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Fall Season @ State Theater Oct 16-27


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#16 PeggyR

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

But if the casts are not announced until one week before the actual performance, what do you usually do? Buy tickets to everything and then try to sell the ones for the casts that you do not find interesting?

I'm asking because I really would love to see Yuan Yuan Tan as Cinderella. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra for good seats, but it looks like by the time the casts are disclosed the best seats might be gone already, or the whole run might be sold out.

Dear San-Franciscans, what do you usually do to get around this predicament? Posted Image


Speaking for myself, I'm a subscriber, so I see whoever they cast for my subscription.

If I want (and can afford) to see a program again, they don't usually sell out the regular performances, especially the mixed rep, so it's generally not hard to get a decent ticket after casts are announced, and if worst comes to worst, I go standing room.

Anyway, I try not to get all that hung up on casts. Being open minded has resulted in a lot of surprises, most of them pleasant (e.g., Tan's lovely Tatiana; Tan isn't known as an actress, but I love the ballet and already had the ticket, so I went and -- Tan was unexpectedly wonderful); and sure, sometimes not so pleasant.

I hope you get what you want, but these are all good dancers and it's unlikely you'll be disappointed, whoever you end up seeing. Enjoy!

#17 Waelsung

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:54 PM

Speaking for myself, I'm a subscriber, so I see whoever they cast for my subscription.

If I want (and can afford) to see a program again, they don't usually sell out the regular performances, especially the mixed rep, so it's generally not hard to get a decent ticket after casts are announced, and if worst comes to worst, I go standing room.

Anyway, I try not to get all that hung up on casts. Being open minded has resulted in a lot of surprises, most of them pleasant (e.g., Tan's lovely Tatiana; Tan isn't known as an actress, but I love the ballet and already had the ticket, so I went and -- Tan was unexpectedly wonderful); and sure, sometimes not so pleasant.

I hope you get what you want, but these are all good dancers and it's unlikely you'll be disappointed, whoever you end up seeing. Enjoy!


Thank you!!!

Best regards from the other coast! :)

#18 ksk04

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 05:02 PM

When they toured SoCal two-ish years ago we got casts 1 week in advance, I believe. You just have to resign yourself to the luck of the draw; luckily SFBs principals (especially the women) rarely disappoint (though I am not a fan of Zahorian or as big a fan of Kotchekova as many on here are).

#19 Quiggin

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:07 PM

The company members are all pretty good – the London tour reviews gave the dancers top marks, but were less excited by the choreography. For me From Foreign Lands and Borderlands would be the most distinguished pieces. But it's hard to say what will travel well – will what's charming in San Francisco be so in New York? Luke Ingham and Carlos Quenedit are interesting new male principals, Sofiane Sylve is always a treat to watch, Taras Domitro can be absolutely brilliant, hammy or classically lyrical, and Maria Kochetkova gives well-finished and consistent performances.

Cinderella is great fun to watch, a combination of burlesque and low comedy (many jokes about smells) combined with the lovely dancing and some of the figures of Wheeldon's Carousel – but I'd read the reviews carefully if the ticket prices don't fit into your normal ballet budget.

Someone mentioned/speculated that the ballet company is following the Cinderella sets on their way back to Amsterdam – and that may help pay for the traveling costs of the tour.

#20 pherank

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 07:38 PM

But if the casts are not announced until one week before the actual performance, what do you usually do? Buy tickets to everything and then try to sell the ones for the casts that you do not find interesting?

I'm asking because I really would love to see Yuan Yuan Tan as Cinderella. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra for good seats, but it looks like by the time the casts are disclosed the best seats might be gone already, or the whole run might be sold out.

Dear San-Franciscans, what do you usually do to get around this predicament? Posted Image


In this situation, there's no way to know how things will play out until a couple of weeks beforehand (usually). The good news is, and I mean this honestly, there are no 'duds' amongst the principals of SF Ballet, which is one of the reasons they are so highly regarded these days. I'm personally very picky about such things and I can say that even the dancers that I'm less inclined towards put everything they have into their performances, and there aren't that many companies you can say that about. This season, I was less excited about seeing, say, Vanessa Zahorian in certain roles (I wanted to see more of Tan, Van Patten and Kochetkova this year), but Zahorian had the lead in Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour the first night I went, and she was EXCEPTIONAL. Her interpretation was extraordinarily beautiful that night, and the next night when Feijoo danced the same part I just wasn't moved in the same way. So you never know. I've got to like a company that can surprise me repeatedly in this way.

