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SFB Program 2 2010Casting and Review


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#1 PeggyR

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:00 PM

Casts are starting to show up for Program 2, which includes Christopher Wheeldon's world premiere, 'Ghosts'. And both James Sofranko and Gennadi Nedvigin in Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; that should be an interesting contrast in styles.

Program 2 Opening Night
Tuesday, February 09, 2010, 8pm


OPUS 19/THE DREAMER
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Conductor: Martin West
Violin: Franklyn D’Antonio

Maria Kochetkova*, Taras Domitro*

INTERMISSION

World Premiere
GHOSTS
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Conductor: Martin West

Yuan Yuan Tan*, Damian Smith*
Sofiane Sylve*, Tiit Helimets*, Brett Bauer*

INTERMISSION

COMPANY B
Choreographer: Paul Taylor
Music: Tape

Pennsylvania Polka: Margaret Karl*, Matthew Stewart*
Tico, Tico: Pascal Molat
Oh Johnny, Oh Jonny, Oh!: Brett Bauer
I Can Dream, Can’t I?: Sarah Van Patten
Joseph! Joseph!: Daniel Deivison-Oliveira*
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B): Gennadi Nedvigin
Rum and Coca-Cola: Lorena Feijoo
There Will Never Be Another You: Katita Waldo, Quinn Wharton*


Program 2 Evening
Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 7:30pm


OPUS 19/THE DREAMER
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Conductor: Martin West
Violin: Franklyn D’Antonio

Sarah Van Patten*, Pascal Molat*

INTERMISSION

GHOSTS
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Conductor: Martin West

Maria Kochetkova*, Vitor Luiz*
Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, Brett Bauer

INTERMISSION

COMPANY B
Choreographer: Paul Taylor
Music: Tape

Pennsylvania Polka: Margaret Karl, Matthew Stewart
Tico, Tico: Garen Scribner*
Oh Johnny, Oh Jonny, Oh!: Brett Bauer
I Can Dream, Can’t I?: Elana Altman*
Joseph! Joseph!: Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B): James Sofranko
Rum and Coca-Cola: Lorena Feijoo
There Will Never Be Another You: Katita Waldo, Quinn Wharton

* Denotes premiere in role.

^ Denotes guest artist.

Casting subject to change.

#2 Brioche

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:53 PM

Thanks PeggyR!

I have longed to see again (for years) OPUS 19/THE DREAMER.

Back in the day Joanna Berman was extraordinary as the principal woman. :D

#3 jeff-sh

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:59 AM

I am still deciding if I should fly in from Shanghai for the opening night. On their website, there are only 14 seats left in orchestra. I have never been to Memorial Opera House. Normally do they have last minute return at the theater (like NYCB in New York)? thanks, jeff

#4 PeggyR

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 03:46 AM

Hi jeff-sh: Well, yes they do have returns, but I don't think I'd advise flying all the way from Shanghai on the off-chance :) . Anyway, speaking for myself, the War Memorial Opera House is not very good for dance viewing and I don't like the orchestra at all. The Grand Tier is usually considered to be the best seats, although anything too far to the side will partially cut off the side of the stage (only a bit and not that much happens there, but it drives me nuts anyway). Here's a thought: if you really want orchestra and can't get a seat, think about standing room, which is at the back of the orchestra; if you get there early enough, at least you can get a spot in the center. You have to buy standing room on the day of the performance, so if you're in town anyway, it might be an alternative if you can't get a seat you want.

Since I can't afford to splash out of GT seats, I usually go for Dress Circle (although with the same warning about the sides); reasonably close despite the (too-big-for-dance) size of the house. DEFINITELY stay away from the balcony: if you're going to sit that far away, you might as well stay in Shanghai and use binoculars to watch from there!

Maybe others have opinions about good seats? One way or the other, here's hoping you can make it.

And by the way, here's a little Company B appetizer for everyone:

#5 jeff-sh

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 01:51 AM

thanks for the info. I am a big Balanchine fan. Next week is Chinese New Year holidays. So I can stay on for Program 3 too. Jeff

#6 Brioche

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:03 AM

Great seating/standing advice PeggyR.

