mussel

Fall Season @ State Theater Oct 16-27

141 posts in this topic

I haven't been to San Francisco in about twelve years; now I want to return next year to see more of this terrific company!

It's always nice to have visitors join us at the War Memorial, Golden Idol. The SFB 2014 season will be, unsuprisingly, a kind of mix of things seen before, with a few premiere ballets. Program 5 will be the West Coast premiere of Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy, and I know that anyone seeing ABT will likely have already viewed this ballet. Otherwise, the programs are probably a mix of things you've already seen with maybe one new item. Tomasson likes to do a lot of mixed-rep programs - and I personally love that. I feel like I've had a full evening when I get to see 3 different ballets. But a single story ballet for me, while engrossing enough, still involves only one theme or approach, so I always walk out of the opera house feeling like I could use more. But that's just me.

I know I'm going to see Program 8 (Balanchine/Robbins) myself. NYC is super-saturated with Balanchine and Robbins, but on the West Coast, we get to see only a couple of decent productions involving that repertory each year . It's been a slow, painful process for me to get to see most of Mr. B's masterworks live. Otherwise, I make do with videos.

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Thank you, Pherank, for the comments on SF's upcoming season. Though it is probably unrealistic to think about it, I'm sorely tempted to visit in time for programs 2 & 3, as I'd love to see how SF does the Shades (Bayadere being my favorite ballet, as you might guess from my handle here). We shall see...

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Thank you, Pherank, for the comments on SF's upcoming season. Though it is probably unrealistic to think about it, I'm sorely tempted to visit in time for programs 2 & 3, as I'd love to see how SF does the Shades (Bayadere being my favorite ballet, as you might guess from my handle here). We shall see...

I plan on seeing 'The Shades' as well. ;)

I was planning on seeing Kingdom of the Shades regardless of whatever else was on the program, just because it's one of my favorite ballet moments (and the music is as good as Minkus gets). I do wonder who gets to lead the Corps in the long serpentine dance: Danilova mentioned that the first shade down the ramp did 31 arabesques before the last shade arrives. Who will be given the 'honor'?

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Today's tweet from Masha Kochetkova:

"So tired. Boom."

Two nights of Cinderella and then you rest...

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I know I'm going to see Program 8 (Balanchine/Robbins) myself. NYC is super-saturated with Balanchine and Robbins, but on the West Coast, we get to see only a couple of decent productions involving that repertory each year . It's been a slow, painful process for me to get to see most of Mr. B's masterworks live. Otherwise, I make do with videos.

Here are some West Coast Balanchine performances that I've been able to find, to sate pherank's appetite:

October: Rubies at Sacramento Ballet

December: Nutcracker at Oregon Ballet Theatre

April: Midsummer Night's Dream at PNB

May: Apollo at Sacramento Ballet

May: Serenade at Los Angeles Ballet (4 theatres)

May: Episodes / Walspurgisnacht/Western Symphony at Ballet Arizona

And not quite west coast, more inland empire:

November: Who Cares? at Ballet West

November: Serenade at Ballet Idaho

April: Div.#15 at Ballet West

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Here are some West Coast Balanchine performances that I've been able to find, to sate pherank's appetite:

October: Rubies at Sacramento Ballet

December: Nutcracker at Oregon Ballet Theatre

April: Midsummer Night's Dream at PNB

May: Apollo at Sacramento Ballet

May: Serenade at Los Angeles Ballet (4 theatres)

May: Episodes / Walspurgisnacht/Western Symphony at Ballet Arizona

And not quite west coast, more inland empire:

November: Who Cares? at Ballet West

November: Serenade at Ballet Idaho

April: Div.#15 at Ballet West

Point taken, Jayne. ;)

California Ballet in San Diego is supposedly going to perform Serenade next year as well. I'll admit I tend to favor SFB and PNB due to my fear that I might see Balanchine performed badly - and that just makes me gnash my teeth. But a number of the companies you list are quite decent.

Episodes/Walspurgisnacht/Western Symphony at Ballet Arizona is definitely worth thinking about, but I would have to come up with the extra money first...