I can also say that many of the principals have the rare ability to excel in both traditional ballet and in modern McGregor-type dances.

Honestly, I wish I could be there myself to see SF Ballet dance all those programs. ;)

#21 pherank

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:57 AM

Thanks for this info Mussel. Looking forward to this engagement.

Thank you!!!
Best regards from the other coast! Posted Image


I don't know if you find Alastair Macaulay helpful, or a hindrance, but he's reviewed Wheeldon's Cinderella. The good news? The SF Ballet fairs well. The bad news? He doesn't like Wheeldon's approach. However, it does seem as though the majority of reviews have been quite positive. The stage production itself sounds like it is fascinating to the eye.

Although all three women make the most of their roles, Mr. Wheeldon’s most is too little for dancers of this caliber or for the other two Cinderellas I saw, Maria Kochetkova (Sunday) and Yuan Yuan Tan (Saturday evening). The repeated joke about one stepsister’s halitosis is lousy, anyway; when applied to an important ballerina, it’s doubly irksome.


http://www.nytimes.c...cinderella.html

#22 Waelsung

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:16 PM

I don't know if you find Alastair Macaulay helpful, or a hindrance, but he's reviewed Wheeldon's Cinderella. The good news? The SF Ballet fairs well. The bad news? He doesn't like Wheeldon's approach. However, it does seem as though the majority of reviews have been quite positive. The stage production itself sounds like it is fascinating to the eye.

Although all three women make the most of their roles, Mr. Wheeldon’s most is too little for dancers of this caliber or for the other two Cinderellas I saw, Maria Kochetkova (Sunday) and Yuan Yuan Tan (Saturday evening). The repeated joke about one stepsister’s halitosis is lousy, anyway; when applied to an important ballerina, it’s doubly irksome.


http://www.nytimes.c...cinderella.html


Thank you so much, pherank! I rarely find myself in agreement with Mr. New York Times Most Important Ballet Critic, but it was an interesting read.

#23 pherank

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:35 PM

Thank you so much, pherank! I rarely find myself in agreement with Mr. New York Times Most Important Ballet Critic, but it was an interesting read.


LOL. I think that's why they keep him around - he rubs people the wrong way oftentimes, and it makes people talk. No publicity is bad publicity in the news business. ;)
The Links thread from Monday has 4 reviews of Cinderella as well:
http://balletalert.i...6-monday-may-6/

#24 Quiggin

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:44 PM

I must say I concur – along with a couple of friends who never really agree on anything – with Macaulay's assessment of the ballet. It seem more like a contemporary musical, very clever and with lots of great sets, but lacking some of important conventions and those beautiful moments of utter transparency that ballets usually have. And there were indeed some awkward and murky passages, one in which Cinderella is tossed a bit like a manikan by the Prince (even Maria Kochetkova who can usually pull anything off seemed a bit disconcerted).

A big problem I felt – which didn't seem to be the case with the video of the Dutch production – is that the Prokofiev score was played so politely and respectfully that it didn't sound like Prokofiev. There seemed to be none of the agressively melodic, sarcastic, and self-ironic characteristics you usually hear in his music (even in the Richter solo piano version) that might which may have helped bring more depth to the narrative and to the choreography.

Rita Felciano has also written a good account of Cinderella at DanceviewTimes, nicely titled "The Two Sisters," that's as critical as Macaulay's:

While the choreography for the lovers flowed nicely, very little of it sent your teeth on edge for its imaginative power and the interpretive challenges it offered to the leads. This is supposed to be Cinderella's story not the stepsisters...

I, for one, would have gladly opted for less cake but more bread.


http://www.danceview...wo-sisters.html

#25 pherank

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:45 PM

A big problem I felt – which didn't seem to be the case with the video of the Dutch production – is that the Prokofiev score was played so politely and respectfully that it didn't sound like Prokofiev. There seemed to be none of the agressively melodic, sarcastic, and self-ironic characteristics you usually hear in his music (even in the Richter solo piano version) that might which may have helped bring more depth to the narrative and to the choreography.


