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SFB 2020 - Program 3 DANCE INNOVATIONS


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1 hour ago, seattle_dancer said:

Some other company members looked tired on Sunday compared to Saturday evening and Friday evening.  It must be so difficult for everyone to present alternating programs for two weeks - including stage crew and orchestra.

Yes, it's been a constant gripe of ours that the season, as arranged, is hard on everyone - including the audience. But the essential problem is that the War Memorial Opera House space has to be shared with, naturally, the SF Opera ("the theater hosts more than sixty performances of nine operas annually").
SFB needs a billionaire to step up and fund a dedicated ballet space.  ;)   I guess they'll have to get in line.

The big star for me was the pianist, Yekwon Sunwoo, such a difficult piece by such a young person.

Sunwoo is a past gold medallist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, so that tends to mean, 'monster chops'. He's something like 28 years old, so not actually as young as he looks. It's great that the ballet is able to get someone of this level to play for them.

Now that I have two recent trips I will make my updates on the "Places to Stay" thread.  I had surgery yesterday so have a lot of downtime at home.

Yes, please do! (And get well soon, Seattle_Dancer.) That thread needs a 2020 update. I've noticed myself that The Inn at the Opera has gotten prohibitively expensive of late (taking into account the actual accommodation and level of service). It used to be a great deal for ballet-goers.
Hotel rates would be another one of my gripes about SFB's December to early May season - January to May is a busy time for corporate travelers on the West Coast. It's very hard to get any sort of deal on hotel rooms when businesses are holding conferences in so many of the large hotels. Not that there's a good time for travel to SF. Christmas is now the only time I know of when actual low rates are available, but I have no need to fly to SF at that time.

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9 hours ago, pherank said:

Yes, it's been a constant gripe of ours that the season, as arranged, is hard on everyone - including the audience. But the essential problem is that the War Memorial Opera House space has to be shared with, naturally, the SF Opera ("the theater hosts more than sixty performances of nine operas annually").

I wonder if the opera (artists and audiences) has the same difficulty with such a condensed performance season.  In Seattle, the two companies share the theater (with the usual renters thrown in) and generally they alternate time in the house -- I keep thinking that the two SF companies might benefit from a similar schedule.

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21 minutes ago, sandik said:

I wonder if the opera (artists and audiences) has the same difficulty with such a condensed performance season.  In Seattle, the two companies share the theater (with the usual renters thrown in) and generally they alternate time in the house -- I keep thinking that the two SF companies might benefit from a similar schedule.

I haven't seen anything about what the artists, musicians and staff prefer, but I can guess they want a predictable (and significant!) off-time period so that they can schedule other things - such as guest performances. And actual time with friends and family.  ;)
I don't know if you happened to read this discussion from back in August, but SFB had sent out their yearly survey and it had some interesting new questions...

How appealing would you find each of the following options for structuring the SF Ballet season?

  • A season that is spread out across several months instead of 15 - 16 consecutive weeks
  • Two non-consecutive time periods where the programs are divided equally
  • A season that is spread across the entire calendar year

"As far as I know, those options are not available for the War Memorial Opera House. However, there was another question that asked about one's ability to go to performances that might be located elsewhere (such as the East Bay, South Bay, Marin, etc.)"

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9 hours ago, pherank said:

I haven't seen anything about what the artists, musicians and staff prefer, but I can guess they want a predictable (and significant!) off-time period so that they can schedule other things - such as guest performances. And actual time with friends and family.  😉
I don't know if you happened to read this discussion from back in August, but SFB had sent out their yearly survey and it had some interesting new questions...

How appealing would you find each of the following options for structuring the SF Ballet season?

  • A season that is spread out across several months instead of 15 - 16 consecutive weeks
  • Two non-consecutive time periods where the programs are divided equally
  • A season that is spread across the entire calendar year

"As far as I know, those options are not available for the War Memorial Opera House. However, there was another question that asked about one's ability to go to performances that might be located elsewhere (such as the East Bay, South Bay, Marin, etc.)"

And if SF is anything like the Seattle company, they don't necessarily have a large, permanent group of artists (like a ballet company) that is working through the entire season -- up here, the opera works with a significantly new group for each production.  I wonder, though, about the audience -- as someone points out earlier in this thread, the density of the performance schedule affects the people in the audience as well as the people on stage.

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8 hours ago, sandik said:

And if SF is anything like the Seattle company, they don't necessarily have a large, permanent group of artists (like a ballet company) that is working through the entire season -- up here, the opera works with a significantly new group for each production.  I wonder, though, about the audience -- as someone points out earlier in this thread, the density of the performance schedule affects the people in the audience as well as the people on stage.

It may simply be that the SF Opera won't budge on the issue (and they were first ones in). So SFB has to look about for other options...

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30 minutes ago, Helene said:

The Opera is the biggest cultural kahuna in San Francisco.

Absolutely right, though it's fascinating how quickly the opera industry itself is failing in North America. Is this going to be a race to the bottom? (I hate to see it, but, it's happening many places.)

5 minutes ago, Leah said:

David Gockley wanted the opera and ballet to alternate for the whole season, but Tomasson said no - I think because it would interfere with touring. Gockley said this at a general meeting several years ago.

Well that's just it - touring remains important for ballet companies, and it's a big expense that has to be carefully controlled. Given SFB's survey questions, I think they're having to look for alternatives to the current schedule anyway.

Edited by pherank
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It is the Opera House – War Memorial Opera House – and the ballet was originally called the San Francisco Opera Ballet, so the Opera gets to call the shots.

San Francisco also has its odd seasons and migration patterns that might affect scheduling for both companies. People come up from the inner valley – from Fresno and Modesto – on weekends to escape the heat and San Franciscans go to Sonoma and Napa to escape the summer cold and everyone schedules their opera dates accordingly.

I like having the ballet season solidly pinned down in winter and in a substantial sequence where each program helps to inform the next – what's missing in one is there in the one to come. With City Ballet the audience seems to go to programs based on their loyalty to or curiosity about certain Balanchine and Robbins works, while at San Francisco Ballet people seem to go to follow the dancers (Leigh Witchel once commented here how Helgi Tomasson's ballets were designed primarily to show off the company's dancers). So breaking up the calendar might someway diminish that effect of wanting to see everything one particular dancer is in and also wanting to immerse yourself completely in the thick of ballet season. This in answer to:

10 hours ago, sandik said:

I wonder, though, about the audience -- as someone points out earlier in this thread, the density of the performance schedule affects the people in the audience as well as the people on stage.

Do the companies make money on tours – or is it for a psychological lift and public relations?

Added: posted this before I saw the last two comments. Do remember hearing though the the Ballet was exploring the idea of having a split season a couple of years ago.

 

 

Edited by Quiggin
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34 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

Do the companies make money on tours – or is it for a psychological lift and public relations?

In the present day, very few companies make money off touring. It's all community outreach/public relations, and of course, it is a recruitment tool as well (SFB dancers have stories of seeing SFB tour performances when they were youngsters.) Tours have to be backed by major sponsors.

Very different from when the various Ballet Russes companies crisscrossed North America by train. That was their only means to make money. Times change.

EDIT: finally noticed which thread this is in.  😉
I guess we're way off topic for Program 3 - maybe we can continue in the 2020 Miscellaneous thread?

Edited by pherank
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