Dec 31, 2005 11:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Although I had fun at this "Nutcracker," even with the various reported changes, I found this production lacking in the magic I have come to expect from San Francisco Ballet. I thought perhaps it was just my having to getting used to a new version after years of the previous hybrid Christensen-Tomasson production or perhaps from having jetted around the country to see various productions by other companies, but when a family of non-ballet-going regulars with a couple of children (who are starting to take ballet class) had about the same problems I had, I began to wonder out loud if there's just not a couple of things missing.

I can imagine the conversation the parents had with their children. "No, munchkin, that's Drosselmeyer. He's supposed to be an old man." "Mommie, why is the dancing different from the music?" "Where did all the people go?"

Those were real life quotes from the family. I had a similar version of the same things through my head. "Why does Drosselmeyer look like a gay Uncle Sam?" "Why are the steps counter to the notes?" "Why is the stage so bare for Act II?"

I can see now why this production has gotten mixed reviews from serious dance writers and observers. Maybe it's these little things that make the magic more difficult to imagine. Nevertheless, there are many noteworthy aspects of this production, namely choreography that showcases the types of classy dancers Tomasson has assembled for this first rate company. In one evening alone, you get to see so many of its stars lined up for some killer dancing!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:48 am ]
Post subject: 

Azlan and I attended the same performance. I will have a formal review coming shortly, but I second all of his comments (and have some additional ones of my own). Namely, for a company that deems itself world-class, this performance proved that they were anything but. I grew up with the Christensen Nutcracker, although I've seen many other versions since childhood. I was prepared to be awed, after nearly 2 years of Kirov-only Nuts, but this new "creation" is more theatre than dance (in both acts); the sets are sparse, the choreography is (dare I say) atrocious insofar as it isn't musical or logical, and as Azlan pointed out, often countermusical. The dancers themselves fulfilled what there was to fulfill, but there wasn't much there to play with.

More to come...

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