For almost my 35+ years of attending the ballet at the SF Opera house I have stood. You can't beat the price. I was crushed when the Dress Circle standing room was elminated in the renovation.

I'm not a fan of Dress Circle. That slant upwards bugs me. So occassionally I sit in Balcony Circle, towards the front if I can. Yes, it's high, but I like it due to no over hang and with opera glasses to enhance the experience.
:)

#7 Globetrotter

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 03:34 PM

I also like to stand. It really is one of the best seats in the house (the video and still photographers are there). The Orchestra is a bit muffled due to the overhang, but acceptable. I also like Orchestra seats. There is more of them than Dress Circle, which always seems sold out. The Opera House has a center aisle (unlike NYCB) so aisle seats have a fantastic view. Being a fairly short person, I always seem to draw the seat behind the woman in the large hat.

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 05:18 PM

I'll be there for Saturday and Sunday matinees this weekend. Hooray for reward points!

#9 Quiggin

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:07 PM

Quick post: Tuesday's program drew me to the Company B which I've always totally ignored whenever it popped up on the program, probably because of my overfamiliarity with the music. This time I could see the narrative and the counterpoint between soloists and rest of the company and I was especially moved by There'll Never Be Another You, done by Katita Waldo and Quinn Wharton. There should be a lot more Taylor done by San Francisco Ballet, he shows off the dancers quite well, and should be so honored while he's still around.

The star of the new Wheeldon Ghosts was a fussy mid-1950's sculpture piece, the sort of thing that David Smith and San Francisco's Richard Serra justly rebelled against. It loomed and threatened and creaked over the dimly lit dancers. Sofiane Sylve was a joy to watch, but I couldn't put the spilled puzzle pieces of the choreography together in any way. There was a bit of Seranade and Russian Seasons and it ended as in Apollo, with the sculpture as the thing everyone has waited for to rescue or to condemn them. Wheeldon brilliantly devours the past but seldom is there a new thing being made, or a center of stablility or home key from which to drift or take liberties. It's all liberties.

#10 PeggyR

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 11:53 AM

I liked Ghosts although I agree it doesn't seem to go any place. Beautiful trip to nowhere though (aided by Mark Zappone's costumes, and Mary Louise Geiger's lighting design) -- some inventive choreography and beautiful images enhanced by very fine dancing. On Saturday afternoon, leggy Lily Rogers debuted as the female in the trio. I tend to like her best in contemporary ballets rather than in classical work, where she can seem bland and a little small scaled; she was a stunner here along with Gaetano Amico and Brett Bauer. Maria Kochetkova and Vitor Luiz danced the central (and amazing) pas de deux. It's odd, but I have no memory of actual ballet steps being performed; rather the whole pdd seemed to consist of various shapes formed by the two dancers, culminating in complex lifts. Even though at the end of the ballet I had a vague feeling of, "Um, is that it?", I hope Ghosts turns up again soon; it would bear rewatching.

Of course, anything would look good after the interminable Op. 19: The Dreamer. Would it never end? Did it ever end? Plus I don't like Prokofiev's weirdo violin concerto (I hear 'philistine' muttered darkly in the background; well, I'm sorry but screechy violin music makes my brain sore). So far as I could see, music and choreography had virtually nothing to do with each other. Am I missing something?

Love the Andrews Sisters and loved Company B (anybody who can sit still through Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy needs a jiver transplant). Standout in a good cast was an utterly adorable Matthew Stewart in Tico Tico -- I'm a sucker for a guy who combs his hair with styyyyyyyle :wink: . Even his curtain call was adorable.

#11 dirac

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 01:58 PM

So far as I could see, music and choreography had virtually nothing to do with each other. Am I missing something?


No.

#12 Globetrotter

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 07:43 PM

So far as I could see, music and choreography had virtually nothing to do with each other. Am I missing something?


No.


Yes. You are.

