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 Post subject: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 9:14 pm 
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San Francisco Ballet kicks off the 2001 season with a gala on Wednesday, January 24 at 8:00pm. After much speculation, the program for the evening’s performance has finally been announced.<P>The highlight of the program may well be the premiere of “Black Cake,” originally choreographed by Hans Van Manen in1989 for NDT’s 13th anniversary celebration. It features music by Stravinsky, Massenet, Mascagni, Janacek and Tchaikovsky. With the inclusion of this work in the gala program, it makes one wonder if it will affect ticket sales when “Black Cake” is performed during the regular season.<P>Other premieres at the gala include “Revelation,” a solo choreographed by Motoko Hirayama in December 2000 for the Bolshoi Theater and Gerard Bohbot’s “Liebestod” with music by Wagner. Yuri Possokhov will dance “Revelation” and Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre will dance “Liebestod.”<P>Rounding out the program will be the pas de deux from Balanchine’s exuberant “Stars and Stripes,” Possokhov’s stylishly imaginative “Magrittomania,” and “Symphony in C,” also by Balanchine.<P>As usual, the gala will include pre-show festivities and a post-performance party.


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2001 8:36 pm 
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Are you ready for the SFB gala? No? Well maybe you need some tips from a pro:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Getting Girly for the Gala<BR>Your prescription for a full day of glamorous self-indulgence</B><P>Cynthia Robins, SF Chronicle Beauty Writer<P>Before a big gala, one in which she is wearing strapless and satin, jewels and Manolos, my friend Miss R. spends the entire day preparing to suit up -- much like a matador performing the prebullfight ritual of putting on his suit of lights.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/16/DD158904.DTL" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2001 8:44 pm 
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Image <BR>SFB Principal Christopher Stowell,<BR>who will be retiring at the end of this season<BR>Photo by RJ Muna, courtesy of SF Ballet<P><BR>And, oh, some exciting news and gossip on the gala and SFB in general:<P>- Hans van Manen will himself be attending the gala to take in the SFB premiere of his "Black Cake."<P>- It seems spring is the theme for new works. "A Garden" is the title of Mark Morris' new work for SFB in late February while Val Caniparoli's premire in early February will be called "Death of a Moth."<P>- Christopher Stowell will be retiring at the end of this season but Tiekka Schofield, formerly of Houston Ballet and Royal Scottish Ballet, joined as Soloist last week.<P>- Finally, the now famous SFB School has embarked on an audition tour that will take them to 15 cities in the US.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited January 16, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2001 11:26 pm 
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I think I've seen 'Black Cake', if its the same von Manen piece that 'Les Grands...' did in London some years ago. In one part the dancers have to act drunk. I enjoyed it (my lack of the finer sensibilities is well documented), but the London critics were not impressed.


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2001 7:42 pm 
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In case you didn't get your tickets yet, I think the gala is sold out. And we're not giving ours away!<P>Watch this space for first impressions.


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2001 8:03 pm 
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I've only ever done standing room at the SFB gala. It can be crowded, but well worth the price! Unfortunately I'm not going this year. Have fun.


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 11:43 am 
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So...how was the gala?


