Jump to content
PeggyR

SFB 2019 Program 3

Recommended Posts

Programs 2 and 3 run concurrently.

I'm interested to see Jennifer Stahl as Zeena Frome, since I haven't really seen much of her since her promotion, and nothing that was an acting role.  The part was originated by Sarah Van Patten, who's a superb dramatic actress.

The Etudes cast looks exciting with four virtuoso dancers.  

Program 3: In Space & Time

Thursday, February 14, 2019 – 7:30 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Dores Andre
Vitor Luiz
Sofiane Sylve
Luke Ingham
Yuan Yuan Tan
Tiit Helimets

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Zeena Frome: Jennifer Stahl
Mattie Silver: Mathilde Froustey

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sasha De Sola
Tour: Angelo Greco
Mazurka: Joseph Walsh
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, PeggyR said:

Programs 2 and 3 run concurrently.

I'm interested to see Jennifer Stahl as Zeena Frome, since I haven't really seen much of her since her promotion, and nothing that was an acting role.  The part was originated by Sarah Van Patten, who's a superb dramatic actress.

I don't envy her the task of competing with SVP's acting abilities, but if Stahl succeeds, she will look like a hero. Toi toi toi.

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, pherank said:

I don't envy her the task of competing with SVP's acting abilities, but if Stahl succeeds, she will look like a hero. Toi toi toi.

Although I didn't see her performance, word was that she was excellent as the Chosen One in Rite of Spring a few seasons ago, so the omen is promising that she'll do well with this.  It's just that, after seeing Van Patten in just about any dramatic role (or comedy, for that matter:  SVP is very funny), it can be hard to imagine anyone else.  Plus, Stahl has to hold her own with Birkkjaer and Froustey, both excellent actors.

Share this post


Link to post

Jen Stahl was an outstanding Carabosse (or however she is named in Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty) last year.   I loved Van Patten in Snowblind and was happy to know that Jen Stahl was getting the role.  

Share this post


Link to post

I saw such similarities in Jen Stahl's and SVP's Mercedes in Don Q, I was happy to see her cast here. My hunch is that she will seamlessly transition into the kind of role SVP has performed and excelled in. (Lucky for us!) I found her stunning as the Chosen One in Rite, so I think she has the acting chops to produce a worthy Zeena.

Dang, I'd love to see The Fifth Season with this cast, and I likely won't be attending this production, boo hoo. : (

Share this post


Link to post

More casting is up and it shows Madison Keesler dancing Zeena, Dores Andre as Mattie, and Luke Ingham as Ethan in Ethan Frome.   Sofiane Sylve is dancing Etudes with Aaron Robison, Luke Ingham, and Carlo di Lanno. 

Share this post


Link to post

Casting for Saturday 2/16 performances of Program 3-In Space & Time

https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 2:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Elizabeth Powell
Aaron Robison
Mathilde Froustey
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Yuan Yuan Tan
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Luke Ingham
Zeena Frome: Madison Keesler
Mattie Silver: Dores Andre

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sasha De Sola
Tour: Angelo Greco
Mazurka: Joseph Walsh
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

 

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 8:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Wona Park
Angelo Greco
Mathilde Froustey
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Yuan Yuan Tan
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Zeena Frome: Jennifer Stahl
Mattie Silver: Mathilde Froustey

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sofiane Sylve
Tour: Aaron Robison
Mazurka: Luke Ingham
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

As a reminder:  Casting subject to change

Lots of exciting debuts, although I'm not sure why it is no longer designated on the website as it has been in the past.  

Share this post


Link to post

Good for Madison Keesler! Toi toi toi.
I think Etudes will be good fun with that cast.

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

Updated casting for Saturday 2/16 performances (https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting)

The Fifth Season - Kimberly Marie Olivier and John-Paul Simeons replace Mathilde Froustey and Daniel Deivison Olivera in the 2:00 PM performance (Mathilde and Daniel are still in the 8:00 PM performance).

