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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet Program 1: Swan Lake
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:20 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Casting is out for the first week of Swan Lake also. Several debuts among the men, but I'm guessing there will be excitement to see Kristin Long and Lorena's take too!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28-8:00 PM-OPENING NIGHT
Conductor: Martin West
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia*

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29-2:00 PM
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Kristin Long^, Joan Boada*

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31-8:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Lorena Feijoo^, Davit Karapetyan*

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1-7:30 PM
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets^

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2-8:00 PM
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Kristin Long, Joan Boada

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3-8:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4-1:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4-8:00 PM
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5-2:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia

*Denotes premiere in role
^Denotes premiere in Tomasson's version


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:04 am 
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Location: Where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
”Swan Lake,” San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Auditorium, San Francisco Opera House, January 28, 2006

Perhaps they felt triumphal because they braved the evening rainstorm. It may have been the swelling overture, conducted by Martin West, all violins and trumpets, sounding ominous undertones and riveting overtones, but the audience at the opera house was primed for this opening night dazzler of a “Swan Lake.” It started when Gonzalo Garcia’s entrance as Prince Siegfried was greeted with resounding applause and the approbation never let up, even after the downpour had.

The principal players announce themselves by their successive entrances into a lakeside glade where a gathering is taking place to celebrate the 21st birthday of the Prince. The self-appointed toastmaster of the festivities is the Prince’s avuncular Tutor, a less imposing version of Nutcracker’s Herr Drosselmeier, danced grandly by Val Canaparoli, his character work very much in the style of Jorge Esquivel’s. The courtesans and peasants are costumed in mossy mauves, ochres, and greens, and the men wear Edwardian jackets of contrasting multi-colors over ruffled white shirts. Their waltz is lush, measured, and proper. We immediately see an equable and complementary relationship between the corps and the coryphées, the men, and let us mention their names: Jonathan Mangosing, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Steven Norman, Chidozie Nzerem, and Rory Hohenstein, giving us a batterie of perfectly clean and exuberant sixes.

Garcia’s Prince is a living homage to the adage, “The course of true love never does run smooth.” He is his own worst enemy, held hostage by an aristocratic pleaser personality that finds itself in conflict with the “supposed-to-be”s his coming of age forces him to confront. His mother, the Queen (Anita Paciotti), presents him with a crossbow to mark his passage into adulthood and the concomitant responsibility to choose a wife. It’s his “nutcracker,” and he’s as entranced with it as Clara is with hers, but Siegfried...he’s just not that into the female of our species. The Prince is not an easy character to “find,” for the dancer cast in that role, and Garcia’s Siegfried un-self-consciously makes the slightly horrifying, slightly tantalizing discovery of his own strange proclivity with a minimum of regret and a passive acceptance that titrates the dramatic impact into easy to swallow doses. Curiously, this slow sizzle ramps up the tension. Garcia masters the artful contradiction inherent in his odd-duck of a Prince, and does so in spite of the trumpet player who skitters off the score just moments before the Queen makes her entrance and presents Siegfried with the crossbow. Too bad she wasn’t packing a trumpet.

A pas de trois danced by Rachel Viselli, Vanessa Zahorian and Sergio Torrado takes us to another place, somewhat removed from the unfolding story, where we are considering the accomplishments of the relatively new soloists (Viselli, and Torrado) and principal dancer, Zahorian. Viselli has acquired an appealing lyric line and lightness, evident in her pas de deux with Torrado. Some may ask “Why, out of a corps de ballet that includes Clara Blanco and Pauli Magierek, Marillen Olson and Margaret Carl, is it Viselli who was promoted?” Her work shows that when dancers of high caliber are given a chance and paid some extra attention, many accomplishments are possible. Hopefully the others will be presented with soloist contracts soon, and positioned to elevate the quality of the overall work of the company. Zahorian does a series of fouettés that stops on a dime to go into a preparation for a completely counterintuitive combination, and then she repeats the sequence. The burden is huge, and she acquits herself well, but it takes its toll, and the second set of fouettés comes off looking a bit labored. Torrado has turned down the flame and it now burns cleaner. Even so, he falls out of a pirouette in his first variation, but pulls the fat out of the fire in the second one, making a determined comeback with greater elevation, confidence, and pumps up the performance to the full-out zone. If Garcia’s “pleaser” is of the obliging, passively conflicted variety, Torrado gives us the other side of that coin: the athletic competitor. Tonight he competes with himself—and wins!