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yes, if I was in your dance shoes I would try to make the All-Balanchine night in Arizona. It's the most Balanchine for your buck, and Ballet Arizona has a good reputation for Balanchine works. Plus the date allowed plenty of time to save up $$$.

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I saw the opening night of Cinderella. The production is gorgeous. It looks like no expense was spared. The costumes were sumptuous and the set design was magnificent. (The only issue I had with the sets was the dangling chairs above the stage in final act. Maria Kochtekova was a perfect choice for the role because of her size and youthful appearance. Her execution of the choreography was first rate. Boada didn't make much of an impression on me as the Prince. I would have preferred someone taller, with longer lines (i.e., Domitro, who was dancing the secondary role). The guys with the gold masks were creepy. I very much enjoyed the choreography at the end of act I for the seasons. The ballroom scene of Act II was beautifully choreographed. While the Ashton version still has the best choreography, I think this version is very good. The ballroom scene, and the patterns in which Wheeldon deployed the corps, was inventive. The pdd for Cinderrella and the Prince was beautifully done, full of romantic lifts and difficult footwork. The performance was heavily sold. The fourth ring was open, but I couldn't see how many rows of that ring had been sold. The other rings were full. This production is a hit.

ABT's McKenzie was there, and Wheeldon was in the house too. Also saw Max Beletserkovsky with his adorable daughter.

This version is WORLDS better than the last 2 Cinderella productions we have seen at ABT (Stevenson, Kudelka), not only in terms of the production look and invention, but also in terms of the choreography.

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The only version of "Cinderella" that I have seen is the Nureyev version, and I was hesitating to go see SFB's version, because I found Nureyev's version so difficult to sit through. I also did not see any $25 seats available in the 4th ring yet for Sat. night. Is Wheeldon's version much different? I would want to see Yuan Yuan Tan if I went. I was also thinking of seeing "Sleeping Beauty" at City Center, although I have not enjoyed Matthew Bourne's choreography in the past. Does anyone recommend it?

[Admin note: to discuss the Boure "Sleeping Beauty," please go to this thread:

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/36918-matthew-bournes-sleeping-beauty-fall-engagement-at-city-center/?p=328704

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I saw the opening night of Cinderella. The production is gorgeous. It looks like no expense was spared. The costumes were sumptuous and the set design was magnificent. .......

No 'El Cheapo' here!!!

Speaking of El Cheapo...I read elsewhere that Ratmansky's Cinderella was restaged for the Australian Ballet a couple of months ago with all-new, far more luxurious (than Mariinsky) sets/costumes. Smart Aussies refused to take the flimsy scaffolding from St Petersburg!

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I was also thinking of seeing "Sleeping Beauty" at City Center, although I have not enjoyed Matthew Bourne's choreography in the past. Does anyone recommend it?

I saw it last night and, even though I have always been curious about what Bourne does, I was mostly disappointed. If you never liked Bourne's ballets, I'd say, skip this one.

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I went looking about for reviews of Cinderella, but haven't seen anything yet. So thanks to Abatt for giving us a description.

I did run into Robert Gottlieb's review of one of the mixed-rep programs, and he pretty much dismisses all the choreography as "less than convincing". He mostly praises the dancers, and their ability to work together as a company, but then he slipped in this line, "Kochetkova, from ABT, is a Natalia Osipova wanna-be, her allegro attack more irritating than exciting." And that, folks, is Maria in a nutshell. I had no idea she actually came from ABT. ;) I must have missed out on her "real" history.

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Kochetkova is merely a guest at ABT, and has given only two performances with ABT. She was trained at the Bolshoi, and danced at Royal Ballet and ENB before ending up at SFB in approximately 2007.

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RE: Gottlieb - I can't decide if it's worth educating the man on SFB, or if it's all just water under the bridge...

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San Francisco is not in NY, you know. And, of course, Kochetkova, who started her career at the Royal Ballet years before Osipova, could not possibly have her own approach and just wants to be like Osipova.

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Gottlieb's take was more acidic but he did follow the other critics in New York and London saying that the dancers are more interesting than the choregraphy. (Three reviewers coincidently – at the New Yorker, at Dance Tabs, and at the Times – referred to SFB's "deep bench" of talent).

