Helgi Tomasson’s setting of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet takes place in San Francisco during the 1915 Pan Pacific Exhibition
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
For fans of Tchaikovsky and the San Francisco Ballet, Tomasson’s Nutcracker is the most wonderful time of the year. The production which debuted in 2004 opens Tuesday night, December 8th, and will play 31 performances through December 27th. Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score is one of the most popular pieces of music ever written. Familiar themes such as the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Waltz of the Snowflakes” are universally recognized and long ago became an integral part of the Holiday Season. Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 story, The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, the project was first proposed to Tchaikovsky by legendary choreographer Marius Petipa as a follow-up to Tchaikovsky’s previously successful ballets at Russia’s famed Mariinsky Theatre – Swan Lake (1877) and The Sleeping Beauty (1890). The composer began work on The Nutcracker in 1891. The work premiered at the Mariinsky in December of the following year, with choreography by Lev Ivanov, taking over for an indisposed Petipa. The ballet completed a double bill, appearing with Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta. Reviews were disappointing for both. While Tchaikovsky thought much of Iolanta, he felt the ballet score was not among his best work. Some 115 years, countless performances, and countless recordings later, most would disagree.
San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker.
All production photos by Erik Tomasson
This Holiday Season, you and your loved ones deserve a fabulous and magical experience that evokes joy and elevates your spirit to new heights. Whether continuing a valued tradition or discovering the magic of this beloved holiday classic for the first time – San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker is sure to leave you with a sense of warmth and treasured memories.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Lev Ivanov, and E.T.A. Hoffman
For six performances only, Nutcracker comes alive in the lobby of the Opera House one hour prior to curtain as costumed characters greet and have their pictures taken with children and families. Plus, the first 500 children to arrive receive a special gift! And at intermission, everyone will be treated to complimentary juice and cookies, courtesy of Lucky Supermarkets. The 7 pm curtain has you heading home by 9 pm, Complimentary booster seats are available for children seated on the Orchestra level.
Tuesday, 12/8, 7:00 PM
Wednesday, 12/9, 7:00 PM
Friday, 12/11, 2:00 Matinee
Sunday, 12/13, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, 12/15, 7:00 PM
Thursday, 12/17, 2:00 Matinee
SAN FRANCISCO FIRE FIGHTER TOY PROGRAM
San Francisco Ballet invites you to join them in providing toys and books for children in need this holiday season. If you wish to donate, please bring an unwrapped new toy or unused book to one of the Nutcracker performances. Collection barrels provided by the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program will be located in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House. Your generosity will brighten the holidays for Bay Area children.
Visit the SF Ballet Gift Shop to order:
DVD – Tomasson’s Nutcracker – Cast features: Damian Smith, Elizabeth Powell, Davit Karapetyan, David Arce, and Yuan Yuan Tan. Recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House, 12/19 and 12/20, 2007.
CD – THE NUTCRACKER – Martin West conducts the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
The Russian Dance. Photo, Erik Tomasson
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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”, which is being prepared for publication. 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: email@example.com.
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