As the party resumes, Siegfried goes off alone in a mood of disaffection. There is a gravitas of line as he limns his plan, gathering it altogether into a rich, slow seau de basque. Twilight arrives as the guests leave, and Prince Siegfried picks up his crossbow, now a symbol of the independence he celebrates with two or three nuclear-powered grand jetés before the curtain falls.

Act II is what we’ve all been waiting for: It is where Odette, the white swan-by-day/woman-by-night, will make her entrance. According to the veteran Odette/Odile, Natalia Makarova, it is by this entrance that every Odette should be judged. But first, we meet Von Rothbart, the evil genius who has cast a spell upon the member of the Cygnus genus whom we await. Danced ghoulishly by Damian Smith, this Von Rothbart emerges from the roiling mist, twisting in the wind, tormented by his own madness, a gleam in his eye as it stares out of its sandbagged socket. The scheming Von Rothbart is so distracted that he appears to mutter aloud to himself accidentally as he rises out of the brume. Prince Siegfried, who just happens by as Von Rothbart extrudes himself from the lakeside wetlands, seems deft yet clueless as he wanders into a scenario he won’t live to regret having come upon. The contrast of personae is not lost upon us as Von Rothbart steals away.

The entrance of Tina Leblanc as Odette, is as avian of a lighting down as one can expect from a human being. Her body is pure sinew, and, fearful of the moonlit hunter who has shown up at her lagoon armed with a crossbow, her gossamer arms pump furiously. She extends her right arm to shield the side and top of her head, as she pushes the air with her left. Even as she protects herself, she is curious, and the Prince is enchanted. They approach each other, and as the music wills it, he takes lunging strides in semicircles around her as she stretches and preens. The swans enter in that forward and back succession that the Willis do in “Giselle,” and the Shades, in “La Bayadère.” This time, they are feathery, yet pristine, except when a swan knee buckles in the front line. Odette mimes the discharge of an arrow, but the Prince convinces her that he is not about that. The two lines of swans assume positions that place their legs in perfect lattices, as Odette, who is every ligament a swan, re-enters with her Prince. The violin solo seems to resonate from her extended limbs, as she steps into each posé in the pas de deux. The downy lifts inflate with air, and as she becomes more human, he becomes more an amphibious creature moored to something in the water world. In the moonlight, his left arm gathers air, as his hand grazes her waist. As they embrace, the stage is suffused with swans, and for once, the pointe shoes striking the stage sound uncannily like a crescendo of flapping wings. The swans splay themselves in an inverted crescent as the pas de deux ends.

The Cygnets—Clara Blanco, Nicole Grand, Margaret Karl and Megan Low—all well matched, dance with the precision of four skewered wind-up dolls, whose technique is unimpeachable, proven by their identically formed pas de chats. The four swan maidens who follow, including Elana Altman, Brooke Moore, Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun, would have been equally on task, were it not for Sarah Van Patten dancing a half a beat behind throughout. At least everyone’s arms look lovely, as they waltz from four corners to the center. Tina Leblanc’s solo follows and she delivers deliciously slow ciseaux, and then as the tempo picks up, a ravishing manège of piqué turns, triumphal arms flaring above her head at the finish. The energy flows from the corps to the principals in a reciprocity that is rarely seen. As it reaches its climax, it is interrupted by the reappearance of Von Rothbart, who mounts his craggy outcropping. Odette stops Siegfried from felling Von Rothbart, because he is the only one who can who can end the spell that renders her woman by night and swan by day. [As a librarian by day and dance critic by night, I am nothing if not empathic.] The lovers bid one another farewell, and the curtain falls.

