San Francisco Ballet Announces 2014 Repertory Season
Highlights Include an All-New, Full-Evening Work By Alexei Ratmansky, the Encore Presentation of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, Plus Three World Premieres
SAN FRANCISCO,—San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in America, has announced the repertory and performance schedule for its 81st Repertory Season. SF Ballet’s 2014 Repertory Season will include the presentation of two full-length works, including the revival of SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle and the encore presentation of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. In addition, SF Ballet will present the West Coast premiere of a full-evening trilogy by acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. The season also includes world premieres by Val Caniparoli, Liam Scarlett, and Tomasson, and features works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Serge Lifar, Natalia Makarova, Wayne McGregor, Mark Morris, Yuri Possokhov, and Jerome Robbins.
The 2014 Repertory Season will begin with Nutcracker, which runs December 11 through 29, 2013 for a total of 31 performances. Following the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, the season will consist of eight programs performed in alternating repertory, from January 25 to May 11.
“This season, I’m delighted to present the West Coast premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s full-evening work, which we’re proud to be co-producing with American Ballet Theatre,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “In addition, this season offers much to look forward to, with a diverse repertory that includes three world premieres; the return of Christopher’s popular Cinderella; and a breadth of work from beautiful classics like “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère, Act II, to the revolutionary choreography of Wayne McGregor.”
2014 Repertory Season Overview
Program 1 opens Saturday, January 25 with the revival of Helgi Tomasson’s renowned full-length production of Giselle. First premiered in 1999, the two-act production features scenic, costume, and lighting design by Mikael Melbye and has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “Tomasson’s finest achievement.” SF Ballet last performed the work on its 2011 Repertory Season. Set to the music of Adolphe Adam, the work was first performed by the Paris Opéra Ballet, in 1841, with original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and later, Marius Petipa.
Program 2 opens Tuesday, February 18 with the reprisal of Ratmansky’s From Foreign Lands, set to the music of Moritz Moszkowski. The work, which premiered on SF Ballet’s 2013 Repertory Season and offers charming dances from a myriad of countries, was performed to acclaim. Of the work, The New York Times noted, “…[the ballet] has original details that show why Mr. Ratmansky is in such high demand.” The program also features a world premiere work by choreographer and SF Ballet Principal Character Dancer Val Caniparoli, who has created works for over 40 dance companies, with 18 of his ballets in the Company’s repertory. In addition, SF Ballet will reprise McGregor’s Borderlands, which premiered on the 2013 Repertory Season. Set to the music of Joel Cadbury and Paul Stoney, the work was inspired by German-American artist Josef Albers and represents McGregor’s first commission for SF Ballet.
Program 3 opens Thursday, February 20 with Wheeldon’s Ghosts, set to an original score by C.F. Kip Winger, which premiered on the Company’s 2010 Repertory Season and was last performed in London on tour in 2012. Of the work for 17 dancers, The London Independent noted, “Ghosts is original and astonishingly atmospheric…utterly gripping.” The program also includes the classic “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère, Act II, choreographed by dance legend Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa. The plotless excerpt offers a stunning showcase for a large corps, a principal couple, and three soloists. The original full-length version of the ballet was first performed in Russia in 1877, but it was only later in the 1960’s that “The Kingdom of the Shades” was seen by audiences in the West. Makarova first staged “The Kingdom of the Shades” for ABT in 1974 and the Company first performed her choreography of the famous scene in 2000. The program also includes Possokhov’s dramatic Firebird, which premiered on SF Ballet’s 2007 Repertory Season (in 2003, Possokhov staged a completely different production of Firebird for Oregon Ballet Theatre.) The original Firebird, set to a score by Igor Stravinsky and choreographed by Michel Fokine, was first performed in 1910 by the Ballets Russes. Of Possokhov’s production, which includes scenic design by Yuri Zhukov and costume design by Sandra Woodall, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that “…the ensemble moments in this “Firebird” are filled with an exuberance to match Stravinsky’s majestic score.”
Program 4 opens Tuesday, March 11 with the return of Wheeldon’s critically acclaimed Cinderella, a co-production with Dutch National Ballet. The work was first performed in December 2012 by the Dutch company, with SF Ballet presenting the U.S. premiere of the work this May as part of its 2013 Repertory Season. Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, The Financial Times proclaimed, “[This production is]…the most dramatically convincing Cinderella in ballet, a triumph of storytelling and stage design firmly in touch with the 21st century.” Set to a score by Sergei Prokofiev and inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, the work features a libretto by Craig Lucas, a renowned Tony Award nominated playwright, director, and screenwriter, known for, among other works, Prelude to a Kiss and Light in the Piazza. Cinderella also features scenic and costume design by Julian Crouch, renowned for his work with the Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway; lighting design by Natasha Katz; tree and carriage sequence direction/design by Obie Award winner Basil Twist; and projection design by Daniel Brodie.