Snowblind - casting is flipped.  Ulrik Birkkjaer/Jennifer Stahl/Mathilde Froustey will now dance in afternoon and Luke Ingham/Madison Keesler/Dores Andre will dance in the evening.

 

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 2:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Ming Luke

Elizabeth Powell
Aaron Robison
Kimberly Marie Olivier
John-Paul Simoens
Yuan Yuan Tan
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Ming Luke
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Zeena Frome: Jennifer Stahl
Mattie Silver: Mathilde Froustey

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sasha De Sola
Tour: Angelo Greco
Mazurka: Joseph Walsh
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

 

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 8:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Wona Park
Angelo Greco
Mathilde Froustey
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Yuan Yuan Tan
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Luke Ingham
Zeena Frome: Madison Keesler
Mattie Silver: Dores Andre

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sofiane Sylve
Tour: Aaron Robison
Mazurka: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

Share this post


Link to post

Casting for second week of Program 3 (https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – 7:30 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Wona Park
Angelo Greco
Mathilde Froustey
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Yuan Yuan Tan
Tiit Helimets

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Luke Ingham
Zeena Frome: Madison Keesler
Mattie Silver: Dores Andre

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sofiane Sylve
Tour: Aaron Robison
Mazurka: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Pas de Deux Man: Tiit Helimets

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – 7:30 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Elizabeth Powell
Aaron Robison
Kimberly Marie Olivier
John-Paul Simoens
WanTing Zhao
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Natasha Feygina

Ethan Frome: Luke Ingham
Zeena Frome: Madison Keesler
Mattie Silver: Dores Andre

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Mathilde Froustey
Tour: Vitor Luiz
Mazurka: Wei Wang
Pas de Deux Man: Benjamin Freemantle

 

Friday, February 22, 2019 – 8:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Marin West

Dores Andre
Vitor Luiz
Sofiane Sylve
Luke Ingham
Yuan Yuan Tan
Tiit Helimets

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Zeena Frome: Jennifer Stahl
Mattie Silver: Mathilde Froustey

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Sasha De Sola
Tour: Angelo Greco
Mazurka: Joseph Walsh
Pas de Deux Man: Carlo Di Lanno

 

Sunday, February 24, 2019 – 2:00 pm

The Fifth Season
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Music: Karl Jenkins
Conductor: Martin West

Dores Andre
Vitor Luiz
Kamryn Baldwin
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
WanTing Zhao
Carlo Di Lanno

Snowblind
Choreography: Cathy Marston
Music: Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Arvo Pärt, Philip Sweeney
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Mungunchimeg Buriad

Ethan Frome: Ulrik Birkkjaer
Zeena Frome: Jennifer Stahl
Mattie Silver: Mathilde Froustey

Etudes
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager after Carl Czerny
Conductor: Martin West

Mathilde Froustey
Tour: Vitor Luiz
Mazurka: Luke Ingham
Pas de Deux Man: Benjamin Freemantle

 

Share this post


Link to post

Sometimes it’s good to see a performance that doesn’t knock your socks off, but just gives you a nice, comfortable feeling of satisfaction.

 Saturday 2/16 matinee 

 The Fifth Season (Tomasson) Tan/Powell/Olivier, Robison/Di Lanno/Simoens

The Fifth Season is probably the only Tomasson ballet that I actually look forward to seeing:  good music, attractive costumes, and some interesting choreography.  

 As sf_herminator noted above, Froustey/Deivison-Oliveira were replaced by corps dancers Kimberly Marie Olivier and John-Paul Simoens, both of whom held their own very well.  Olivier seemed a little nervous at first, but settled down and was particularly effective in the flirty Tango.  Lately, I’ve been viewing Simoens as a future soloist, and this performance reinforced that opinion.