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 6:56 pm 
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Waltzing into the <I>black</I> tie affair at the War Memorial House in my tuxedo and <I>blue</I> tie, I thought perhaps I might be entertained more by the lacey frills and the glittering jewelry of the patrons of the San Francisco Ballet than by the gala performance itself, which on paper didn't seem highly promising. In our bid to remain incognito however, my date -- in her purple blue satin dress in matching contrast to my steel blue dressings -- led me onward through the foyer and up the stairs to our safe haven in the balcony. Alas, this was not the night that my people watching skills would be put to good use.<P>It was to my immense satisfaction then that the show itself proved far more entertaining that I had envisioned. "Black Cake," by NDT choreographer Hans Van Manen who was in attendance for the West Coast premiere of his witty work with music by Stravinsky, Massenet, Mascagni, Janacek and Tchaikovsky, contrasted the talents of three very different principal dancers at San Francisco Ballet. The three pas de deux movements highlighted the athleticism and character acting of Cuban Lorena Feijoo, the comedic timing of Canadian Julia Adam and the cool classiness of French-trained Lucia Lacarra. It was in the first, ensemble, movement however, dancing in cocktail dresses and high heels side by side, that the differences in style were most evident. The high heels of course prevented the women from performing too many artistic feats, leaving the men, led ably by Roman Rykine, Yuri Possokhov and Stephen Legate, to execute practically all the turns and leaps. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a piece where the men spun more than the women. The finale, consisting mainly of the dancers teetering in drunken stupor with champagne glasses in hand, perhaps reflected the festive nature of the gala but could be misconstrued by some as condoning of alcoholism. To me, it was an anti-climactic ending and a joke that ran too long.<P><I>To be continued.</I><p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited January 26, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:07 pm 
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After the intermission in which no doubt much of the audience was inspired to sample the free champagne, we were offered vignettes from several different ballets, in typical gala fashion. And as with the typical gala that offers a smorgasbord of dance numbers, the result was mixed, which much of my limited criticism going to the programming and the casting. While Possokhov was brilliant in drawing from his Russian training to express the angst of Motoko Hirayama's solo work, "Revelation," and Lacarra and Cyril Pierre were exquisite in Gerard Bohbot's "Liebestod," having these two dark works one after another produced an atmosphere of angst that was almost unbearable, especially for those of us who did not partake of the champagne. As for casting, I would have wished that Julie Diana performed in a more exciting work than the obligatory classical tutu, the pas de deux from Helgi Tomasson's "Sleeping Beauty," opposite Pierre-Francois Vilanoba. This otherwise excellent SAB graduate, recently promoted to principal dancer, seemed a tad nervous and off the mark, with musicality taking a second seat to technique. The other casting wish list would be to have seen Kristin Long and Gonzalo Garcia switch parts with Vanessa Zahorian and Parrish Maynard in the 4th movement of Balanchine's "Symphony in C." Even though Zahorian and Maynard were beautiful and elegant, virtuosic principal dancer Long and soloist Garcia would have been more thrilling to watch as the first instead of the fourth couple.<P>Speaking of virtuosic, Tina LeBlanc and Christopher Stowell thrilled the audience with the right flair and exuberance required of the pas de deux from "Stars and Stripes," the other Balanchine work of the evening. The skill and talent of these two veteran dancers were brought to bear in a very satisfying performance. On the other end of the experience scale, Joan Boada and Guennadi Nedviguine, strutted their stuff in an excerpt from Possokhov's "Magrittomania." This delightful work, an homage to surrealist artist Peter Magritte and danced to an orchestration by Yuri Krasavin of music by Beethoven, was one of the hits from last season's young choreographers Discovery series.<P>At the end of a mostly entertaining evening, while most of the gala patrons made their way to the post-performance party, undoubtedly to sample more champagne, my date and I avoided the throng by sneaking down a not-so-well known stairwell whereupon we were discovered by members affiliated with the ballet company who were more than happy to share with us their own observations of the evening's performances. Withholding the names of the individuals to protect their identities, I can safely divulge that the consensus seemed to match my own general opinion of the evening's show. Somehow, that still always surprises me.<P><I>DavidH, you would have love picking the show apart.</I> Image<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited January 26, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:09 pm 
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Octavio Roca seems to agree with me on the champagne thing:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>S.F. BALLET OPENING NIGHT<BR>Ballet Takes the Cake<BR>Van Manen dance touches on truths of human nature</B><P>Octavio Roca, SF Chronicle<P>An opening-night gala is above all else a party, and San Francisco Ballet this year made sure that laughter and Champagne flowed and overflowed on both sides of the footlights.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/25/DD156456.DTL" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:11 pm 
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Ahh, I wish I <I>had</I> spent more time people watching:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>In the Mood for Yuri, Parties<BR>S.F. Ballet's opening gala a smashing, sexy success</B><P>Cynthia Robins, SF Chronicle Beauty Writer<P>As opening-night galas go, last night's debut of the San Francisco Ballet's 68th season was a smashing success. Ebullient. Joyful. Crowded. Enthusiastic. Not to mention . . . sexy. <P>And that was just the audience.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/25/DD164897.DTL" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:14 pm 
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And a report on the parties:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Paris on Their Minds<BR>Foreign travel is hot topic as 'Le Grand Tour' begins</B><P>Carolyne Zinko, SF Chronicle<P>The gala was here, in San Francisco, but partygoers' minds were on Paris. <P>About 2,000 people wedged themselves into the Opera House and City Hall last night for Champagne and dinner to mark the beginning of "Le Grand Tour," the opening of the Ballet season. The company will travel to London, Paris and Spain this year to mark its coming of age under Helgi Tomasson.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/25/DD180079.DTL" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:46 pm 
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Hey,hey,hey! I don't "enjoy" picking shows apart.:-) I know you all think I'm a heathen because I made a less then positive observation about a local dance company, but I always, always attend performances with the intent to enjoy them. I don't go looking for trouble. Honest! Although I didn't attend this years SFB gala, I always take them for what they are worth and typically one doesn't come away artistically nourished. In my mind that's not the point of an event like a gala. Years ago, in the good ol' ABT days, I saw a gala that consisted of the Diana & Acteon Pas, the Don Q Pas, Corsaire Pas, Dying Swan solo, Swan Lake Act II pas and more (my memory escapes me at this point) all war horses to say the least,BUT it was fun and exciting and everyone was having a good time. Okay, I've rambled and I look forward to this years season at SFB and feel real fortunate that this year I work only three train stops from the Opera house. Yahoo! <p>[This message has been edited by DavidH (edited January 25, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2001 8:38 pm 
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No, you're not a heathen. But you <I>are</I> a super-critic, who knows a lot more than most of our local critics... I would have loved your piece by piece criticism of the gala.


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 Post subject: Re: SF Ballet Gala 1/24/01
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2001 7:08 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
I also want to add that according to the press kit from SFB, Hans van Manen is also an accomplised photographer whose works are exhibited all over the work. Impressive.


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