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SFB 2009 Program 4

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Casting is starting to appear for SFB Program 4.

Here's opening night (Feijoo and Sylve in 'Jardin aux lilas'!). Check the link above for additional casts:

Program 4 Opening Night

Thursday, March 12, 2009, 8pm


Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

Conductor: Martin West

Piano: Roy Bogas

Vanessa Zahorian, Pascal Molat, Joan Boada

Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan


SF Ballet Premiere


Choreographer: Antony Tudor

Conductor: David LaMarche

Violin: Roy Malan

Caroline: Lorena Feijoo*

Lover: Ruben Martin*

Woman: Sofiane Sylve*

Pierre-François Vilanoba*



Choreographer: Jerome Robbins

Conductor: Martin West

Piano: Michael McGraw

Ballerina: Sarah Van Patten*

Husband: Pascal Molat*

Wife: Erin McNulty*

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Saturday, March 14, matinee and evening performances

Prettily forgettable, Tomasson’s On a Theme of Paganini depends on a good cast. In the afternoon, Maria Kochetkova’s lacelike delicacy raised the whole ballet to more watchable heights than it probably deserved. In the evening, Frances Chung and Yuan Yuan Tan did the same, along with the increasingly impressive Taras Domitro, who danced at both performances.

The big news was the company premiere of Jardin aux Lilas, Antony Tudor’s masterwork from 1936. Aside from some cheesy-looking costumes (in case we missed the point that An Episode In His Past was a fallen woman, she wore a bright purple dress and a feather sticking out of her hair), the backdrop of an impressionist garden, and the dappled lighting were lovely.

Two very different Carolines danced by two ballerinas who could probably make clipping their toenails into high drama. In the afternoon, Lorena Feijoo gave a finely tuned and beautifully understated demonstration of grief – she can cry with her whole body; a moving performance.

By contrast, Sarah Van Patten’s Caroline seemed younger, scrappier, less resigned to her fate. Like her Odette from a couple of weeks ago, her Caroline fought what was happening – and lost.

Here's a prediction: within ten years, Feijoo’s Caroline goes postal, and Van Patten’s becomes a bolter.

Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, closed the program. Funny concept well served by some very funny dancers. And I have to give a :( to pianist Michael McGraw. First. With the greatest. Dignity. He advances. Slowly. Across. The stage. And takes. His seat. At. The Piano. Then, before embarking upon the Chopin, McGraw proceeded to perform what can only be described as Variations on a Theme by Ed Norton. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about…well…(sigh). A great start to a hilarious ballet.

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(Ruing that I can't be in three places at once...)

I have never seen a version of "The Concert" where the pianist begins to play before the ballet as part of the entrance -- it sounds like a scream!

Sorry for the misunderstanding. That's what I get for making a cultural reference nobody under the age of 60 is going to get! He doesn't actually play; he just prepares to play. And prepares, and prepares. Watch the old Honeymooners episodes when Ed Norton sits down to have a meal: he flicks away non-existent dust, rearranges the silverware, shoots his cuffs, everything but eat, until he drives Ralph crazy. This was very much in the same tradition and very funny. A lot of credit goes to McGraw who, after all, is there to play the Chopin, not to be a comedian. I just assumed that was part of the original choreography; of course, you have to have a musician who can pull it off and McGraw did it beautifully.

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