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SFB 2022 repertory season


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San Francisco Ballet has just announced their 2022 repertory season: https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/2022-season/

  • Tomasson's own works: world premiere of Harmony; reprises of Trio, Caprice, The Fifth Season, Prism; and full-length story ballets Don Quixote and Swan Lake
  • World premiere of Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston
  • World premieres by Dwight Rhoden and Christopher Wheeldon
  • SF Ballet premieres of Blake Works I by William Forsythe and The Seasons by Alexei Ratmansky
  • Fan favorites George Balanchine's Symphony in C, In The Night by Jerome Robbins, and La Sylphide by August Bournonville
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Posted (edited)

Some additional info from the SFB e-mail that went out today:

Celebrating Helgi Tomasson in 2022

We hope you will join us for a memorable season in 2022 as we return to live performances at the War Memorial Opera House and celebrate Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson's remarkable 37-year tenure.

Programmed by Helgi as a "love letter" to the Company and the community, the season mixes creativity with tradition and showcases the versatility and talent of the Company and the artists who have inspired Helgi's career. It is highlighted by six world and SF Ballet premieres and honors Helgi's legacy of making SF Ballet a creative hub for many emerging choreographers. The seven-program season will be performed live at the War Memorial Opera House February 1–May 8.

We are Focused on a Safe Return to the Opera House
We are in continual dialogue with our peer arts organizations, medical officers, and city leaders to ensure that the return to in-person performances will keep the health and safety of both artists and audiences at the forefront. The ventilation and air handling systems have been tested and upgraded to comply with CDC protocols put in place during the pandemic. We are preparing for a variety of protocols for staff, artists, and audiences that might be necessary when it is safe for us to reopen for in-person events. Exact information will be shared prior to performances. Visit sfballet.org/safety for the most up to date information on our COVID-19 protocols.

2022 Repertory Season Highlights

  •     Tomasson's own works: world premiere of Harmony; reprises of Trio, Caprice, The Fifth Season, Prism; and full-length story ballets Don Quixote and Swan Lake
  •     World premiere of Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston
  •     World premieres by Dwight Rhoden and Christopher Wheeldon
  •     SF Ballet premieres of Blake Works I by William Forsythe and The Seasons by Alexei Ratmansky
  •     Fan favorites George Balanchine's Symphony in C, In The Night by Jerome Robbins, and La Sylphide by August Bournonville
  •     Visit sfballet.org to learn more about the repertory and watch the trailer

Tickets for the Repertory Season
Principal Series packages will go on sale to the general public in summer 2021 and individual tickets to performances will be available in fall 2021.

Nutcracker 2021
We are currently planning for live performances of Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House in December 2021. Tickets for Nutcracker will go on sale once artist and audience protocols are set. Renewing subscribers for the 2022 Season will receive priority access to tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

2022 Season Opening Night Gala
The 2022 Season Opening Night Gala will be held on January 27, 2022. The annual launch of the repertory season will include a black-tie dinner held at San Francisco City Hall and a performance by San Francisco Ballet at the War Memorial Opera House.

 

EDIT (from the SFB Covid-19 Safety web page):

Are you going to continue offering digital streaming of ballets and other content?

We have been thrilled by the reaction to our digital season and plan to create a digital offering that will complement a season subscriber’s in-person subscription should they not be able to attend or if they would like to have an encore digital experience.

 
Edited by pherank
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Posted (edited)

Here are the specific programs; to see exact performance dates, click ‘Learn More’ for each program.  Note only seven programs again this season instead of the usual, pre-lockdown eight.

Isn’t the order of Program 4 a little odd?  Even though the Ratmansky is an SFB premiere, which makes it something of an event, it just seems like the full length La Sylphide would be last on the program.

(Sorry, don't know why this insists on double spacing every carriage return.)

Program 1

February 1 – 12

Symphony in C; Trio; Mrs. Robinson

 Program 2

Feb 3 - 13

Caprice; In the Night; Blake Works I

Don Quixote

Feb 26 – Mar 6

 Program 4

Mar 15 – 20

La Sylphide; The Seasons

 Program 5

Apr 2 – 16

The Fifth Season; Harmony; Magrittomania

 Program 6

April 6 - 15

Prism; Wheeldon and Rhoden World Premieres

 Swan Lake

April 29 – May 8

Edited by PeggyR
Fixed misspelling. Added dates for Program 6.
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, PeggyR said:

Here are the specific programs; to see exact performance dates, click ‘Learn More’ for each program.  Note only seven programs again this season instead of the usual, pre-lockdown eight.