Act III takes us to a grand salon, where a great ball is in progress. It is here that Prince Siegfried is expected to find a mate. Try as the six princesses may, (and they do try as their dance goes on and on), none of them manages to entice their partner, Siegfried, to walk that last mile to the alter. He tells his mother that he will not marry any of them. Von Rothbart arrives, thinly disguised as a courtesan, but really just one degree of separation away from his true identity as an evil genius. A woman in black accompanies him. She is Odile, and apart from her costume, she looks just like Odette. There are divertissements in every language. Elana Altman dances the Spanish divertissement with Los Hermanos Martín—Moises and Ruben. She is Plisetskaya-aggressive and saucy in her self-possession. Her movements are grandiose, dwarfing the two very tall brothers, who look a little shell-shocked. The Czardas is costumed brilliantly in navy blue, white and another shade of blue that accentuates the Navy. Three couples shine in particular: Pauli Magierek and Peter Brandenhoff, Hayley Farr and Martyn Garside, and Alexandra Lorey and Garrett Anderson. In the Neopolitan divertissement, Elizabeth Miner is a delightfully goofy Pulcinella knockoff, showing yet another aspect of her virtuosity—an instinct for comedy. She is partnered brilliantly by my personal favorite, Pascal Molat. They give us a lot of wicky wacky woo, but not at the expense of technique, and Molat’s elevation raises the rafters. Erin McNulty and David Arce lead the four couples in the Mazurka. There is a little slip and fall that has Courtney Wright (slip) colliding with her partner Steve Norman (fall). I am disappointed that there is no Jester, a wonderful dancing role added in later versions that offers welcome comic relief.

All is forgiven when Odile and Siegfried dance the Black Swan pas de deux, punctuated by coaching “asides,” from the poseur who is Von Rothbart. Leblanc’s piqués and manèges are once again splendid, the fouettés, faultless, gaining in velocity, as do Gonzalo Garcia’s bounding grand jetés, and perfectly stellar sécondes, and so it is with heavy heart that I note that there seemed to be absolutely no hint of coyness or disingenuousness in Leblanc’s Odile. It feels as if sweet Odette has simply molted her white feathers and grown black ones in their place. It is no wonder that the Queen is jubilant when Siegfried announces their betrothal! Since the afianzata is still very much The Swan Next Door, it is not clear when the “Oh, Deal!” moment comes, and Siegfried realizes that he has been set up. It does come, because he flees to the lake to find and explain himself to Odette.

As dawn breaks, Von Rothbart enters and exits, the swans return and one slips. [Who will break the curse on the opera house stage surface?] Von Rothbart reenters with Odette in tow. Siegfried reclaims her in lifts that can only be described as telescopic caresses, where Odette’s wing span spreads passion with each port de bras. There is a three-way mêlée involving Von Rothbart, Prince Siegfried and Odette. The swans return, safely this time! Siegfried and Von Rothbart fight to the finish and as Siegfried wrestles his darker doppelganger, intent on victory, one cannot help but think of Jacob wrestling the Angel. Von Rothbart falls to his death. As the music changes keys for the swan song of swan songs, we see that in spite of his moral triumph, Odette cannot entrust her life to the Prince who has betrayed her. She uses her new freedom to take her own life by leaping into the lake. The passionate Prince follows her. We see them united in a distant place that is neither the Kingdom of the Shades nor the forest where the Willis dwell, but somewhere like that, only with a view of the lake.


Last edited by Toba Singer on Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:13 pm 
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I thoroughly enjoyed the opening night performance, slips from the dancers and bloops from the orchestra aside. I was very impressed by Gonzalo Garcia, whose Siegfried was enchanting and believable -- an admirable debut. Tina LeBlanc was, of course, excellent. Besides her very secure technique and moving lyricism, she uses her feet more beautifully than just about anyone I can think of. Her bourrees in her exit at the end of Act 2 were a thing of beauty, and normally I think bourrees as a step that should be excised from the ballet vocabulary. The two pas de deux were exquisite.

I loved Damian Smith's bird-like head movements in Act 2, and the small details of gesture in Act 3. I was almost tempted to keep watching him during the pas de deux, but who could, with such glorious dancing going on?

I have to commend the corps de ballet for its beautiful work. The unison gets better every year -- a few times, I found myself thinking it must be done with mirrors.

I'm sorry my schedule doesn't allow me to see Kristin Long and Joan Boada, but I plan to see the other two casts.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:29 pm 
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Rachel Howard liked it too.

From the SF Chronicle.

Quote:
Artfully edited yet true to its core, 'Swan Lake' is a feather in Ballet's cap

Rachel Howard, Special to The Chronicle

Monday, January 30, 2006

If you want to learn why a tragic swan maiden is the icon of classical ballet, why the Tchaikovsky score and Ivanov/Petipa steps retain their power to pierce the heart more than a century after their pairing, you could hardly do better than the current run of San Francisco Ballet's "Swan Lake." Helgi Tomasson's brisk, potent 1988 production returned to the War Memorial Opera House after an absence of eight years Saturday night, setting the season off on an enrapturing high.

