GISELLE – Opens SF Ballet’s 78th Season, 1/29/11

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Following the Holiday presentation of The Nutcracker and the 2011 Opening Night Gala on January 26th, the repertory season begins with Adolphe Adam’s GISELLE on Saturday the 29th. Season will include the presentation of three full-length works, including a new production of George Balanchine’s Coppélia, co-produced with Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). The production will have its PNB premiere in June 2010 and will be a Company premiere for SF Ballet in March 2011. The Season will include the presentation of three full-length works, including a new production of George Balanchine’s Coppélia, co-produced with Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). The production will have its PNB premiere in June 2010 and will be a Company premiere for SF Ballet in March 2011. The 2011 season also includes two world premieres by Christopher Wheeldon and SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, as well as two SF Ballet premieres by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Wayne McGregor. In addition, the season includes works by acclaimed choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Michel Fokine, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Helgi Tomasson, and Renato Zanella.

George Balanchine — Helgi Tomasson (Photo, Erik Tomasson)

“In programming the 2011 season, I wanted not only to highlight the depth and breadth of the Company’s talent, but also to offer our audiences a wide array of programming to choose from,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “I am particularly delighted that the Company will offer the San Francisco Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s Coppélia; a work that is very special to me since I performed the role of Franz in the original version of Balanchine’s production.”

GISELLE – Opens Saturday, January 29, 2011, 8:00 pm. Music by Adolphe Adam, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa, Jules Perrot, Jean Coralli.

LORENA FEIJÓO – as “Giselle”. All Production Photos by Erik Tomasson

Giselle portrays the tale of a young peasant girl who is driven to madness and an untimely death upon discovering that her true love, Albrecht, has deceived her. In spite of her broken heart, Giselle, who now resides in an otherworldly forest of beguiled female spirits, protects her remorseful lover from their evil vengeance. This critically acclaimed production features lavish scenery and costumes, soulful music, and beautiful choreography epitomizing the pure classicism of the Romantic ballets.
Click here to order tickets on-line: GISELLE

See YouTube with Lorena Feijóo and Sean Martinfield, February 2008:

KRISTIN LONG and DAMIAN SMITH – Ashton’s Symphonic Variations.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

PROGRAM 2 opens Thursday, February 3rd with Ashton’s Symphonic Variations; a world premiere by Possokhov, RAkU, his 13th work for the Company, including gala works and the co-production of Don Quixote with Tomasson; and the return of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Ashton’s Symphonic Variations, a plotless ballet for six dancers, premiered in 1946 by the Sadler’s Wells (now Royal) Ballet at London’s Royal Opera House. Set to music by César Franck, the work had its SF Ballet premiere in 2004, and was last performed by the Company in 2005. Balanchine’s Symphony in C, set to the music of Georges Bizet, was premiered in 1947 by the Paris Opéra Ballet. SF Ballet first performed the 23-minute piece in 1961, and most recently in 2007.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 2

POSSOKHOV’S CLASSICAL SYMPHONY – Maria Kochetkova and Hansuke Yamamoto

PROGRAM 3 – opens Thursday, February 24 with the encore performance of Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, and the return of Tomasson’s Nanna’s Lied and Forsythe’s Artifact Suite. Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev, had its world premiere during the 2010 Repertory Season and was inspired by ballet history and Possokhov’s own classical Russian ballet training. Tomasson’s Nanna’s Lied was premiered by the Company in 1993, and portrays the dramatic tale of a young woman’s loss of innocence. The work was last performed by the Company in 2003, and is set to the songs of Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollaender. Forsythe’s Artifact Suite was premiered by the Scottish Ballet under the title Suite from Artifact in 2004. Two years later, SF Ballet presented the U.S. premiere of the work, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Eva Crossman-Hecht. The full work was last performed during the 2007 Repertory Season.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 3

PROGRAM 4 – opens Friday, February 25th

Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreography by George Balanchine
One of George Balanchine’s most regal and elegant ballets in the Russian tradition, Theme and Variations remains a timeless masterpiece in the twentieth century’s neoclassical ballet repertoire. Designed for 26 dancers, the work was premiered in 1947 by Ballet Theatre. It was most recently performed by SF Ballet during its 2010 Repertory Season. MacMillan created a pas de deux in 1991, for Darcey Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov, which was performed at the Queen Mother’s 90th Birthday Tribute. This pas de deux became part of the one-act ballet Winter Dreams (based on Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters), which was subsequently filmed for television and broadcast on the BBC in 1992.

