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SFB Program 4: A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The website has been updated with information for ticketholders:  https://www.sfballet.org/a-message-regarding-the-covid-19-virus/

From the announcement:

UPDATE: MARCH 10, 2020

San Francisco Ballet continues to explore recovery response options in light of the mandatory closing of the War Memorial Opera House from March 6 through March 20, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 directive issued by the City of San Francisco. At this time, all other San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School events and activities not taking place at the War Memorial Opera House are scheduled to proceed as planned. Any changes will be posted to our website or sent to you directly by email.

These unprecedented circumstances pose severe financial repercussions for our community and SF Ballet. As a non-profit arts organization, ticket sales only account for 50% of what it takes to support a world-class ballet company.

Our patrons are our livelihood and the primary source of joy for our dancers. We value you immensely and thank you for your continued support.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM TICKET HOLDERS

For those of you who missed your performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we are happy to offer you two options:

  • We hope you will consider donating the cost of your ticket back to the organization which will help support our artists and ongoing operations during this challenging time.
  • You may opt to receive a credit for the face value of your ticket(s). This credit may be used toward any regularly scheduled performance for the remainder of the 2020 Season, or the 2021 Season, through May 9, 2021. Please note this does not include Nutcracker or special event related performances. Please click the button below and complete the form.

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I'm wishing that organizations that find themselves in this position (and there will be more and more of them) can find a way to run some kind of live-stream or other web-based video programming, to keep their connection with their audiences alive during all this trouble.

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I wonder if they aren’t even allowed inside the opera house. They might not have a stage to dance on. I believe though that Berlin will be live-streaming its operas, hopefully others follow suit.

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1 minute ago, Leah said:

I wonder if they aren’t even allowed inside the opera house. They might not have a stage to dance on. I believe though that Berlin will be live-streaming its operas, hopefully others follow suit.

I didn't think about access for the performers -- I don't know what their guidelines are.  (not to mention what they're union contracts do to protect them in cases like these)

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Posted (edited)

I don't know about the access issues to the WMOH. But there is a continued push here in SF for social distancing, both for work (where possible) and canceling social events like public school fundraisers, community meetings, and picnics. Local SFB-goers should prepare for the whole season to possibly be canceled:(

Edited by PeggyTulle
Spelling

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Leah said:

I wonder if they aren’t even allowed inside the opera house. They might not have a stage to dance on. I believe though that Berlin will be live-streaming its operas, hopefully others follow suit.

The original notice contains this statement:

"This cancelation does not affect use of office space, rehearsals or crew calls without public attendance"

So it sounds like rehearsals could continue on the WMOH stage as long as there is no public audience present. And SFB continues to rehearse in their own building. I'm not sure what the musicians are doing right now - sleeping in?

 

Edited by pherank

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In North America, the NBA (National Basketball Association) suspended its season today, and the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal are being cancelled/postponed, SO, things don't look good for the weeks ahead.

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This was the first peep of hopeful news I've heard from, and regarding, the SFB, taken from SF Datebook today. 

"S.F. Ballet is exploring the option, mulling the idea of offering patrons a streamed capture of its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” free of charge.

“While we know nothing can replace the vibrancy of a live performance, our hope is to be able to still share the beauty of this ballet and the extraordinary artistry of our Company dancers and S.F. Ballet Orchestra,” Kelly Tweeddale, executive director of the organization, said in an email to The Chronicle on Wednesday.

https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/music/as-coronavirus-cancellations-ramp-up-organizations-scramble

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32 minutes ago, Terez said:

This was the first peep of hopeful news I've heard from, and regarding, the SFB, taken from SF Datebook today. 

"S.F. Ballet is exploring the option, mulling the idea of offering patrons a streamed capture of its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” free of charge.

“While we know nothing can replace the vibrancy of a live performance, our hope is to be able to still share the beauty of this ballet and the extraordinary artistry of our Company dancers and S.F. Ballet Orchestra,” Kelly Tweeddale, executive director of the organization, said in an email to The Chronicle on Wednesday.

https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/music/as-coronavirus-cancellations-ramp-up-organizations-scramble

Yes please! But I would council SFB to set things up so that ticket holders get to watch for free, but non-ticket holders should pay a reasonable fee for access (and they have to register with the website). They need to think in terms of creating online product that people subscribe to (performances, rehearsal shorts, interviews with dancers, choreographers, musicians and staff). Consider going with online streaming providers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Premium, Medici.tv for the European audience, etc. This is a whole other revenue stream that they can be working with and planning for (but obviously there will need to be some dedicated staff arranging for all this). It's the future, and the future is NOW.