Isn’t the order of Program 4 a little odd?  Even though the Ratmansky is an SFB premiere, which makes it something of an event, it just seems like the full length La Sylphide would be last on the program.

Both Program 1 and 4 could certainly have been ordered differently.

Lots of Helgi - but that's not really a surprise given that it will be his last season with the company. But again, no surprises to be had with those particular ballets. Yes, looks to be a short season. Normally there are 8 programs in a season (and Nutcracker makes 9), so I'm going to guess that there's a need to save money. Is that to help pay for digital streaming?

The complete overlap of Program 1 & 2 is a head-scratcher for me. I'm not sure what they are thinking with that schedule. Probably does not make it easier for the dancers (it's going to be madness just like Nutcracker time).

2022 will have four new ballets (which will include the long, long awaited debuts of Ratmansky's The Seasons and Marston's Mrs Robinson). Three old 'classic' ballets (four if one includes Balanchine's Symphony in C).

I'm a bit disappointed that In the Night was the Robbins ballet choice just because it is performed so much by SFB and other companies. Something less common by Robbins would have been fun. Possokhov's Magrittomania is good, but it's certainly time for a new Yuri ballet. Does make me wonder what the future holds for Yuri with Tomasson leaving.

How to sum up these choices? Tomasson wants to demonstrate the range of works and capabilities of the SFB dancers under his leadership/tutelage? I guess it will sort of do that. Five Tomasson ballets - only one of them new - perhaps has a lot to do with this lineup seeming less exciting than some, for me. (Don Q also has stagings and additional choreography by Tomasson and Possokhov, but that's a little different.)

Tomasson had stated in the past that he wanted to do another (smaller) new works festival, but I guess that is being left to the next A.D., or will only be planned together with the incoming A.D.

Edited by pherank
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For out-of-towners, programs 1 & 2 are really attractive, as you can see both on a long weekend, although I agree that some of the choices would not be my first choice.

The other big attraction is program 4 -- two great ballets packed into one program! 

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Posted (edited)

Given the circumstances, it's understandable that the first season after lockdown might be curtailed and something less than thrilling.  However, what does thrill me are Symphony in C, La Sylphide, and Blake Works I.  I love Forsythe, although based on comments I've heard after performances at SFB of some of his other work, he's not always popular with some members of the audience.  

Also happy with Don Q:  it’s a lot of fun, and gives opportunities for soloists and promising corp members to show their stuff.  

As for yes-Virginia-another-Swan Lake, I hope dancers like Andre and Chung (among others, of course) will get their chances at O/O.  Chung showed her exquisitely lyrical side in Giselle, and she's got the technique and then some for both Os.  Andre is one of those dancers who always surprises me; I tend to think of her as more suited to contemporary ballets that let her show her strong-woman side.  But she danced a beautifully delicate Princess Florine, and I'm betting she would be a lovely Odette, although an Andre Odile would probably eat Siegfried alive.

Anyway, just getting back to live ballet in 2022 will be thrills enough for me.

Edited by PeggyR
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5 hours ago, California said:

For out-of-towners, programs 1 & 2 are really attractive, as you can see both on a long weekend, although I agree that some of the choices would not be my first choice.

The other big attraction is program 4 -- two great ballets packed into one program! 

I've been dependent on these "overlaps" myself, when coming to visit SF. But I've never seen two programs essentially occur at the same time before.

 

8 minutes ago, PeggyR said:

Given the circumstances, it's understandable that the first season after lockdown might be curtailed and something less than thrilling.  However, what does thrill me are Symphony in C, La Sylphide, and Blake Works I.  I love Forsythe, although based on comments I've heard after performances at SFB of some of his other work, he's not always popular with some members of the audience.  

Also happy with Don Q:  it’s a lot of fun, and gives opportunities for soloists and promising corp members to show their stuff.  

