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SFB Program 4: A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The SFB web page for Program 4 has some nice photos of Pacific Northwest Ballet - hah!
But we're now getting a great teaser banner image to get people in the mood:

Midsummer-HOMEPAGE-HEADER.jpg
 

Here's Sasha De Sola dreaming about the day she will be photographed in costume for the new Midsummer marketing materials:

MND19REH_ET37445_CE1.jpg

 

Related:

UPCOMING EVENTS

3/6: A Midsummer Night's Dream Opening Night Dinner
FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2020
Conservatory of Flowers (naturally), San Francisco
3/7: Ballet Book Club

Explore the adventures and misadventures at the heart of this story ballet and its journey back to the Opera House stage after 35 years.

Ultimate Guide to A Midsummer Night's Dream – Read & Listen
About Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream – Read

Edited by pherank

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Midsummer in San Francisco
Passing the Torch to the Next Generation

"When a ballet hasn’t been danced in 35 years, it means that none of the current dancers have performed it on the Opera House stage. And yet, like so many things in ballet that are passed from generation to generation, it exists in the minds and muscle memory of SF Ballet’s artistic staff in a myriad of different ways."

https://www.sfballet.org/midsummer-in-san-francisco/

Casting alert: the article mentions that Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl is rehearsing the Hippolyta role.

Edited by pherank

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Sasha Mukhamedov said in a pre-performance talk on February 21 that she was cast as Hippolyta and learning Titania (which Yuan Yuan Tan is cast as, as well as Sasha De Sola, as shown in the photo above). She also said that she will be dancing the tall girl in Rubies, which she danced at the Dutch National Ballet, and is learning Diamonds and loves Diamonds. Esteban Hernandez said in a previous pre-performance talk that he is cast as Puck and learning Oberon.

Oberon does not do any partnering but does dance fast and furiously. I'm sure most people here know that Villella was the original Oberon and Arthur Mitchell the original Puck. Titania has a pas de deux with a consort and also with Bottom and does not have a pas de deux with Oberon.  There are a lot of opportunities for the dancers, what with the two sets of lovers and the beautiful divertissement pas de deux in the second act. I am most interested in who will be cast in the  second act pas de deux. 

Do we know for a fact that Angelo is cast as Puck? He could be cast as Oberon.  He danced brilliantly in Etudes on the 21st. 

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On 2/22/2020 at 5:23 AM, Josette said:

Do we know for a fact that Angelo is cast as Puck? He could be cast as Oberon.  He danced brilliantly in Etudes on the 21st. 

I don't - it's only a guess at this point. Does anyone else know?
Thanks for the pre-performance mentions.

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Some good news from Madison Keesler:

"Feeling stronger each day.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I'm sad that I wasn't able to get myself back in time to do any of the shows from Program 2 and 3, but I'm very excited that I will definitely be back onstage for Midsummer Night's Dream!"

https://www.instagram.com/p/B85ge1PD1Ed/

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Opening Night Casting is up!!!  https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

As always, casting is subject to change.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Fri, March 6 at 8:00 pm

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Conductor: Martin West
Chorus: Volti
Singers: Gabrielle Haigh, Alice Del Simone

Puck: Esteban Hernandez*
Oberon: Joseph Walsh*
Titania: Yuan Yuan Tan*

Lead Butterfly:  Wona Park* 
Hippolyta: Jennifer Stahl*
Pas de Deux: Misa Kuranaga, Angelo Greco*

*Denotes role debut in current production
‡Denotes role debut at San Francisco Ballet
†Denotes debut in current production
Edited by sf_herminator

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At this past Sunday's Meet the Artist, Kimberly Marie Olivier said she is learning Hippolyta.  At 5'7", she is considered a "tall" dancer within the SFB and qualified for the role.  I thought that was interesting, at PNB I believe she would be a medium height dancer.  I've only seen the PNB production of Balanchine's Midsummer so I don't know if this is normal, but in this production Hippolyta dances with a huge bow.  She even does a series of fouette turns holding it!

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1 hour ago, seattle_dancer said:

At this past Sunday's Meet the Artist, Kimberly Marie Olivier said she is learning Hippolyta.  At 5'7", she is considered a "tall" dancer within the SFB and qualified for the role.  I thought that was interesting, at PNB I believe she would be a medium height dancer.  I've only seen the PNB production of Balanchine's Midsummer so I don't know if this is normal, but in this production Hippolyta dances with a huge bow.  She even does a series of fouette turns holding it!

The SFB women tend to be pretty small. Presumably the idea is that - in a pinch - any of the men can partner a small woman. Kochetkova (now gone) was the smallest of the bunch, but there's a number of women who are only around 5'3"/5'4". I'm going to guess that Jen Stahl is the tallest of the women, but I haven't seen any actual figures about their heights (occasionally in magazine interviews stats are posted).
I always thought it was funny that Sofiane Sylve was considered to be a tall and "big muscled" woman. I'm 6'0" and Sylve is neither tall, nor "big" in any sense of the word. Dores Andre looks like a child to me.  ;)
 

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Sasha Mukhamedov looks tall, but maybe someone who saw her in The Sandpaper Ballet can let us know.  