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I agree, this is a good moment for a paradigm shift, but when you start something like this, you want to make sure to pull in a large group to start -- maybe a "this time for free" version?  I'd certainly pay to see SFB in Midsummer (after those reviews, and plus, they're dancing in PNB's sets and costumes...), but you need many more than me!

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2 hours ago, sandik said:

I agree, this is a good moment for a paradigm shift, but when you start something like this, you want to make sure to pull in a large group to start -- maybe a "this time for free" version?  I'd certainly pay to see SFB in Midsummer (after those reviews, and plus, they're dancing in PNB's sets and costumes...), but you need many more than me!

I concede that a free period is likely. But since online streaming is all about p.r./marketing, AND income (not to mention artistic possibilities for the artists) performance art companies have to set up an intelligent model to sell 'product' from the start. It costs money to create the videos and requires having permissions from all the right people (which also usually comes down to MONEY), so full-length presentations should require a one-time fee, or subscription. A well thought out service like Amazon Prime handles special subscriptions (to things like the PBS Masterpiece programming) seamlessly within the interface. The arts companies are going to have to figure out which streaming platform(s) to go with to get the most bang for their buck, and reach the widest possible audience. [I have Medici.tv right now, and it is subscription only, but it works for Smartphone, Desktop computer, and TV if you have the right setup.]

Shorter videos, like interviews or seminars could be used as free "bait" to lure people in.  ;)

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I wonder how these cancelled performances will affect the programming for next season.  Both Ratmansky's The Seasons and Marston's Mrs. Robinson will not be premiered this season and should be programmed for next year. [I am trying to have something to look forward to.] 

It would be wonderful to see the streamed capture of A Midsummer's Night Dream

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10 minutes ago, Josette said:

I wonder how these cancelled performances will affect the programming for next season.  Both Ratmansky's The Seasons and Marston's Mrs. Robinson will not be premiered this season and should be programmed for next year. [I am trying to have something to look forward to.] 

It would be wonderful to see the streamed capture of A Midsummer's Night Dream

I've been thinking about that. It would be pretty simple to just move the programming over to next year. I think it would be great to lead off the 2021 season with Midsummer and follow with Programs 5 and 6 (becoming Programs 2 and 3). Jewels or Romeo and Juliet could follow or be placed strategically in the season.

I'm sure Tomasson had other ideas, but he's going to have to make adjustments due to the extraordinary situation were all facing. Many ballet companies may be in similar situations.

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Due to contracts for new works and revivals, it may be more complicated than moving the programming to next season. SFB usually announces the next season in April.  We shall see!

 

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2 minutes ago, Josette said:

Due to contracts for new works and revivals, it may be more complicated than moving the programming to next season. SFB usually announces the next season in April.  We shall see!

 

You bet - any contracts that have already been negotiated may be problematic, but I assume that these contracts have special clauses to deal with the unexpected (such as Liam Scarlett's 'troubles').

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From the SFB website:

"In addition, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson wants to be sure that our valued patrons do not miss out on what is truly a magnificent production – therefore, we are happy to inform you that A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be included as part of the 2021 Repertory Season."

https://www.sfballet.org/a-message-regarding-the-covid-19-virus/

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Well, that is wonderful news! I also saw posted on their website that a Herculean effort is being made that ticket holders to A Midsummer Night's Dream can see the film made of the opening/closing night. 

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That would be truly heroic if SFB could make that happen.

But I still want them to work towards a future where performance films would be streamed online (after the program's run had finished of course) - for a small fee/subscription.   ;)
SFB needs to deliver its 'product' to a world-wide audience and get a new revenue stream happening.

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From Sasha De Sola:

Completely and utterly gutted that the next two programs of @sfballet ‘s season are cancelled due to COVID-19.
But there is a little good news... Helgi Tomasson announced that Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will return in SF Ballet’s 2021 Season! And dancers, musicians, backstage crew, and ballet leadership have pulled together in a Herculean effort to create a recording that will be made available to all Midsummer ticketholders who weren’t able to attend this week’s performances because of cancellations. 🧚🏼‍♂️

I’ll be dancing as Titania for this recording and I’m so grateful we were able to pull this together in such a short amount of time to share this magical production with all of you ticket holders! Who’s excited to watch?!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9rXjDbHbRB/

It sounds like no one other than Midsummer ticket holders will get to see the video, which is quite unfortunate. I certainly hope SFB finds a way to offer the performance to the world, and make money off it.

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Posted (edited)

You know, if it had been one of the company's productions, and they held all rights, I'd bet it would be a different scenario. With Dream, there's PNB costumes/sets, there's the Balanchine Trust, not to mention all the waivers required for unions and their various regulations. I imagine some compromise was required in the negotiations to make it happen, even in this limited way. Glad they could offer this!