As for yes-Virginia-another-Swan Lake, I hope dancers like Andre and Chung (among others, of course) will get their chances at O/O.  Chung showed her exquisitely lyrical side in Giselle, and she's got the technique and then some for both Os.  Andre is one of those dancers who always surprises me; I tend to think of her as more suited to contemporary ballets that let her show her strong-woman side.  But she danced a beautifully delicate Princess Florine, and I'm betting she would be a lovely Odette, although an Andre Odile would probably eat Siegfried alive.

Anyway, just getting back to live ballet in 2022 will be thrills enough for me.

Forsythe is 'an artist's artist'. Which means his work is mostly not understood - or loved - by the audience.  ;)
But his ballets make a nice challenge for the dancers.

I bet we're going to see a lot of emphasis placed on the young dancers next year - lots of new role opportunities for Corps dancers. It will be Tomasson's last chance to shine a light on the individual Corps members, and young soloists, and give the world a better sense of what they are capable of.

I'm beyond caring about Swan Lake these days, but I think Fogo and MacKay will likely head up the SL casts.  https://www.instagram.com/p/COa4u68pEWA/

I didn't expect to arrive at a place where I'm saying, I'm not that interested in another Chris Wheeldon premiere. Why not shake things up a bit? [Because Tomasson is thanking old friends one last time - that's why]
If the SFB A.D. only programed and didn't ever choreograph, there would be five open positions (in 2022) to fill with any sort of ballet. Having an A.D. who does create ballets, SFB gets 'personalized' content created over time, but they also lose diversity of programming. It's a bit of a conundrum. NYCB deals with the same thing having Justin Peck around. I'm not thinking that one or the other situation is better, but I like to see a real range of choreographers and approaches to ballet.

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I'm honestly just thrilled to see a new season lined up!  Eagerly awaiting when I can return back to the opera house.  

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this season - it maybe seems a little less bold/risky than I would have expected coming out of a pandemic, but yet, I think it makes sense to go back to some of the more "bread and butter" ballets to draw audiences back.  Don Q is so much fun and gives dancers lots of opportunity (both in dancing and acting) and I think SFB has a good roster of dancers extremely capable of excelling in Swan Lake.  

It seems like no Danielle Rowe work this season?  I was really looking forward to seeing more from her.

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30 minutes ago, pherank said:

I'm beyond caring about Swan Lake these days, but I think Fogo and MacKay will likely head up the SL casts.  https://www.instagram.com/p/COa4u68pEWA/

At the virtual Gala they danced the PdD from Don Q, so maybe that’s on their schedule too.  I remember thinking that she didn’t look entirely comfortable in that kind of bravura piece (maybe just nerves, of course), but that she had beautiful arms and upper body, and I could easily picture her as Odette.

32 minutes ago, pherank said:

If the SFB A.D. only programed and didn't ever choreograph, there would be five open positions (in 2022) to fill with any sort of ballet. Having an A.D. who does create ballets, SFB gets 'personalized' content created over time, but they also lose diversity of programming. It's a bit of a conundrum. NYCB deals with the same thing having Justin Peck around. I'm not thinking that one or the other situation is better, but I like to see a real range of choreographers and approaches to ballet.

I don’t disagree with this, but on the other hand, given what Tomasson has done to raise SFB to the ranks of nationally and internationally recognized companies, I’m willing to give him one last shot at showing off his work if he wants to.

33 minutes ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

It seems like no Danielle Rowe work this season?  I was really looking forward to seeing more from her.

Me too, even though I wasn’t crazy about Wooden Dimes.  I thought she and Myles Thatcher were both going to convert their filmed ballets for the stage, but that’s probably a pretty big undertaking, so maybe next season.  

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Quite interesting reading about this...Traditionally one of the values of having an in-house choreographer would be that s/he could put their stamp on the company style. (Of course that is both more likely to happen and more valuable when your in-house choreographer is Balanchine or Ashton.) It also may benefit dancers, but even more so the choreographer to be able to develop a collaboration in a stable situation over time. When Justin Peck first got a permanent position with NYCB, he talked about this issue saying that when he is invited to a company other than NYCB they want a recognizable "Justin Peck Ballet"  while having a steady position as a choreographer at NYCB freed him up to try all kinds of different stuff even if it failed. That said, when a less than great choreographer is dominating the repertory, it is bound to be less than thrilling for audiences. It still does kind of feel as though Tomasson has earned the right to have this season be something of a tribute to his directorship. 