I really liked Opus 19. Perhaps it was the cast you saw? I thought there was a lot of Dybbuk in it, so the dancers needed to tell a story with the choreography rather than do steps. I would have also said there were quotes of Wheldon (lifts), Elo (port de bras), and Morris (partnering) except Robbins came first by about 40 years.

And I'm amused that anyone can dismiss a Robbins ballet. I always think if I see a Larry Poons painting I don't get, or listen to Karel Husa that I can't hear, or read a Haruki Murakami novel I can't follow, that its me who needs to step up. These guys are good, and Robbins and Prokofiev are more than good.

#13 PeggyR

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:24 PM

Hi Globetrotter -- thank you for taking the time to respond.

Let me apologize if my comments seemed like a wholesale dismissal of an entire body of work by either Robbins or Prokofiev; that certainly wasn't my intention, largely because I haven't come close to seeing/hearing everything either of them choreographed/composed. So, my response to Op. 19 was simply visceral -- I just didn't like the choreography or the music. And I should point out that invoking The Dybbuk isn't likely to change my mind: I saw it a few seasons ago at SFB and thought it was the most awful thing I'd ever seen on a stage. On the other hand, I adore Fancy Free, could watch it 10 times in a row; also liked In the Night -- so I'm not anti-Robbins -- I just didn't like Op. 19 :wink: . And I've always liked, sometimes loved -- e.g., Cinderella, R&J, much of his piano music, many of his symphonies -- Prokofiev's music, so I'm not anti Prokofiev; I just didn't like this particular violin concerto. Sorry; different strokes... :)

#14 Paul Parish

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:28 PM

It's extremely musical choreography. Needs the right dancers, though. Vanessa Zahorian phrases it in an arresting and haunting way. (Kochetkova did not engage me at all, with the same partner and same corps.) I see Dybbuk there, too. It IS a strange work (as is Dybbuk) -- may not appeal to you. But if it does, it's very satisfying.


So far as I could see, music and choreography had virtually nothing to do with each other. Am I missing something?


No.


Yes. You are.

I really liked Opus 19. Perhaps it was the cast you saw? I thought there was a lot of Dybbuk in it, so the dancers needed to tell a story with the choreography rather than do steps. I would have also said there were quotes of Wheldon (lifts), Elo (port de bras), and Morris (partnering) except Robbins came first by about 40 years.

And I'm amused that anyone can dismiss a Robbins ballet. I always think if I see a Larry Poons painting I don't get, or listen to Karel Husa that I can't hear, or read a Haruki Murakami novel I can't follow, that its me who needs to step up. These guys are good, and Robbins and Prokofiev are more than good.



#15 dirac

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 10:40 AM

So far as I could see, music and choreography had virtually nothing to do with each other. Am I missing something?


No.


Yes. You are.

I really liked Opus 19. Perhaps it was the cast you saw? I thought there was a lot of Dybbuk in it, so the dancers needed to tell a story with the choreography rather than do steps. I would have also said there were quotes of Wheldon (lifts), Elo (port de bras), and Morris (partnering) except Robbins came first by about 40 years.

And I'm amused that anyone can dismiss a Robbins ballet. I always think if I see a Larry Poons painting I don't get, or listen to Karel Husa that I can't hear, or read a Haruki Murakami novel I can't follow, that its me who needs to step up. These guys are good, and Robbins and Prokofiev are more than good.


There was lots of The Dybbuk in it - the choreography of Opus 19 is full of Robbins-isms - but I didn't regard that as necessarily a good thing. Both ballets struck me as weak efforts to the point where I'm not sure that anyone is doing Robbins a major favor by reviving them, although I'm glad I saw them. It simply wasn't clear to me what Robbins was doing with his corps and I didn't feel particularly interested in what the dreamer was dreaming. I don't have anything against the Prokofiev concerto although he's not my favorite composer. (Peggy, I'd try listening to it without the ballet. If that doesn't work, give up. :excl:)

I couldn't agree more with your larger point that it is sometimes worth asking yourself, when confronted with a serious work one doesn't initially care for, if it's the piece or if it's you. I didn't feel any need to do that here. I'm not infallible, but neither was Robbins. :)


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