I'm just relieved they are able to placate ticket holders who, in turn, will not ask for refunds. And I'm very relieved they'll bring it back next year. Because of the above restrictions, it wasn't necessarily a given.

 

Edited by Terez

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On 3/12/2020 at 9:06 PM, Josette said:

[I am trying to have something to look forward to.]

I think most of us are in the same boat!

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Posted (edited)
On 3/13/2020 at 2:14 PM, Terez said:

You know, if it had been one of the company's productions, and they held all rights, I'd bet it would be a different scenario. With Dream, there's PNB costumes/sets, there's the Balanchine Trust, not to mention all the waivers required for unions and their various regulations. I imagine some compromise was required in the negotiations to make it happen, even in this limited way. Glad they could offer this!

I'm just relieved they are able to placate ticket holders who, in turn, will not ask for refunds. And I'm very relieved they'll bring it back next year. Because of the above restrictions, it wasn't necessarily a given.

 

And here is the IG post from SFB:

This link to a cute video (featuring Sarah Van Patten as Helena & Julia Rowe as Lead Butterfly) about hand washing on the SFB FB also provides info:

https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/vb.27923251292/1619286308221173/?type=2&theater

 

Edited by sf_herminator

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1 hour ago, sf_herminator said:

This link to a cute video (featuring Sarah Van Patten as Helena & Julia Rowe as Lead Butterfly) about hand washing on the SFB FB also provides info:

https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/vb.27923251292/1619286308221173/?type=2&theater

 

Statement from SFB when you watch the video:

"Last night's A Midsummer Night's Dream, performed to an empty Opera House, was a bittersweet moment. Grateful to the five unions that signed an emergency waiver, the George Balanchine Trust, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, who enabled SF Ballet to create a stream to share with Midsummer ticketholders whose performances were cancelled. And heartbroken on a company level about having to cancel 3 programs of our very condensed Season, and on a wider level by the suffering around the world. We're thinking about how to share the joy of dance in a way that's safe for all. What would you like to see? #SFBalletCares #SFBalletCreates #SFBalletCan"

Five unions, wow!  I'm glad all you ticketholders will be able to see this beautiful and magical production.  Would be great if the ballet companies can figure out a way for people to watch by donation.  On PNB's FB many out-of-towners commented they would be glad to donate to watch, since they obviously did not hold tickets already.

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1 hour ago, seattle_dancer said:

Five unions, wow!  I'm glad all you ticketholders will be able to see this beautiful and magical production.  Would be great if the ballet companies can figure out a way for people to watch by donation.  On PNB's FB many out-of-towners commented they would be glad to donate to watch, since they obviously did not hold tickets already.

SFB is taking care of the ticket holders first, and that makes sense. But I agree that any film productions need to be made available to as many paying customers as possible. SFB's new Executive Director, Kelly Tweeddale, has her work cut out for her. Hopefully she can get the company truly into the 21st century. Currently more than half of the world's population have access to the Internet, and the number is obviously growing. If ballet and opera companies cannot figure out how to provide their art forms/entertainment through digital channels (and win over young people to their arts) then I can't see them surviving more than 30 years from today. Sorry to sound so depressing, but this is yet another industry or part of life that needs major restructuring but isn't really looking to get it. While ballet and opera continue to think only in terms of selling tickets to performances in a theater, with an occasional DVD thrown into the mix - already a dated form of distribution, there are other industries that get the need to broadcast and stream their products in addition to live in-person events:

"The sports market in North America was worth $60.5 billion in 2014. It is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019. The biggest reason for such growth is projected increases in revenue derived from media rights deals, which is predicted to surpass gate revenues as the sports industry's largest segment."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2015/10/19/sports-industry-to-reach-73-5-billion-by-2019/#5cc89eeb1b4b


[In 2019] Streaming makes up 80 percent of the music industry’s revenue
Although physical sales are also on the up-and-up:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/6/20852568/streaming-revenue-growth-spotify-apple-music-industry-ariana-grande-drake-taylor-swift


"Meanwhile, people now surf for porn from the comfort of their basements thanks to technologies that the industry helped popularize. The Internet gave people a way to privatize their unmentionable habits, and this dynamic pushed porn firms to become early adopters of many tech features, such as digital credit-card transactions, instant messaging, and video streaming. Current emerging technologies like VR are getting boosts from porn, too.

The porn industry’s adaptability also transfers to how they do business. Similar to the music industry’s woes, piracy cut into porn’s profits. Porn companies adapted by designing new business models around licensing, educational courses, live camming, crowdsourcing, event hosting, and commerce. Porn also has its own trade publications, industry events, talent agents, and lobbyists."

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/porn-could-bigger-economic-influence-121524565.html

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