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Nutcracker 2017


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Casting is up for opening night on Wednesday 12/13 (https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting):

NUTCRACKER


Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sasha De Sola
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Joseph Walsh

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This is neither here nor there, but this is also the time of year when some of the dancers perform in far-flung Nutcrackers. Somehow, Dores André has come to be in Shreveport Louisiana, to perform with the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet.

Sasha De Sola commented on Dores' Instagram posting:
"You’re in Shreveport?! Tiit and I danced there a few years ago! Enjoy"

I can't see the connection here, so I'm guessing the director/adminstrator of SMB just has the gumption to invite dancers from far away. (How they know about SFB dancers though, I don't know).

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Here's more casting 

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Lauren Strongin, Wei Wang*
Sugar Plum Fairy: Jahna Frantziskonis
Grand Pas de Deux: Sarah Van Patten, Ulrik Birkkjaer*^

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Dores André, Luke Ingham
Sugar Plum Fairy: Isabella DeVivo
Grand Pas de Deux: Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Isabella DeVivo, Max Cauthorn
Sugar Plum Fairy: Ana Sophia Scheller*^
Grand Pas de Deux: Lauren Strongin, Wei Wang

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: Mathilde Froustey, Hansuke Yamamoto
Sugar Plum Fairy: Maria Kochetkova
Grand Pas de Deux: Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: WanTing Zhao, Mingxuan Wang*
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sarah Van Patten
Grand Pas de Deux: Dores André, Luke Ingham

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Carlo Di Lanno 
Sugar Plum Fairy: Julia Rowe
Grand Pas de Deux: Ana Sophia Scheller*, Angelo Greco

Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Koto Ishihara, Hansuke Yamamoto 
Sugar Plum Fairy: Jennifer Stahl
Grand Pas de Deux: Julia Rowe, Max Cauthorn*

Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Lauren Strongin, Wei Wang 
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sarah Van Patten
Grand Pas de Deux: Mathilde Froustey, Luke Ingham

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A good and crazy mix of principals and soloists - the pain is being spread around.  ;)

Yuan Yuan and Tiit are only being utilized once each during this stretch (which probably makes them happy), but there will be more shows to come...

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Adding to Terez's list:

 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Isabella DeVivo, Max Cauthorn
Sugar Plum Fairy: Wona Park*
Grand Pas de Deux: Ana Sophia Scheller, Angelo Greco

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Sarah Van Patten, Ulrik Birkkjaer*
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sasha De Sola
Grand Pas de Deux: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Norika Matsuyama*, Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Sugar Plum Fairy: Koto Ishihara*
Grand Pas de Deux: Lauren Strongin, Wei Wang


Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Jennifer Stahl, Tiit Helimets
Sugar Plum Fairy: Maria Kochetkova
Grand Pas de Deux: Dores André, Luke Ingham

 

Wona Park and Norika Matsuyama are getting to dance prominent roles.

 

Edited by pherank
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I didn't really notice this at first, but Pascal Molat will be appearing as Drosselmeyer a number of times. So now he may be permanently employed as a Principal Character - in addition to teaching at the school. There's no official word on this yet though...

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Something posted today by Mathilde Froustey:

"This job is hard but man, but I missed it so much. Tonight is my 1st show of the Grand Pas de Deux and i’m seriously freaked out but so happy to be w[here] I belong."

And she got a reply form Aaron Robison (now at ENB). It's nice that he's still paying attention to what happens at SFB.

aaronrobison86  Merde!
lapetitefrench_❤️ I miss you @aaronrobison86 !

Toi, toi, toi Mathilde! And welcome back.

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Side note from Festival Ballet Theatre:

festivalballettheatre - The Nutcracker THIS WEEKEND! You don’t have to travel to San Francisco to see stars from the San Francisco Ballet perform in The Nutcracker because Festival Ballet Theatre is proud to present not one, not two but three guest artists from the company. Vitor Luiz returns to the @theirvinebarclay to dance with Festival Ballet dancer @taraghassemieh15 on December 15 (7pm). He will also perform with fellow SF Ballet dancers on December 16 with Frances Chung @franadian and December 17 with Maria Kochetkova.
 

Fran preparing before the show:

 

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Soloist Wei Wang interviewed on Asian Pacific America talking about Nutcracker along with a brief clip of him in the solo in the Grand PDD:

Facebook link on SFB page:  https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/posts/10155664358091293

NBC Bay Area link:  https://www.nbcbayarea.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Nutcracker-at-San-Francisco-Ballet_Bay-Area-463779783.html

On a side note:  I had the opportunity to see his debut as the Nutcracker Prince last year and see him last night as the King of the Snow.  I remember the first time I saw him in Chinese when he was still an Apprentice and it has been wonderful to see his rise in the company.