 Elizabeth Powell continues to impress with her long, beautiful lines and solid technique.  I’d like to see her in something dramatic; if she can act, I’d say she’s definitely on principal track in the next few years.

 Snowblind (Marston) Birkkjaer/Stahl/Froustey

Just as compelling as it was last year, with vivid performances from all.  Jennifer Stahl had the unenviable task of taking over a dramatic role from Sarah Van Patten.  Stahl was excellent, although nobody can match Van Patten’s pale blue, slightly manic gaze.

 Etudes (Lander) De Sola/Greco/Walsh/DiLanno

I’ve always had fond memories of seeing this back in the 60’s with, if memory serves, Toni Lander dancing the lead.  However, in all honesty, this time it wore out its welcome a little sooner than I expected, although overall, the company danced it well.  I know it’s meant to mimic the progression of a ballet class, but really, how many battement tendus does anybody really need to see.  So, enjoyable with slight reservations.  

The four soloists were excellent:  Walsh completely back on form, De Sola appropriately glittering, Greco grinning hugely, Di Lanno scowling like he wanted to strangle somebody.

 Too bad about the music.🤯

Share this post


Link to post

Attended the 2/16 8PM show. Was initially disappointed to see that Snowblind evening cast was flipped with the matinee cast, but it would have made a rather grueling day for Froustey.

The Fifth Season (Park/Greco, Froustey/Deivison-Oliveira, Tan/Di Lanno)

My second time seeing this, and still not entirely loving the music and choreography. It is...pretty, but bland. As usual, Tan does not disappoint. Park impressed me, and seems to dance well with Greco. The Tango was well done, and I really liked Deivison-Oliveira in this. I am not sure if seeing it more would grow on me...

Snowblind (Ingham/Keesler/Andre)

I have not seen it with the original cast, so I have nothing to compare to. I like how the corps is used in this piece. The main characters unfortunately did not stir any emotions in me, and I got a little confused to what they were doing at the end amidst the silence. 

Etudes (Sylve/Birkkjaer/Robison)

To be honest, Sylve is the main reason for choosing this evening. I feel like I need to see more of her (and Tan) before they hang up their pointe shoes. The moment the curtain rises, my heart skipped a beat! Her impeccable technique and ability to switch between styles was impressive. Both men did an amazing job, and I couldn't take my eyes off Robison. I am so thankful that he's back!

All in all, the night ended well (and late).

Share this post


Link to post

Program 3 (2/19 and 2/20)

The Fifth Season

2/19: A great lineup of Froustey, Tan and Park. Froustey was especially 'on fire' this night and danced with great enthusiasm and power. She danced BIG. I loved her attack and finish throughout the piece. Her dancing in the Tango Section was exuberant, outsized and articulate - that's not easy to achieve. I didn't know if I would see her dance this way again after her various injuries, but at least for this night, everything came together. It was interesting to see Wona Park dance beside Tan (center) and Froustey (left) at stage front, and for the most part, hold up her end. However, she has a ways to go to match the older dancer's level of amplitude and finish. And build-wise, she doesn't have their elongated limbs and ultra flexible physiques, so the side-by-side comparison doesn't do her justice. But, in solo and duet dancing (with Angelo Greco, here) she was very pleasing. Wona Park does look like a soloist. I didn't get any sense that she was nervous or overwhelmed, in fact everyone looked so well rehearsed that one of my main memories of Programs 2 and 3 will be how good the company looked in The Fifth Season. Tomasson must be very pleased.

2/20: Lizzie Powell danced the same role as Park - with Aaron Robison partnering - and she looked great. Another new soloist who fortunately has risen to the occasion. Kimberly Marie Olivier danced big in the Tango section - this was good casting and coaching.

I find Tomasson's The Fifth Season to be a very good ballet. It's structurally sound - the sections feel balanced, the choreography appropriate and honest. I can appreciate Tomasson's good taste in an age when so much is in poor taste, or simply selfish. He can be proud of this ballet. However, a truly great ballet requires something more. This choreography lacks a truly unique approach, or particular steps and movements of unique charm and character. But most of us will never create a true masterpiece - he's in good company.