San Francisco isn't New York, as Helene says, and the problem is that it's a small city, isolated from all the dance activity of the East Coast. SFB doesn't have any other rival companies, like ABT v NYCB, to develop against, nor uptown/downtown cross fertilization. In the general the city is too uncritically supportive of the arts, and good criticism is the only way an artist gets better.

Gottlieb also said something about the men I hadn't anyone articulate before: "The boys in particular, even when they look unalike, dance alike, almost as if there were an institutional resistance to anyone standing out." At SFB there seems to be a great emphasis on a certain kind of perfect finish, soft landings, etc but at the expense of interesting rough edges and odd brilliance. Their Balanchine – Divertimento #15 but not last year's fine Symphony in Three Movements with Mazzo & Tan, Quenedit & Van Patten – is often too polite.

In a way the "community" ballets "From Foreign Lands" and maybe something like "Dances from a Gathering" (which hasn't been done for a while) and "Borderlands" show off the company best.

Incidentally it looks as though Alastair Macaulay has not reviewed any of the performances, but Gia Kourlas's and Brian Seibert's and Roslyn Sulcas's reviews have been nice to read. (Sulcas did a great analysis last week of why the Royal Ballet has so much difficulty bringing off a great Don Q: Royal Ballet's Quixote Quandry.)

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San Francisco isn't New York, as Helene says, and the problem is that it's a small city, isolated from all the dance activity of the East Coast. SFB doesn't have any other rival companies, like ABT v NYCB, to develop against, nor uptown/downtown cross fertilization. In the general the city is too uncritically supportive of the arts, and good criticism is the only way an artist gets better.

I know what you're saying here regarding SF's relative artistic isolation (but that isn't the fault of the city of San Francisco), but I would hesitate to say that if the arts supporters were more critical, then we would have better art. One thing doesn't equal the other. The bigger companies aren't bigger, or better, because they gets lots of critical feedback - and oh boy, they do.

Gottlieb also said something about the men I hadn't anyone articulate before: "The boys in particular, even when they look unalike, dance alike, almost as if there were an institutional resistance to anyone standing out." At SFB there seems to be a great emphasis on a certain kind of perfect finish, soft landings, etc but at the expense of interesting rough edges and odd brilliance. Their Balanchine – Divertimento #15 but not last year's fine Symphony in Three Movements with Mazzo & Tan, Quenedit & Van Patten – is often too polite.

I generally like how SFB dances Balanchine (but agree that Divertimento is being done too politely) - I dare say he wouldn't weep in his grave. But the company is not a "Balanchine company" in the sense that NYCB still may be. I personally wouldn't mind the company being an even bigger propronent of Balanchine and Blanchine 'techniques', but I don't want to see new work disappear just to wedge in more Balanchine. That wouldn't be the right thing to do, by me. The season (and company) would have to grow to accommodate more.

In a way the "community" ballets "From Foreign Lands" and maybe something like "Dances from a Gathering" (which hasn't been done for a while) and "Borderlands" show off the company best.

Yes, I generally agree, but, my favorite moments at SFB don't happen to have been in those ballets - hah! My favorite moments actually tend to be the bits of "interesting rough edges and odd brilliance" that you mention. I've seen such things from various people - and not just the ones you might expect to see something from.

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I saw the opening night of Cinderella. The production is gorgeous. It looks like no expense was spared. The costumes were sumptuous and the set design was magnificent. .......

No 'El Cheapo' here!!!

Speaking of El Cheapo...I read elsewhere that Ratmansky's Cinderella was restaged for the Australian Ballet a couple of months ago with all-new, far more luxurious (than Mariinsky) sets/costumes. Smart Aussies refused to take the flimsy scaffolding from St Petersburg!

restaged and largely rechoreographed too, I understand.

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... I've seen such things from various people - and not just the ones you might expect to see something from.

Good points all. I misread Helene’s comment as my starting point, and don’t want to sidetrack this more just commenting on what I feel the critics were picking up about SFBallet’s choreographical choices and about San Francisco’s inwardness and general conservatism in the arts – “the San Francisco Paradox,” as architects here call it (when compared to our political progressivism).