Program 5 opens Wednesday, April 2 with the West Coast premiere of a full-evening trilogy by ABT Artist-in-Residence Alexei Ratmansky, set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. The work also features scenic design by George Tsypin, costume design by Keso Dekker, and lighting design by Jennifer Tipton. This marks the first co-production between the two companies since Lar Lubovitch’s Othello in 1997. When the first act of this ballet, Shostakovich #9, premiered in New York in October 2012 it received critical and audience acclaim, with The New York Times declaring, “To watch it the first time is to keep finding surprises…its unfolding structure and its moods are dynamic, as if the terrain about it were continually shifting, like a kaleidoscope.” Ratmansky has created two original works for SF Ballet, with a total of three of his ballets currently in the Company’s repertory.
Program 6 opens Friday, April 4 with the 20th anniversary presentation of Morris’ Maelstrom, first premiered by San Francisco Ballet in 1994, and set to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. The work for 14 dancers was the first ballet choreographed for the Company by Morris and was last performed by SF Ballet in 2005. With over 40 of his ballets in SF Ballet’s repertory, Tomasson will create an all-new work for the 2014 Repertory Season. Possokhov’s The Rite of Spring, which had its world premiere on the 2013 Repertory Season, features scenic design by Benjamin Pierce, costume design by Sandra Woodall, and lighting design by Christopher Dennis. Tomasson commissioned Possokhov’s version in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the original work’s premiere in Paris. The Rite of Spring’s avant-garde choreography depicting the pagan ritual of human sacrifice, coupled with Stravinsky’s now-infamous score of the same name, caused a near-riot in the audience upon its premiere in 1913.
Program 7 opens Tuesday, April 29 with Tomasson’s The Fifth Season, which had its premiere by SF Ballet on the 2006 Repertory Season. Set to the music of Karl Jenkins, the work for 14 dancers was last performed on the 2012 Repertory Season. SF Ballet will also present a world premiere by Liam Scarlett, who was appointed artist-in-residence at The Royal Ballet at the young age of 26. A former dancer with that company, Scarlett has choreographed works in England and for Miami City Ballet. This will be his first work for SF Ballet. Performed by SF Ballet for the first time on the 2013 Repertory Season, Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, set to the music of Édouard Lalo, was premiered by Paris Opéra Ballet in 1943. The plotless ballet is a series of divertissements in the neoclassical style, showcases ten principals, seven soloists, and twenty corps de ballet dancers.
Program 8 opens Thursday, May 1 with Balanchine’s Agon, created in 1957, is set to the music of Stravinsky and was last performed in its entirety by SF Ballet on tour in 2002. The work, a post-modern masterpiece for 12 dancers, was first performed by the Company in 1976. Last performed by SF Ballet in 1986, Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet was created in 1966 for New York City Ballet. The work is set to Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 by Johannes Brahms (later orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg in 1937). The program concludes with Robbins’ Glass Pieces, set to a score by Philip Glass. Capturing the pulsing energy of city life, the work was first performed by New York City Ballet in 1983. It entered SF Ballet’s repertory in 1998 and was last performed by the Company on its 2012 Repertory Season.
During the 2014 Repertory Season, the Company will perform a total of 61 performances. Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday evening performances are at 8pm; Wednesday evening performances are at 7:30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2pm. The SF Ballet Orchestra will accompany all programs.
With Special Thanks
New Productions Fund Lead Sponsors Mrs. Jeannik Méquet Littlefield, and Mr. and Mrs. John S. Osterweis; Major Sponsors Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, and Larry and Joyce Stupski; Sponsors Richard C. Barker, Suzy Kellems Dominik, Stephanie Barlage Ejabat, the Gaia Fund, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and Cecilia and Jim Herbert; and Full Length Ballets Sponsor Koret Foundation.
Connecting with SF Ballet’s Online Communities
SF Ballet has a rich digital presence on a number of online/social media platforms, offering numerous ways for dance enthusiasts around the world to connect with the artists of the Company. SF Ballet’s online communities include the Company’s Facebook Page (facebook.com/sfballet), videos on YouTube (youtube.com/sfballet), behind-the-scenes content on Twitter (@sfballet) and Instagram (instagram.com/sfballet), and photography on Pinterest (pinterest.com/sfballet) and Tumblr (sfballet.tumblr.com.)
“Meet the Artist” Interviews and “Pointes of View” Lecture Series
SF Ballet will continue to present the entertaining and informative “Meet the Artist” series, held in conjunction with the opening night of each program, as well as all Friday evening and Sunday matinee performances. The 30-minute interviews with Company artists, management, and guests of SF Ballet begin one hour prior to performance, and all ticket holders are invited to attend free of charge. In addition, SF Ballet will present eight “Pointes of View” lectures during the season, on select Wednesday evenings. Each lecture will focus on the program to be performed that evening and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit sfballet.org.
Three, five, and eight program subscription packages to SF Ballet’s 2014 Repertory Season range in price from $61–1,384 and are on sale to the public now. For information, please call Ticket Services at 415.865.200o or visit sfballet.org. Phone hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.
Individual tickets for SF Ballet’s 2014 Repertory Season, starting at $20, will be available for advance sale online at sfballet.org beginning November 20, 2013 or by calling 415.865.2000, beginning January 6, 2014.
About San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included engagements in London and Washington, D.C., as well as first time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho.
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