 

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Additional casting 12/21-12/24:

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Stuart Chafetz

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Koto Ishihara, Hansuke Yamamoto
Sugar Plum Fairy: Frances Chung
Grand Pas de Deux: Sarah Van Patten, Ulrik Birkkjaer
 

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Pascal Molat
Queen and King of the Snow: Maria Kochetkova, Joseph Walsh
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sasha De Sola
Grand Pas de Deux: Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets
 

Friday, December 22, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Stuart Chafetz

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno
Sugar Plum Fairy: Koto Ishihara*
Grand Pas de Deux: Mathilde Froustey, Luke Ingham
 

Friday, December 22, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Lauren Strongin, Wei Wang
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sarah Van Patten
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Joseph Walsh
 

Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Sarah Van Patten, Ulrik Birkkjaer
Sugar Plum Fairy: Dores André
Grand Pas de Deux: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz
 

Saturday, December 23, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Stuart Chafetz

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Carlo Di Lanno
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sofiane Sylve
Grand Pas de Deux: Ana Sophia Scheller, Angelo Greco
 

Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 11 am

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Stuart Chafetz

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz
Sugar Plum Fairy: Maria Kochetkova
Grand Pas de Deux: Jennifer Stahl*, Tiit Helimets
 

Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 4 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: Mathilde Froustey, Jaime Garcia Castilla
Sugar Plum Fairy: Ana Sophia Scheller
Grand Pas de Deux: Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno

 

Notable debuts:  Koto Ishihara as Sugar Plum Fairy, Jennifer Stahl in Grand PDD

Notable pairing:  Mathilde Froustey & Jaime Garcia Castilla as Queen & King of the Snow on the 4 PM Christmas Eve performance.  I don't think I have ever seen them dance together.

Edited by sf_herminator
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2 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Soloist Wei Wang interviewed on Asian Pacific America talking about Nutcracker along with a brief clip of him in the solo in the Grand PDD:

Facebook link on SFB page:  https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/posts/10155664358091293

NBC Bay Area link:  https://www.nbcbayarea.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Nutcracker-at-San-Francisco-Ballet_Bay-Area-463779783.html

On a side note:  I had the opportunity to see his debut as the Nutcracker Prince last year and see him last night as the King of the Snow.  I remember the first time I saw him in Chinese when he was still an Apprentice and it has been wonderful to see his rise in the company.

Great find, SF_Herminator. Wei Wang continues to develop as a dancer and an artist. I'd like to see Tiit Helimets mentor Wang in partnering and overall strength training - that's the next step.

How did the performance look overall? Any particularly great (or shaky) moments for the soloists/Corps? Have you seen Scheller dance yet? Her pairing with Greco should be exciting.

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On 12/18/2017 at 1:56 PM, pherank said:

How did the performance look overall? Any particularly great (or shaky) moments for the soloists/Corps? Have you seen Scheller dance yet? Her pairing with Greco should be exciting.

I've seen 2.5 performances so far:  I saw Sat evening, Sun evening, and Act 1 only last night.  FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a member of the ballet's volunteer organization.  During the Nutcracker run, I will work in the gift shop for 4 performances, plus the selfie booth at last night's performance (hence only seeing the first act last night and went home after intermission).  Overall the company looks wonderful (not surprisingly).  I did see Scheller and Greco on Saturday night and they were wonderful.  It makes me excited for Sleeping Beauty and to seeing Scheller in other performances this coming season.

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More additional casting for 12/26 & 12/27:

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: Jennifer Stahl, Tiit Helimets
Sugar Plum Fairy: Jahna Frantziskonis
Grand Pas de Deux: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz 
 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Dores André, Luke Ingham
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sofiane Sylve
Grand Pas de Deux: WanTing Zhao, Ulrik Birkkjaer
 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 2 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante
Queen and King of the Snow: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz
Sugar Plum Fairy: Mathilde Froustey
Grand Pas de Deux: Ana Sophia Scheller, Angelo Greco
 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 7 pm

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Rubén Martín Cintas
Queen and King of the Snow: Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno
Sugar Plum Fairy: Dores André
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Joseph Walsh

 

No debuts, but a new pairing: Wan-TIng Zhao & Ulrik Birkkjaer in the Grand PDD on Tue evening.  So sorry I won't get to see it.

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7 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

I've seen 2.5 performances so far:  I saw Sat evening, Sun evening, and Act 1 only last night.  FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a member of the ballet's volunteer organization.  During the Nutcracker run, I will work in the gift shop for 4 performances, plus the selfie booth at last night's performance (hence only seeing the first act last night and went home after intermission).  Overall the company looks wonderful (not surprisingly).  I did see Scheller and Greco on Saturday night and they were wonderful.  It makes me excited for Sleeping Beauty and to seeing Scheller in other performances this coming season.

It was definitely fortuitous having Greco and Scheller hired during the same era. Lucky us.  ;)

I'm definitely interested in seeing how Scheller develops (or doesn't) under new tutelage. I can't help but wonder if she is relieved to be away from the Martins regime (though coincidentally that is all changing now anyway).

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Yay, as the casting list stands now (and we all know how casting changes, particularly later in the run), I will see Ana Sophia Scheller and Angelo Greco on the Wed 2pm matinee. And Froustey as SPF. Looking forward to it!