Thanks for posting the first night cast. I am attending only one performance, on March 12. 

I wish that they would post Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius.   The lovely and talented Madison Keesler publicly posted on her FB page a clip of Patricia McBride's dancing the solo for Hermia, so perhaps you  can extrapolate some meaning from that. 

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1 hour ago, Josette said:

Sasha Mukhamedov looks tall, but maybe someone who saw her in The Sandpaper Ballet can let us know.  

Thanks for posting the first night cast. I am attending only one performance, on March 12. 

I wish that they would post Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius.   The lovely and talented Madison Keesler publicly posted on her FB page a clip of Patricia McBride's dancing the solo for Hermia, so perhaps you  can extrapolate some meaning from that. 

I can report that Sasha Mukhamedov danced the same parts as Jennifer Stahl in both Sandpaper Ballet and The Big Hunger.  As posted somewhere else, in her MTA interview she stated she will be dancing the tall girl in Rubies which she also did at Dutch National.

I was looking around the site and it was nice to discover that in the Dancers section they now list their rep here at SFB and (if applicable) at other companies.  Here is a link to Ms. Mukhamedov's page:  https://www.sfballet.org/artist/sasha-mukhamedov/

Fingers crossed that updates to casting will include other significant roles such as you list above.

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Casting now up for Saturday performances - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

Ulrik is back!!!  Esteban also dancing Oberon on Saturday night after dancing Puck on Friday night!!

As always, casting is subject to change.

Sat, March 7 at 2:00 pm

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Conductor: Ming Luke
Chorus: Volti
Singers: Gabrielle Haigh, Alice Del Simone

Puck: Lonnie Weeks*
Oberon: Angelo Greco*
Titania: Sarah Van Patten*

Lead Butterfly: Isabella DeVivo*
Hippolyta: WanTing Zhao*
Pas de Deux: Frances Chung*, Ulrik Birkkjaer*

Sat, March 7 at 8:00 pm

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Conductor: Martin West
Chorus: Volti
Singers: Gabrielle Haigh, Alice Del Simone

Puck: Cavan Conley*
Oberon: Esteban Hernandez*
Titania: Sasha De Sola*
Lead Butterfly: Julia Rowe*
Hippolyta: Sasha Mukhamedov*
Pas de Deux: Sofiane Sylve*, Carlo Di Lanno*

*Denotes role debut in current production

‡Denotes role debut at San Francisco Ballet
†Denotes debut in current production

Edited by sf_herminator

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5 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Casting now up for Saturday performances - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

Ulrik is back!!!  Esteban also dancing Oberon on Saturday night after dancing Puck on Friday night!!

 

Glad to hear that Ulrik is taking part - he took his time getting back.  ;)

A "little bird" told me that Hernandez was going to be the hero and perform both roles. That's an interesting call, but I'm sure he's pumped to show what he can do. Toi, toi, toi everyone.

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On 2/26/2020 at 2:18 PM, Josette said:

I wish that they would post Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius.   The lovely and talented Madison Keesler publicly posted on her FB page a clip of Patricia McBride's dancing the solo for Hermia, so perhaps you  can extrapolate some meaning from that. 

I had the good fortune to attend a rehearsal yesterday, a first-cast run-through of Act I. Dores and Benjamin F danced Hermia/Lysander couple and Mathilde and Ulrich danced Helena/Demetrius. So that's the opening night lineup. I've also heard Elizabeth Mateer will be dancing Helena on the Sat 2p performance. I will be attending Sat pm (the 7th?) and next day's matinee. I was grateful to have seen the first cast dance in such a polished run-through since I will have to miss opening night. So many great dancers, so little time!

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Sunday casting now available - plus addition of Lead Butterfly (see above for previous days) - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

Casting subject to change

Sun, March 8 at 2:00 pm

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Conductor: Martin West
Chorus: Volti
Singers: Gabrielle Haigh, Alice Del Simone

Puck: Lucas Erni*
Oberon: Wei Wang*
Titania: Jennifer Stahl*
Lead Butterfly: Jahna Frantziskonis*
Hippolyta: Ami Yuki*
Pas de Deux: Wona Park*, Benjamin Freemantle*

Edited by sf_herminator

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4 hours ago, Terez said:

I had the good fortune to attend a rehearsal yesterday, a first-cast run-through of Act I. Dores and Benjamin F danced Hermia/Lysander couple and Mathilde and Ulrich danced Helena/Demetrius. So that's the opening night lineup. I've also heard Elizabeth Mateer will be dancing Helena on the Sat 2p performance. I will be attending Sat pm (the 7th?) and next day's matinee. I was grateful to have seen the first cast dance in such a polished run-through since I will have to miss opening night. So many great dancers, so little time!

That's great, Terez. I know it's difficult for you to travel to SF. We, of course, await your performance report.  😉
Toi toi toi dancers.

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I’ve got tickets for March 7 at 2 and 8 pm, and March 8 and 15 at 2 pm.  My budget is groaning in agony, but I might try to eke out the Tuesday performance just to see Tan, who should be a glorious Titania.

Glad to see Lucas Erni dancing Puck.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he were in line for promotion to soloist:  his technique looks solid and he has personality to spare.  