True, much of the excitement was for the sensationally promising debut of Gonzalo Garcia in the role of Prince Siegfried. But artistic breakthroughs rarely come without worthy vehicles, and time has proved Tomasson's staging a more-than-satisfactory trimming of a ballet that can stretch longer than many modern attention spans, alas, care to manage.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:25 pm 
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Is it my imagination, or has the placement of Odette and Siegried in the final tableau been changed? It seems to me they used to be higher and further upstage, quite removed from the swans. Now it looks more as if you're really seeing them at the bottom of the lake, but what I think I remember gave more of a feeling of an apotheosis.


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 Post subject: SFB Swan Lake - Kristin Long and Joan Boada 1/29
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:21 am 
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‘Swan Lake’

by Katie Rosenfeld

January 29, 2006 – War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA

As story ballets go, Swan Lake is arguably the perennial favorite, offering something for everyone in the audience: a touch of magic, a treacherous villain and a love story for the young at heart, gorgeous, expressive music for the well-cultured intelligentsia, and some of the best-known, most-learned choreography for the ballet students, professional dancers and seasoned ballet goers who glue their opera glasses to the bridge of their noses so as to not miss even a single step.

San Francisco Ballet’s 2006 revival of director/choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 1988 version does not disappoint. The sets, while a bit sparse, successfully transported us from the idyllic springtime of the first Act to the eerie, dark lakeside of the second and the stately ballroom of the third, framing the action while allowing the dancing to fill the space. The costuming was also spot-on, the contrast between the colorful peasant garb and the stark, sleek whiteness of the swans helped to increase the sense of magic surrounding Odette and her court.

Sunday afternoon’s casti included some real delights. The pas de trois in the first act, danced by Claire Pascal, Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun and Hansuke Yamamoto, was technically brilliant and executed to near perfection. Yamamoto looked downright weightless as he bounced through the tough beats and turns of his variation, his slight frame exhibiting incredible strength while his dimpled smile belied the difficulty of the steps. Pipit-Suksun is simply a joy to watch, every inch of her incredibly long, lithe body emanating a natural radiance that added sparkle to her already breathtaking, stylish dancing. Pascal is the definition of precision, her footwork is amazingly clean and could be used as a “how to” guide for other dancers. Unfortunately, next to the serene, cheerful smiles of her companions her expressions seemed washed out and a little bland, which detracted from an otherwise commendable performance.

The celebratory peasant dancing of the first act was a foreshadowing of the corps work to come in the second. As someone with a fair amount of experience working in a corps de ballet, I know how much time and energy goes into getting 20-plus dancers into straight lines and keeping everyone in those lines while they dance. Tomasson should be proud of his corps (and of his ballet masters): the placement and use of patterns throughout the production were visually stunning.

Joan Boada, whose Prince Siegfried spent almost all of Act I standing around sipping wine and flirting with the peasant girls, pulled off a slow, controlled solo at the very end of the act which left me wanting more – to be able to sustain the balance point at the end of a turn and slowly melt into an arabesque is the mark of a talented dancer. To be able to do so after spending half an hour getting cold while standing around the stage is truly remarkable.

I must take a moment to bring up something I noticed because I was watching the performance with someone who didn’t grow up watching a lot of classical ballet: Ballet mime is not very effective when you don’t already know the story inside and out. Sure, I know that the Queen Mother wants Prince Siegfried to marry, that she is giving him the crossbow because it’s an appropriate present for a prince’s 21st birthday and there is good hunting in the form of some swans down by the lake, and that she’s throwing a ball in his honor tomorrow night so that he can (hopefully) meet a nice princess and settle down, but it is easy to misinterpret all the waving and pointing and shaking of heads to mean “Here’s a crossbow,” “I don’t want to hunt!,” “But you’re a prince,” “Ok fine I’ll shoot at the swans, now let’s watch some more dancing.” I don’t want to suggest that this reflects badly on the dancers, I think it’s simply the nature of the beast.

When done well, as it was Saturday afternoon, there is something truly astonishing about the first entrance of the swans. At first the line of dancers is simple and elegant, all the legs repeating the same arabesque line. As you watch, the line curves and continues in serpentine splendor until the stage is full of identically beautiful swan-women, each arm and body echoing the next. While I realize most people come to the ballet to see the leads, the pas de deux and variations performed by soloists and principals, a well-rehearsed corps is something worth mentioning. This one gets a gold star in my book.