Snowblind (same cast 2/19 and 2/20: Luke Ingham, Madison Keesler and Dores Andre)

For me, repeated viewings of Snowblind will not make it any less confusing. Mixing together a few narrative techniques with a lot of pure dance just doesn't work that well, unless the choreographer and/or stager finds clever visual/aural cues to notify the audience about what's taking place. This is a story without any context, and the characters are given no back story on stage. Sure, the program notes tell us that Marston is referring to Wharton's novella Ethan Frome, but the ballet makes no attempt to retell that story, or create an analogous one - it's more of a visual expression of feelings and sensations. Maybe. The ending is oddly drawn out, and for me, nonsensical: Zeena presumably finds the bodies of Ethan and Mattie, side-by-side in the snow. She appears to revive or reanimate Ethan, who then only shows interest in Mattie lying dead beside him (shocking Zeena). Ethan tries to 'reanimate' the dead Mattie, and with Zeena struggling to raise the two lovers from the ground, everyone eventually rises up and dances - bound together in life and death? Are we now in a purely psychological world? The only possible clue being that the orchestra has stopped playing but the dancers continue to move in relation to one another. What just happened? Why did Marston make a point in interviews of telling us that this is an American story when there is absolutely nothing in the ballet identifying this as a specifically American cultural story? There's nothing stopping this ballet from being a Japanese story, for example - aside from the lack of futon bed. But that's an easy prop change.

Kudos go to Madison Keesler for her performance in the SVP role (Zeena Frome). Her acting/mime skills were up to the task. I was very happy for her. But it was a bit startling to then see Keesler right back in the Corps for Etudes…but she did have a smile on her face throughout. The dancers are the real reason to see this work, everyone appearing to be fully committed to the task. This is one ballet that won't work as pure dance - the cast needs to have real acting abilities to sell it.


Etudes

2/19: Sofiane Sylve, Ulrik Birkkjaer, Aaron Robison and Tit Helimets

Sofiane Sylve was the reason I was seeing Program 3 and she did not disappoint this evening (not that I can think of a time when she has danced poorly at the War Memorial). Strong, calm and precise. Sylve gets all the details right. I still love how she uses her arms, hands and shoulders. The only less than perfect moments were two spins that were 'assisted' by Robison and/or Birkkjaer so there may have been a timing issue with the partners. Something that occurred to me during Etudes: many dancers look best when they a have a particular partner to relate to onstage, and some are always better doing their solo tricks. Sofiane interacts will all three male soloists in Etudes, but she seems to require three to balance with her one. There isn't anyone else equal to her on the stage when she dances - that's the kind of energy she radiates, take it or leave it. And Sylve wore a genuine-looking smile throughout - it was no game face.

Ulrik Birkkjaer and Aaron Robison looked good together facing off in jumps and spins - as they both have large builds and a similar power movement quality. Tiit Helimets had the more 'partnering' role, which was good because he had already danced in The Fifth Season. Everyone looked well-rehearsed (I think it was Claudia Bauer who wrote that things were somewhat shaky at the 2019 Gala). No sign of troubles this night.

2/20: Mathilde Froustey, Vitor Luiz, Wei Wang, Ben Freemantle

Mathilde Froustey debuted. Her approach was somewhat lighter and airier than Sylve's, and ultra feminine - the princess to Sylve's queen. I've seen her dance enough that I know when she's facing nerves, and probably physical exhaustion (the legs always go first). She danced very well overall with only one obvious awkward step sequence that I noticed, but she'll need time to grow into this role and dance it with real confidence. Then we'll see real bravura.