Also, very happy to have a chance to see Max Cauthorn with an Oberon.  He always stands out for his clean, beautiful dancing, but he isn’t often cast at my subscription performances.

Edited by PeggyR

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Casting for the entire run is now posted - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

Notable debuts in the last performance on Sunday 3/15 (which I will miss since I have a ticket for the Trocks in Berkeley):  Sasha Mukhamdeov as Titania and Max Cauthorn as Oberon.

Other notable debuts for Hippolyta:  Ami Yuki on Sunday 3/8 and Kimberley Marie Olivier on Wednesday 3/11.

Update 3/2:  Diego Cruz is now listed for Puck on Sunday 3/15

Edited by sf_herminator

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On 2/28/2020 at 6:47 PM, pherank said:

That's great, Terez. I know it's difficult for you to travel to SF. We, of course, await your performance report.  😉
 

It will be much easier to get a post-performance report out this time around; I've written a preview instead of a review, which means all the work ends... around now. {{Happily pushes "publish" on preview at my blog.}} Tossing in a hotel overnight in the city on Sat pm, so I'm all set for a relaxing ballet-centric weekend. What fun!

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I was at tonight's opening (and now only) performance of A Midsummer NIght's Dream.  Why did it take so long to bring it back after 30+ years??  The entire company was wonderful.  In addition to the already posted cast (Yuan Yuan Tan as Titania, Joseph Walsh as Oberon, Esteban Hernandez as Puck, Wona Park as Lead Butterfly, Angelo Grecp/Misa Kuranaga as Act 2 Divertissement), we had Helena-Mathilde Froustey, Hermia-Dores Andre, Lysander-Benjamin Freemantle, Demetrius-Ulrik Birkjaer, Theseus-Luke Ingham, Titania's Cavalier-Tiit Helimets, and Bottom-Alexandre Cagnat.  The entire company was in wonderful form.  Yuan Yuan was a really lovely Titania, Esteban a very spirited Puck.  I have never seen Jennifer Stahl dance with so much verve.  I am just so disappointed that we will not be able to see any more performances now that there is an order to close all performance venues for the next two weeks.  I may most more but I am just gutted right now about the decision to close the venues.  I feel the most badly for the dancers who worked so hard for these performances - and not there won't be any more this season.  I posted pics of the program cover, cast sheet, and the view from my seat on FB which I have made public (just this post) so you should be able to see - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10221456940523087&set=pcb.10221456942923147&type=3&theater.  Here is a link to the War Memorial website with the closure announcement - https://sfwarmemorial.org/notices.  

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

I was at tonight's opening (and now only) performance of A Midsummer NIght's Dream.  Why did it take so long to bring it back after 30+ years??  The entire company was wonderful.  In addition to the already posted cast (Yuan Yuan Tan as Titania, Joseph Walsh as Oberon, Esteban Hernandez as Puck, Wona Park as Lead Butterfly, Angelo Grecp/Misa Kuranaga as Act 2 Divertissement), we had Helena-Mathilde Froustey, Hermia-Dores Andre, Lysander-Benjamin Freemantle, Demetrius-Ulrik Birkjaer, Theseus-Luke Ingham, Titania's Cavalier-Tiit Helimets, and Bottom-Alexandre Cagnat.  The entire company was in wonderful form.  Yuan Yuan was a really lovely Titania, Esteban a very spirited Puck.  I have never seen Jennifer Stahl dance with so much verve.  I am just so disappointed that we will not be able to see any more performances now that there is an order to close all performance venues for the next two weeks.  I may most more but I am just gutted right now about the decision to close the venues.  I feel the most badly for the dancers who worked so hard for these performances - and not there won't be any more this season.  I posted pics of the program cover, cast sheet, and the view from my seat on FB which I have made public (just this post) so you should be able to see - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10221456940523087&set=pcb.10221456942923147&type=3&theater.  Here is a link to the War Memorial website with the closure announcement - https://sfwarmemorial.org/notices.  

 

It's good you were able to see last night's performance; that's really luxury casting.

Edited by PeggyR
Moved some text to correct thread

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Oh, thank you so much, sf_herminator for your report. I so appreciate your comments. I was going this Thursday. What a shame for the dancers not to be able to perform. 

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6 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

 I am just so disappointed that we will not be able to see any more performances now that there is an order to close all performance venues for the next two weeks.  I may most more but I am just gutted right now about the decision to close the venues.  I feel the most badly for the dancers who worked so hard for these performances - and not there won't be any more this season.  I posted pics of the program cover, cast sheet, and the view from my seat on FB which I have made public (just this post) so you should be able to see - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10221456940523087&set=pcb.10221456942923147&type=3&theater.  Here is a link to the War Memorial website with the closure announcement - https://sfwarmemorial.org/notices.  

 

Well, I'm speechless with loss about the venue closure. Speechless. All the company's hard work and costs. (And okay, ME and my special weekend of ballet.)

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Fortunately, Rachel Howard was also there on opening night and was able to review the production for Datebook (link posted in Writings on Ballet). She talks about the opera house closing as well.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

 

Edited by pherank

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