An important point that Quiggin raises, is that Cinderella has been seen before - in the Netherlands, and I don't recall that it was described in the same terms. So something has changed. If one of the issues is the manner in which the music is conducted, then there's only a short term problem. It sounds like Wheeldon has taken the "agressively melodic, sarcastic, and self-ironic characteristics you usually hear in [Prokofiev's] music" and moved them to the dancer roles (and the conductor has obligingly dimmed those elements in the music way down).

The Felciano review makes some suggestions for editing the piece, and, if Wheeldon listens to his inner Balanchine, he'll continue to sculpt this ballet into something that is effective from beginning to end. But I'm not sure that Wheeldon is the type to continue to tinker with his works. Can anyone confirm that?

#26 Waelsung

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:02 PM

A big problem I felt – which didn't seem to be the case with the video of the Dutch production – is that the Prokofiev score was played so politely and respectfully that it didn't sound like Prokofiev.


I assume it's not a commercial video, as I could not find any trace of it on Amazon.com

Was it a private one?

#27 Quiggin

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:13 PM

In a Meet the Artist interview Ruben Martin Cintas said that he thought that in rehearsal Wheeldon lavished his attention on the parts of the sisters and stepmother and less so with the main couple – less than he does in his shorter ballets. There was just too much to do and his heart was in the comedy.

The ballet is fun to watch for the most part, except for too many variations of seasons and too much for the Prince and Cinderella that didn't develop. There seemed to be a section of Carousel dropped in – where a whirling group of dancers at the ball keep Cinderella and the Prince apart – but less effective than in the Rogers & Hammerstein. Maybe it's should be a 45 minute or hour/15 ballet?

Regarding the choreography, here's a snippet of Laura Capelle's review of the Dutch production in the Financial Times:

As with Wheeldon’s recent Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the Royal Ballet, Cinderella’s merits are often more theatrical than choreographic. Meaning and character are layered on top of the steps rather than carved within them, and the ball scene and grand pas de deux for Cinderella and her Prince fail to get under Prokofiev’s skin



http://www.ft.com/in...l#axzz2SjzOo3wK

#28 Quiggin

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:22 PM

I assume it's not a commercial video, as I could not find any trace of it on Amazon.com

Was it a private one?


It seemed to be on You Tube for maybe a week in December, I thought I would be able to study it carefully but then it was gone. As a production it seemed a bit more focused and finished and maybe "untranslated". The Prince was Matthew Golding and I think Anna Tsygankova played Cinderella.

#29 Waelsung

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:25 PM


I assume it's not a commercial video, as I could not find any trace of it on Amazon.com

Was it a private one?


It seemed to be on You Tube for maybe a week in December, I thought I would be able to study it carefully but then it was gone. As a production it seemed a bit more focused and finished and maybe "untranslated". The Prince was Matthew Golding and I think Anna Tsygankova played Cinderella.


I see, thanks! Maybe they are planning to release it commercially, that is why it's been removed.

#30 pherank

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:10 PM


Regarding the choreography, here's a snippet of Laura Capelle's review of the Dutch production in the Financial Times:

As with Wheeldon’s recent Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the Royal Ballet, Cinderella’s merits are often more theatrical than choreographic. Meaning and character are layered on top of the steps rather than carved within them, and the ball scene and grand pas de deux for Cinderella and her Prince fail to get under Prokofiev’s skin

http://www.ft.com/in...l#axzz2SjzOo3wK




Hmmm. Well that certainly was a positive review. Obviously some people react well to Wheeldon's approach, and others are disappointed. I do get the feeling that the ballet is a 'spectacle', so I'm sorry I wasn't able to go this year. But there's always next, since it's on the SF Ballet 2014 schedule now too.

One nice thing for the audience is that Cinderella apparently requires a large number of principal dancers to take part (rather than the usual organization of 2 leads, soloist, and corps).

Here's the only bit of video I've stumbled onto regarding Cinderella in performance:


I was just thinking that it's a shame NYC won't be seeing Neumeier's The Little Mermaid as well - both Yuan Yuan Tan and Sarah Van Patten are wonderful as the Mermaid, and Davit Karapetyan is so great as the Sea Witch.


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