Dores Andre, Clara Blanco, Dana Genshaft and Margaret Karl danced the challenging Cygnets variation in near-perfect synchronicity, every foot, every fifth position, every passé identical, their upper bodies and arms surprisingly relaxed in the signature linked-arm chain. Courtney Clarkson, Mariellen Olson, Lily Rogers and Courtney Wright were pristine, elegant Swan Maidens, all long lines and graceful poses.

Kristin Long gave an admirable performance in her first shot at the dual role of Odette/Odile with SFB. Her graceful arms and upper back made her a convincing swan, and her shimmering bourrées expressed both the feathers of a swan and the nervousness of a woman falling in love. She was weightless and grounded simultaneously, if a little restrained. Some partnering work seemed a little off, as though Boada and Long didn’t have enough time to relax into the choreography and find the comfortable, relaxed quality they both showed when dancing alone. That said, the second act pas de deux was lovely, quite musical and effective.

A quick aside: it is a dangerous thing to give opera glasses to someone who enjoys checking out the audience and theater during the intermissions. My husband was doing just that, and noticed something surprising: it seems the Opera House hasn’t had a good dusting in a number of years. The gargoyles on each side of the stage, the carvings along the proscenium arch and the railings behind the side boxes were coated with thick, grey dust. Note to the Board: it’s time to hire a cleaning crew.

The third act lived up to my expectations completely. Featuring some of the best ballet music ever, the lively ethnic dances were performed well by all, Dores Andre and Matthew Stewart standing out with their exuberant, bright Neapolitan. The Princesses (Hayley Farr, Alexandra Lorey, Pauli Magierek, Erin McNulty, Shannon Roberts and Courtney Wright) were flirtatious, charming and delightfully disappointed when Prince Siegfried failed to show them much interest.

The arrival of the evil Von Rothbart and haughty Odile marks the turning point for the ballet. Up to that moment, you can believe that Siegfried and Odette will end up happily married with baby cygnets running around their castle. But no, dark magic will triumph over love. Long’s Odile was triumphant; she enjoyed every moment while she drew poor Siegfried into her net. The Black Swan pas de deux was a delicious blend of Boada’s enchantment-induced confusion and Long’s well-articulated scheming. You could hear Siegfried’s inner monologue: “Is it really Odette? But… she’s so confident. Where is the shy, fearful swan from the lake? Wait, there she is, fluttering her arms and looking beguilingly innocent. Oh, I love her!”

Following the pas de deux, Boada finally got to dance with all the bravura and masculine strength he hinted at back in the first act. The effortlessness of his giant double tours and gentle landings garnered a few sighs and a great deal of applause, as did his smooth, slow pirouettes (I’m always impressed by a natural left-turner). Long’s variation was stunning; she was incredibly strong, perfectly placed and sailed through the difficult series of turns and balances while seeming to shed every one of Odette’s feathers, replacing them with a powerful intensity that outshone her performance in the second act. It was a shock to everyone in the house when, immediately following the final pose, she tripped and fell to one knee as she left the stage.

A moment like that is feared by anyone who has ever been on stage. You are taught from a very early age that the best and only thing you can do is get up and keep going. Easy enough to say, but incredibly difficult to do. All dancers remember the first time they fell in front of an audience. Most, I’m sure, would tell you how mortifying an experience it is, how they burst into tears or swore like a sailor or got chewed out by an unforgiving director. It takes incredible strength of will to forgive yourself, forget it and move on. That is exactly what Long did: her next entrance was for the almighty fouetté sequence, 32 whipping turns done all on one leg, no breaks, no do-overs. And she nailed it. Perhaps not with the multiple, added turns that some ballerinas do, but cleanly and proficiently. Not something one can do when one is sniffling back tears of frustration.

Following the pas de deux, Van Rothbart forces Prince Siegfried to swear his love to Odile, who he still believes is his beloved Odette. As soon as Siegfried makes the oath, a vision of Odette appears and he realizes his fatal error while Von Rothbart and Odile laugh at his foolishness. At least, that’s what the program says happens. Unfortunately for those of us sitting in the “cheap seats” in the balcony, the set included a black rectangle suspended just below the proscenium arch, which blocked our view of the backdrop where the vision appeared. Anyone either unfamiliar with the story or unwilling to read the tiny font in the program misses a major plot point for the ballet.

