SF BALLET’S NUTCRACKER – Gorgeous Holiday Treat

Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet plays through Sunday, December 27th

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET opened its beautiful production of Tchaidovsky’s NUTCRACKER Thursday night with a stellar cast including three of the Company’s glorious Principal ballerinas – Lorena Feijóo as “The Sugar Plum Fairy”, Yuan Yuan Tan as “The Queen of the Snow”, and Vanessa Zahorian in the Act II Grand Pas de Deux. Recently signed Russian star Artem Yachmennikov makes an impressive introduction in his role as “The Snow King”. Taras Domitro is formidable as “The Nutcracker Prince” and daunting in his brilliant display of technique in the Grand Pas de Deux. The always intriguing Damian Smith as “Uncle Drosselmeyer” sets the mysterious and adventurous mood for the evening. Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s production (originally presented in 2004) is set in San Francisco on Christmas Eve during the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exhibition. It’s an “only in San Francisco” type occasion.

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DAMIAN SMITH as “Uncle Drosselmeyer”.
Production photos by Erik Tomasson

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San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker

The vision of this Once-upon-a-time has been created by scenic designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, and lighting designer James F. Ingalis. Projection designer Wendall K. Harrington’s slideshow of San Francisco 1915 during the Nutcracker’s Overture provides the perfect theatrical touch. In this for-real magical atmosphere, “Clara” (Elise Gillum) is transported from her lofty Victorian home to a wonderland of snow (tons of it!) – along with the Family’s favorite Uncle (the one who really knows how to wear a cape). Drosselmeyer also knows there’s much in store with his Christmas present to Clara – a nutcracker in the shape of soldier. The toy will transform into Clara’s Rescuer Hero. Taras Domitro as the “Nutcracker Prince” is a dream worth keeping.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: NUTCRACKER

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TARAS DOMITRO and VANESSA ZAHORIAN

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YUAN YUAN and ARTEM YACHMENIKOV

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LORENA FEIJÓO – as “The Sugar Plum Fairy”

Spectacular performances were delivered in the “Russian Dance” (the Trepak) by Pascal Molat and his partners Daniel Baker and Benjamin Stewart. Clearly one of the highlights in the entire ballet, Pascal Molat once again ignores the Law of Gravity with his unbelievably awesome solo leaps and extensions.

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PASCAL MOLAT (right), DANIEL BAKER (left),
BENJAMIN STEWART (center)

In the “Chinese Dance” (aka, “Tea”) Hansuke Yamamoto’s versatility shines through with an array of acrobatics as he outwits the Dragon – a threatening collection of students from the SF Ballet School. In the “Arabian Dance” , Elana Altman’s genie of the lamp is supple and seductive – as are her partners Anthony Spaulding and Quinn Wharton.

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ELANA ALTMAN – The Arabian Dance

Watch SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Trailer:

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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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