TRIO — NEW Tomasson World Premiere

WINTER DREAMS — NEW SF Ballet Premiere
Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan
New to SF Ballet this season, Winter Dreams is a densely layered emotional work inspired by Anton Chekhov’s literary masterpiece Three Sisters. Set to piano pieces by Tchaikovsky, this dramatic work explores the characters melancholy with their present existence in a Russian provincial town at the turn of the 20th century.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 4

COPPÉLIA — NEW SF Ballet Premiere
Music by Léo Delibes, choreography by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine (after Marius Petipa)
George Balanchine’s joyous classic Coppélia makes its long-awaited San Francisco Ballet premiere in a lavish and colorful new production. Filled with merriment, comedic charm, and spectacular dancing, Coppélia is the story of Swanilda and Franz, whose courtship takes a surprising turn when Dr. Coppelius, a mysterious inventor, creates a life-like doll with whom Franz becomes infatuated. Determined to teach her wanderlust lover a lesson, Swanilda dresses up as the doll and pretends to come to life. Ultimately, Swanilda and Franz reunite and a vivacious wedding day celebration ensues.
This enchanting story ballet features a melodious score by French composer Léo Delibes and all new scenery and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno.
Click here to order tickets on-line: COPPÉLIA

PROGRAM 6 opens Thursday, April 7 with the return of Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, the encore presentation of Wheeldon’s Ghosts, and the SF Ballet Premiere of McGregor’s Chroma. Tomasson’s acclaimed 7 for Eight premiered by SF Ballet in 2004. Set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the work for eight dancers was last performed by the Company during its 2008 Repertory Season. Wheeldon’s Ghosts, which premiered during SF Ballet’s 2010 Repertory Season, is set to a commissioned score by C.F. Kip Winger. McGregor’s Chroma is set to the music of The White Stripes, arranged by Joby Talbot and orchestrated by Christopher Austin. The work was created for The Royal Ballet and premiered in 2006. It was McGregor’s first work for the company as resident choreographer. McGregor’s Chroma received a number of awards in 2007, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production, and the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 6

PASCAL MOLAT – Fokine’s Petrouchka

PROGRAM 7 opens Friday, April 8th with the return of Fokine’s Petrouchka, Zanella’s Underskin, and a world premiere by Christopher Wheeldon, his seventh work for SF Ballet. SF Ballet first performed Petrouchka, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky, during the 2010 Repertory Season. Originally performed by the Ballets Russes in 1911, the work depicts a dramatic tale of a Russian puppet with a human soul. This season’s presentation of Petrouchka marks the 100th anniversary of the ballet’s creation. Zanella’s Underskin, set to the music of Arnold Schoenberg, premiered during the Company’s 2010 Repertory Season.
From The Hellman Family in honor of Patricia C. Hellman, also known as “Patrichka,” a former professional ballet dancer and soloist with the London Festival Ballet.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 7

TIIT HELIMETS and YUAN YUAN TAN. The Little Mermaid.

Music by Lera Auerbach, choreography by John Neumeier
After making its triumphant U.S. Premiere and playing to sold-out houses this past season, John Neumeier’s superlative work of dance-theater returns in 2011. Featuring an evocative score by Lera Auerbach, this heart-wrenching story of sacrifice and unrequited love comes to life against dazzling scenic, costume and lighting designs. One of today’s most prolific and moving story ballets, The Little Mermaid awakens your senses and touches your soul.
NOTE: This critically acclaimed production focuses on the deeper, mature themes of the original story and is not recommended for younger children.
Click here to order tickets on-line: PROGRAM 8

During the 2011 Repertory Season, the Company will perform a total of 56 standard subscription performances. Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday evening performances are at 8:00 pm; Wednesday evening performances are at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2:00 pm. The SF Ballet Orchestra will accompany all programs.

YUAN YUAN TAN – as “The Little Mermaid”

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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 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:


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