Mayhem ensues, the courtiers leave quickly and Siegfried is left to ponder his terrible mistake. He returns to the lake, searching through the grieving swan maidens for is true love. When he finds her, she tearfully informs him of her now-permanent swan state. He apologizes, she forgives him, Von Rothbart and Siegfried fight over her, and she finally breaks away from them, takes her existence into her own hands and throws herself into the lake. Siegfried quickly follows, and the strength of their love for each other kills the evil magician. The final, chilling moment of the remaining swans, backs to the audience, grieving while they look at the final ripples in the lake brought the afternoon to a bittersweet, perfect close.

As we were leaving the theater, I overheard a little girl say to her mother, “you know who my favorite was? The bad guy.” It must be mentioned that Ruben Martin was effectively creepy and evil as Von Rothbart, filling the stage with mile-long limbs and an expressive face. Overall, this production is everything you would expect from one of the top companies in the country.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:48 pm 
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From the San Jose Mercury News.

Quote:
Details aside, `Swan Lake' dazzles
By Rita Felciano
Special to the Mercury News

There is a reason why ``Swan Lake'' remains the world's best-loved ballet. Its story -- Prince Siegfried falls in love with Princess Odette, bewitched as a swan, and ultimately fails her -- transcends time and place.

With some extraordinary interpretations from the leads and haunting white swan performances, the San Francisco Ballet started its new season on a stellar note Saturday at the War Memorial Opera House. Not that the production, which continues through Sunday, doesn't have some trouble spots. Helgi Tomasson's version, first danced in 1988, has sets and costumes designed by Jens-Jacob Worsaae. For some reason, Worsaae set this ``Swan Lake'' in 18th-century France rather than the original Germany. It's lovely, elegant and restrained, but it undercuts the terror of maidens being turned into swans.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:56 pm 
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Another review in the Contra Costa Times:
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cct ... 743478.htm
Quote:
Satisfying 'Swan Lake' opens season

San Francisco Ballet's spring season got off to a thoroughly satisfying start with Gonzalo Garcia making an impressive debut opposite Tina LeBlanc in Helgi Tomasson's "Swan Lake," which opened Saturday night at the War Memorial Opera House.

Tomasson's "Swan Lake" -- first produced some 18 years ago -- is among the more succinct versions of the sprawling classic, though in essence it is unchanged from the famous version choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Tomasson's is also a visually pretty production.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:04 pm 
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Interesting how one critic praises the corps for being so sychronized, another criticizes them for not being so!
I had hoped there would be enough football fans among ballet goers for a relatively small crowd Super Bowl Sunday, so that I could go. I guess with the 49ers being so bad, football is not a big attraction; Sunday's performance is totally sold out. So no sections with empty space where I can sit and be able to breathe. Damn. Guess I will watch Swan Lake videos with my new kittens Margot and Rudy (who got their names because I saw their jetes and tours en l'air and realized they are going to be ballet dancers when they grow up).


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:54 am 
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I too have been rudely awakened by the "sold out" phenomenon at SFB. The days when I could walk up to the box office whenever I wanted to and get a seat seem to be over. But standiing room is always available for every performance on the day of the performance. The Sunday performance with Tina and Gonzalo should be special.

I saw Yuan Yuan Tan last night: convincing as Odette and thrilling as Odile. I think it's her only performance.

SFB could pack the house with Swan Lake for weeks, but sharing the Opera House with the SF Opera means a very short season. Is it the shortest season of any major dance company (only 4 months a year)?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:03 am 
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It may be fairer to look at number of performances - how many is that, please? However, on overall season length, one example is the Royal Ballet which performs alongside the Opera company for some 8 months each year.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:33 pm 
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Hi Stuart,

I always appreciate your comments. According to the latest SFB program book, SFB "presents approximately 100 performances annually." How does that compare to the Royal Ballet?



PS: Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun (Ommi) has become an SFB "cover girl." A huge photo of her on SFB banners is currently flying over San Francisco. She made a huge impression at SFB's opening night gala.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:27 pm 
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Stephanie von Buchau from Bay Area Living (scroll down):

Inside Bay Area


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
I am happy for the sellouts. The more tickets they sell, the better they are off financially, and the less hard my friends have to work to keep their jobs.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:46 am 
The SFB repertory season at the San Francisco Opera House usually consists of 60 performances in a 15-week period (this year January 25-May 7). In addition, there are typically 30 performances of Nutcracker in December. How does this compare to other international companies (in London, Paris, New York, St. Petersberg, etc.)?


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