Vitor Luiz and Wei Wang were very high energy in their solo turns (Vitor Luiz must have fast-twitch muscles like a sprinter), but what stood out for me was Ben Freemantle's partnering - very smooth & elegant, and nothing out-of-place. Freemantle's assists were always just enough, nothing overworked or fussy. I wonder if he's been extensively coached by Tomasson or Tiit Helimets, because next to Freemantle, everyone else appeared to be working at it.


My main memories of Programs 2 and 3 will be how good the dancers looked in The Fifth Season and Etudes, and how committed they were to the ballets. "This is Passion" indeed.

 

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for your review, pherank.  I was curious to hear how Froustey managed the technical difficulties of the Etudes. I wouldn’t mind seeing all three casts (Sylve, De Sola and Froustey) but it would mean way too many Snowblind(s) for me. 

Edited by Dreamer

Share this post


Link to post

It's hard when the ballet you'd like to avoid is in the middle.

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, Dreamer said:

Thanks for your review, pherank.  I was curious to hear how Froustey managed the technical difficulties of the Etudes. I wouldn’t mind seeing all three casts (Sylve, De Sola and Froustey) but it would mean way too many Snowblind(s) for me. 

Her POB training gave her the necessary skills, but debuts are often a little nervous and shaky looking. I think she did well overall, but she had a game face on and I prefer it when she is looking naturally joyful. I heard good things about a later Froustey/Etudes performance, so I'm sure she will relax into the role. Etudes is an exhausting ballet for the leads, and it demands pure classical technical abilities - there's no no way to hide any issues. That's why it helps to have a ringer like Sylve - her classical ballet dancing is always so weirdly unaffected by all the issues of the mere mortals.  😉

13 hours ago, Helene said:

It's hard when the ballet you'd like to avoid is in the middle.

Time for a dinner/snack break! At least at the WMOH one can go down to the bottom level and purchase some food and drink and sit out the middle ballet.
I don't want to give the impression that Snowblind shouldn't be seen, I just don't care enough for all the angsty throes of anguish/sadness/disbelief that this type of ballet presents to see it repeatedly.


EDIT: Something that hangs over these programs, that is worth mentioning - a number of the dancers have been doing "double duty" (dancing twice in an evening) and it's more than a little worrying since a number of SFB dancers have chronic issues (I won't name names) that can easily be brought back. Too many rehearsals and performances and something bad is going to happen. With SVP, Chung, Scheller and Strongin all out for various reasons, it's been tough on the remaining female principals/soloists. And yet, certain dancers have been underused, so I'm wondering if they are either nursing their own minor injuries, or they are simply being saved for Sleeping Beauty. I guess we will find out soon...

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

As a delayed comment, I saw performances on February 14 and 15, including the premiere (excluding  the Gala) of Etudes, and Sasha De Sola had a personal triumph. Her dancing was pure, perfect classicism and looked effortness; she was all radiant romanticism in the "sylph" pas de deux ; she sparkled with joy throughout, and looked lovingly at her partners.  She was a prima ballerina at its finest, without hauteur.  I watched her with wonder at her growth as a performer over the years.  Angelo Greco was also splendid his in bravura role, giving his all as he unfailing does, and looked adorably happy to be on stage for his audience.  Joe Walsh started off slightly tentative as registered on his face, but quickly was in great form. 

On Feb. 15: As for Appassionata, I am always delighted to see Ulrik Birkkjaer is on stage, and thought he brought out the best in Dores Andre, who did not have her "hard" face on for this ballet. She has limited facial expression, but is clean technically in classical and contemporary works. Ulrik's interplay with her made the second session pas de deux meaningful.  Lizzy Powell was beautiful; she is blossoming this season in all her new solo work.  

For me, watching the Peck work a second time was a chore, despite my admiration for the dancers.  The pas de deux with Isabella de Vivo contained classical steps, executed with clean classical technique, but in tennis shoes. It was if Peck figured the only way to make this work stand out from the other new works last season was to put everyone in tennis shoes.     

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...