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Opening Night Gala 2005


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#1 BalletNut

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 02:45 PM

Last night (January 26), San Francisco Ballet kicked off its 2005 season with its annual opening night gala performance. Here is a link to an article in the Chronicle which covers more of the "gala" aspect than the "performance" aspect. :P

If anybody went to Opening Night, we'd love to hear all about it!

#2 BalletNut

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 12:53 PM

From today's Links, here are two reviews of the performance itself:

SF Chronicle, by Rachel Howard
Inside Bay Area, by Stephanie von Buchau

#3 BalletNut

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 09:16 AM

Another review, this one from the Contra Costa TImes, written by Mary Ellen Hunt.

Edited to add: Interestingly enough, the von Buchau review says that the Polonaise danced by SF Ballet School students is from Eugene Onegin, and the Hunt review says it's from Sleeping Beauty.

I'm sure someone who went to the gala can clear this up for me. (Hint, hint.)

#4 Paul Parish

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 06:29 PM

I'm writing a piece abou hte gala for Dance viewtimes, balletnut, so haven't said anything about it yet -- but Mme Jakobsen's Polonaise is set to the great one from the last act of Onegin, I'm sure (though I haven't yet double-checked it yet, and i might be wrong) I remmebr when the curtain was still soewn and the orchestra began with all those flourishes, the hair stood up on the back of my neckand I thought 'o boy, it's a polonaise!!' (I never read the program till after hte show, so it can take me by surprise; more fun that way.)

I recgnized that I'd heard that music at SF opera just a month ago, when they did Onegin -- it was really moving, very well-sung BUTit was lamentable in its dance-scenes. I haven't read what Stephaine said about hte gala yet (I don't read other critics till I've written my thing, normally), but I DID read her excellent review of the opera, agreed with her on every point. SFO staged an awful ball-scene to that music. Basically, they had a huge self-lighting chandelier handle all the movement-interest in that act, and the opera chorus struck a lot of poses very awkwardly.

Mme Jakobsen's polonaise is kind of like a grand defile -- like EVERYBODY comes onto the stage, starting with the tiniest children, doing the polonaise step, in single file, another group in couples, groups and groups and groups -- glamorous teen-agers in pointe shoes doing piques in passe or other semi-fancy steps, handsome soldierly boys looking gallant, and ending up with the smallest people you've ever seen crossing hte stage in front of everybody else, a total throng, and then they do a big porte de bras and hand it all to yu like a gift. It's a really sweet grand gesture, and everybody loved it. It was great having Mme jakobson live and work among us; she did a lot for this school and company, we're all sorry she left, it was good to remember her. It's cool that Tomasson wants to keep alive the connection of SFB to the great Russians who've worked here: he kept Anatole Vilzak's trepak in his new Nutcracker, and this polonaise made a kind of consecration of the house to emphasize the importance of training and tradition as he starts his 20th season.

I'll say, the performance was just part of the evening, like at a royal wedding -- first \comes the performance then the ball -- the audience filed out of hte operahouse, walked across the street to City Hall, and ate and drank and danced hemselves. I didn't get home till quarter to three.

#5 BalletNut

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 08:32 PM

Thanks for writing about the gala, Paul. Your description of the children's polonaise reminds me of what I've read about POB's defile. I look forward to reading your review in DanceView Times. :)

By the way, did you happen to see Paris Hilton? :)

#6 BalletNut

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:25 PM

Yet another review, in today's Links forum, by Ann Murphy in the DanceView Times.


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