Anyway I eagerly look forward to the arrival of Mathilde Froustey (in Giselle with Domitro?)* and Simone Messmer next year. And to the Ratmansky Shostakovich trilogy, and – way way at the distant end of the season – Brahms-Schoenberg and Agon. And maybe a peek at Cinderella again, with an odd Thursday night cast.

*Though it may be only for a year's sabbatical (via Judith Mackrell):

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... I've seen such things from various people - and not just the ones you might expect to see something from.

Good points all. I misread Helene’s comment as my starting point, and don’t want to sidetrack this more just commenting on what I feel the critics were picking up about SFBallet’s choreographical choices and about San Francisco’s inwardness and general conservatism in the arts – “the San Francisco Paradox,” as architects here call it (when compared to our political progressivism).

Anyway I eagerly look forward to the arrival of Mathilde Froustey (in Giselle with Domitro?)* and Simone Messmer next year. And to the Ratmansky Shostakovich trilogy, and – way way at the distant end of the season – Brahms-Schoenberg and Agon. And maybe a peek at Cinderella again, with an odd Thursday night cast.

*Though it may be only for a year's sabbatical (via Judith Mackrell):

Hi Quiggin,

It sounds like the San Jose Ballet backers would very much like their company to be the Bay Area's ABT to SFB's NYCB - so there will be competition to come, I'm sure. From Southern Cal? Not so much.

Froustey wisely asked for sabbatical from POB, in case things didn't work out in SF. And there aren't many organizations that allow for such a thing, so she had gained at least that much seniority. I hope it does work out for everyone, in San Francisco. ;)

I'm looking forward to the 2014 season as well - it's starting to feel like more than just another season (in a good way). There's been a "sea change" in the last few years, and the company seems to have finally become truly important, and not just to people in the Bay Area, but to fans around the world. That is pretty interesting to witness.

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I saw last night's Cinderella, and I preferred the lyricism and fluidity of Sarah Van Patten as compared to the opening night perforamce of Kochetkova. Also, I enjoyed Tilt Helimets as the Prince because of his height and long lines. Hansuke Yamamoto was excellent as Benjamin.

I just finished reading the interview w. Froustey. Didn't realize that she had previously approached ABT for a position. McKenzie put a lot of his eggs in the Osipova basket these last few years, but that turned out to be a really bad decison after she accepted the RB's offer. As Homer Simpson woudl say, DOH!

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San Francisco’s inwardness and general conservatism in the arts – “the San Francisco Paradox,” as architects here call it (when compared to our political progressivism).

A quick off%20topic.gif digression here; I know nothing about the arts in San Fransisco, but I note that San Francisco Opera did premiere Mark Adomo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

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I saw last night's Cinderella, and I preferred the lyricism and fluidity of Sarah Van Patten as compared to the opening night perforamce of Kochetkova. Also, I enjoyed Tilt Helimets as the Prince because of his height and long lines. Hansuke Yamamoto was excellent as Benjamin.

Abatt, I know you don't live in the Bay Area, but if you ever have a chance to see Van Patten's Giselle, don't miss it, especially if Helimets is her Albrecht. Their second act is simply breathtaking.

And once again, I'm so glad Hansuke Yamamoto is being recognized for his consistently fine work.

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I saw last night's Cinderella, and I preferred the lyricism and fluidity of Sarah Van Patten as compared to the opening night perforamce of Kochetkova. Also, I enjoyed Tilt Helimets as the Prince because of his height and long lines. Hansuke Yamamoto was excellent as Benjamin.

Abatt, I know you don't live in the Bay Area, but if you ever have a chance to see Van Patten's Giselle, don't miss it, especially if Helimets is her Albrecht. Their second act is simply breathtaking.

And once again, I'm so glad Hansuke Yamamoto is being recognized for his consistently fine work.

And she is breathtaking in the Jewels Diamond pas de deux and as Juliet. I, too, am delighted to read all the comments about Hansuke Yamamoto, who deserves the recognition and a promotion.

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Not to digress too much, but I thought this photo of 'Cinderella with the golden slipper' was funny (I believe in the Wheeldon version they are gold):

83b0050a3c5a11e3846522000a1f9d5a_8.jpg

Maria Kochetkova in her warm-up booties at State Theatre.

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