YURI POSSOKHOV’S RAkU — Stunning World Premiere At San Francisco Ballet

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

History was made Thursday night with San Francisco Ballet’s opening of PROGRAM 2 and its world premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU. The production is magnificent. RAkU reaches to the deepest levels of the heart and soul. The music was commissioned from San Francisco composer Shinji Eshima, a veteran double bass player in the orchestras of both San Francisco Ballet and Opera. Conductor Martin West once again proved himself to be among the most versatile conductors in the business and certainly the most astute in the world of Ballet. RAkU is set in Kyoto at the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which was set ablaze in 1950 by a disturbed monk. The ballet is an abstract of events and legends centered around this event which Possokhov has shaped into penetrating images of desire, jealousy, war, and unfathomable longing and grief. The beauty of the climactic Finale ignites unending love. RAkU – like the pottery from Kyoto that bears its name – is a creation like none other. It is an instant classic. It stays in the mind.

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DAMIAN SMITH and YUAN YUAN TAN — Possokhov’s RAkU
Photo, Erik Tomasson

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YURI POSSOKHOV, Choreographer — SHINJI ESHIMA, Composer

RAkU is classical in style with smatterings of folk-oriented movements for its quartet of warriors, and is essentially void of Japanese dance. Scenic designer Alexander V. Nichols and lighting designer Christopher Dennis have created a perfect beauty in blending Art and Function. The moving set pieces are all at once the intimate quarters of the Warrior and his Princess and then suddenly, with the use of digital projections, the exteriors of the Pavilion – which will later be immolated in a blazing inferno. It is stunning Theatre. RAkU is an amazing success story for San Francisco Ballet. Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov has reached the heights. The Opening Night audience leapt to their feet before the curtain hit the floor.

Click on the date to order tickets on-line to PROGRAM 2:
Saturday, February 5th, 2:00 PM
Saturday, February 5th, 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 6th, 2:00 PM
Tuesday, February 8th, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, February 9th, 7:30 PM
Friday, February 11th, 8:00 PM

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YUAN YUAN TAN — Possokhov’s RAkU
Photo, Erik Tomasson

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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