PROGRAM 6 – Beauty In Abundance at San Francisco Ballet

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Ballet’s PROGRAM 6 carries the music of Mozart, Arnold Schoënberg, and Leonid Desyatnikov. The first ballet, Haffner Symphony, choreographed by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson in 1991, is set to Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 in D major. The look and style is pure classicism, the mood is elegant and festive. Tomasson matches the phrasing of the buoyant score with perfect lyrical physicality, offering virtuosic opportunities throughout each of its four movements. Scenic designs and costumes by Tony Award winning Santo Loquazto reflect the elements of classical story ballets. The original lighting scheme by Thomas R. Skelton maintains its jewel-like appeal and airy freshness.

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Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan in Tomasson’s “Haffner” Symphony.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

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Hansuke Yamamoto and Anthony Spaulding in Tomasson’s “Haffner” Symphony.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

The second presentation marks the world premiere of Underskin. Set to the music of Schoënberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4, choreographer Renato Zanella admits he had the women of SF Ballet in mind during its creation. The roster of principals for the Opening Night performance included Sofiane Sylve, Frances Chung, Lorena Feijóo, and – in her final season – Katita Waldo. The subject deals with the finding of one’s self and is set in the abstract notions of a journey “into the woods”. The tensions vary from real to surreal and are colored by the energy of love, loneliness and the erotic. Conductor Martin West led the SF Ballet Orchestra in a superb rendition of the Schoënberg score. Costume designs by Anne Marie Legenstein exalt the magnificent dancers of SF Ballet. As Cole Porter would put it, “I’ve got you under my skin.”

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Katita Waldo in Zanella’s Underskin. Photo, Erik Tomasson

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Pascal Molat and Lorena Feijóo in Zanella’s Underskin.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons had its San Francisco premier last season. Its dozen overlapping scenes peruse the four seasons and the atmospheres of the Orthodox liturgical calendar. Ratmansky gives his dancers light touches of humor and playfulness in contrast to the songs and violin passages that explore heavier emotions of regret and melancholy. Susannah Poretsky’s rich mezzo-soprano was the perfect compliment to the songs of Schoënberg. Violinist Franklyn D’Antonio provided the sunshine and shade to a score that borrows upon traditional Russian folk music with themes of love and death. The ballet is packed with an amazing number of the Company’s principal dancers and soloists.

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Sofiane Sylve in Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons. Photo, Erik Tomasson

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Tiit Helimets and Yuan Yuan Tan. Photo, Erik Tomasson

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Davit Karapetyan, Pascal Molat, and Lorena Feijóo in Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

Click on the date to order tickets on line for remaining performances of Program 6:
Tuesday, April 13th, 8:00 PM
Friday, April 16th, 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 18th, 2:00 PM
Wednesday, April 21st, 7:30 PM

Click on the title to add these recordings to your Classical Library:
MOZART: Symphonies Nos. 21–41 – This specially boxed set includes the Haffner Symphony, No. 35. Sir Neville Marriner conducts the Chamber Ensemble of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
VERKLÄRTE NACHT – by Arnold Schoenberg. This CD also includes Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5. Herbert von Karajan conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
THE RUSSIAN SEASONS – by Leonid Desyatnikov. Gidon Kremer conducts the Orchestra/Ensemble of Kremerata Baltica. Featuring soprano Yulia Korpacheva and violinist Gidon Kremer.

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Visit Seán on YouTube:
”As Time Goes By” – aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
“Embraceable You” – On The Organ – At the Legion of Honor
Samson vs. Dalilah at AT&T Ballpark
DALILAH – In residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

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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”, 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: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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