I saw opening night, but am now scratching my head over how to comment, other than saying "all did well." No real surprises. I'd seen Wan-Ting Zhao in Arabian last year, maybe the past two years, and I found her just glorious. This year, Ludmila B. in the role looked good but not great. I missed, as well, seeing Jennifer Stahl as Snow Queen - I'm seen her in that role 2x and was dazzled both times. Impossible to complain about Masha/Joe in Grand PDD. Was so relieved there were no casting change announcements, right before the program. Remembering my crushing disappointment last year when Davit K was replaced by Carlos Q at the 11th hour. 

Norika Matsuyama danced Spanish - I was very happy to see her looking well. I missed her last season (injury reasons, I assume). 

I'm a little surprised we're not seeing Natasha Sheehan given a chance at one of the lead roles. Wona Park? My goodness. I saw her name on the roster and she danced in the corps, but I hadn't seen a radar on her. Guess I see it now.

I, too, saw Mingxuan Wang performing Nut prince last year, a matinee late in the run, and I was delighted at how he did. Not like I'm expecting any speculation about "Who's Helgi going to promote next?" after last year's veritable blizzard of promotions, but he did deliver a great performance, and it was nice to see him do some good dancing on opening night this year.

Edited by Terez
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2 hours ago, Terez said:

Norika Matsuyama danced Spanish - I was very happy to see her looking well. I missed her last season (injury reasons, I assume). 

I'm a little surprised we're not seeing Natasha Sheehan given a chance at one of the lead roles. Wona Park? My goodness. I saw her name on the roster and she danced in the corps, but I hadn't seen a radar on her. Guess I see it now.

Thanks for the report Terez!
Norika Matsuyama as the Snow Queen is a pretty big deal for her - she did have an injury period that impeded her progress. I can guess that Tomasson wants to ease Sheehan into things - she still has many things to learn about, and this is her first year as a professional dancer. She's gotten a lot of publicity for someone who hasn't even danced a season with a professional company. ;)  [ EDIT: my mistake, this will be her second season with the company ]
If she paces herself, she can hopefully have a long, long career.

When you mentioned Davit being replaced at the last minute, that made me sad - we didn't know it at the time, but he had developed an issue with his back that would rush him into an early retirement.

Edited by pherank
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9 minutes ago, pherank said:

can guess that Tomasson wants to ease Sheehan into things - she still has many things to learn about, and this is her first year as a professional dancer. She's gotten a lot of publicity for someone who hasn't even danced a season with a professional company. ;)
If she paces herself, she can hopefully have a long, long career.

 

I swear that Natasha was part of the corps last year. Wona just joined the corps from the school trainee program, so I, too, am surprised to see her in a "lead" before Natasha.

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13 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

I swear that Natasha was part of the corps last year. Wona just joined the corps from the school trainee program, so I, too, am surprised to see her in a "lead" before Natasha.

 

7 minutes ago, apollosmuse said:

This is Natasha Sheehan's second year in the corps de ballet and Wona Park's first. 

Yes you are both right, my brain is just freezing up. That happens.

Even so, I don't think we're going to see many soloist opportunities for her yet. Demi-soloist roles, yes. Tomasson has a whole bunch of young dancers to give opportunities to this year.

Edited by pherank
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This being National "the relatives are coming tonight for the holiday and there's so much left to do, and what are we going to do about dinner?" Day, I keep dashing to the computer to take my mind off of the horror of it all.
What do people think they want to see Sheehan cast in? As Elizabeth in Frankenstein? The Cage?!!! (That would be a weird breakout role.)

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On 12/22/2017 at 2:22 PM, pherank said:

 

When you mentioned Davit being replaced at the last minute, that made me sad - we didn't know it at the time, but he had developed an issue with his back that would rush him into an early retirement.

Yes, very poignant and sad in retrospect, because I never once got the opportunity to see him dance last season. Wouldn't have dreamed, as the 2014-15 season finished up, that that would be it for seeing my favorite male dancer. Ah well. Life goes on. Joseph Walsh and Angelo Greco both seem to have that crowd-pleasing dance personality/style going on, (in all positive ways). So, that's reassuring.

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6 hours ago, Terez said:

Yes, very poignant and sad in retrospect, because I never once got the opportunity to see him dance last season. Wouldn't have dreamed, as the 2014-15 season finished up, that that would be it for seeing my favorite male dancer. Ah well. Life goes on. Joseph Walsh and Angelo Greco both seem to have that crowd-pleasing dance personality/style going on, (in all positive ways). So, that's reassuring.

Both Walsh and Greco are very positive people. But each personality is unique: there will never be another Davit Karpetyan. [Interesting side note: Vanessa Zahorian's bio for the Pennsylvania Ballet Academy states that  "she was granted as a Balanchine Repetiteur with the George Balanchine Trust in 2012". I did not know that. ]

Feliz Navidad from Dores Andre and Diego Cruz, and his paella:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdGQz5AHTbL/?taken-by=doresandre

And here's Jahna and Natasha lighting up the holidays:

 

Edited by pherank
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