And I don't doubt all ballet companies are facing money issues in the wake of the pandemic. Everyone seems to be falling back, too, on tried and true works that they think are likely to sell. We can hope people are eager to return to the theater--I'm guessing most of us are, though I have mixed feelings myself--but there are presumably worries about audiences having lost the habit.  I think that's reflected in Kennedy Center programming:  someone pointed out they are bringing in three (count 'em) THREE Nutcrackers. And ABT is doing a week of Don Q. and NYCB a week of Midsummer's Night Dream. I'm happy about the Mariinsky Jewels--but it's not the most daring thing they could have chosen even amongst their full length works. Honestly by comparison, though it's just the one company, ballet-wise I'm more intrigued by what's happening in San Francisco in the coming year. (Though that's a fantasy for me since I don't think I can get there on the dates that appeal to me.)

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My initial reactions:

  • Disappointed that there is no Giselle and no Serenade.  Giselle is my favorite of all the full lengths and hasn't been seen since 2015.  However, Swan Lake is more well known to the general public and would be better to attract new and less frequent ballet attendees.  Swan Lake was also Helgi's last full-length creation.  I thought for sure Serenade would be back - it was my pick to be the first ballet to be performed when SFB returned to the stage (maybe the opening season gala???).  However, very happy for the return of Symphony in C - not seen since 2011.
  • Pleasantly surprised with La Sylphide.  Royal Danish Ballet performed La Sylphide on tour in Berkeley in June 2011 and I was fortunate to have seen it.  I found SFB performed La Sylphide in 1997 (I did not see SFB until 2001).  
  • Very happy for Blake Works.  I have wanted to see anything by Forsythe.  I was secretly hoping for the return of Artifact Suite, but really looking forward to Blake Works.
  • Happy for new works from Dwight Rhoden & Christopher Wheeldon.  It would have been nice to see more new works, but I must imagine this must have been a challenge to decide upon choreographers for new works.  Would have liked to have seen Mark Morris, which was planned for this year until it became a digital season.
  • We will finally get to see Ratmansky's The Seasons and Marston's Mrs. Robinson!!
  • Normally there have been 8 programs, but there are only 7.  Perhaps because of the last year or so, probably safe to program only 7?  When the 2021 season was announced, there were only 7 programs, but that may have been related to the fact that the War Memorial Opera House was going to close to have new seats installed.

I wonder whether there will be a limit to number of people in the audience.  Performing arts venues are starting to open up again.  SF Symphony is returning to live performances, but haven't looked to see any details.

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Posted (edited)

I finally noticed that Programs 5 and 6 also overlap considerably. So for out-of-towners that allows one the opportunity to see 6 ballets over a short period (I didn't analyze the individual dates). Not trusting my impressions I went back and looked at a couple of past season schedules and the mixed reps programs have been completely overlapping for a few years. For some reason I was thinking it was only near the end of the earlier program that the programs would overlap, but I think that's just how it was back 10 years ago or so.

2017
January 24 - February 04
January 26 - February 05
February 17 - February  26
March 7 - March 18
March 9 - March 19
March 31 - April 12
April 5 - April 18
April 28 - May 07

2018
January 23 - February 04
February 13 - February 24
February 15 - February 25
March 06 - March 11
March 20 - March 25
April 03 - April 08  [NBofC's Nijinsky]
April 20 - May 6  [Unbound Festival]

Since it would be interesting (for me at least) to know just how many days the season is actually missing, I went back and checked against 2017. I'm counting 66 performance days for 2022 (minus the Monday rest days), while 2017 had 83 performance days.

I'm looking forward to hearing when the digital streaming will occur - immediately following the live season? And, will the extra down days be used to film something special for the digital streaming program?

 

Edited by pherank
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Posted (edited)

These are the season packages now being advertised (they go on sale in the summer). [Note that the Choreograph Your Own Season option occurs later in the year.]

Principal 7

Experience all seven programs and get the same seats for every performance. Plus, save up to 30% on the single-ticket price.

Packages start at $140.
Included Programs

Program 1
Trio • Mrs. Robinson • Symphony in C

Program 2
Caprice • In the Night • Blake Works I

Program 3: Don Quixote

Program 4
La Sylphide • The Seasons

Program 5
The Fifth Season • Harmony • Magrittomania

Program 6
Prism • Christopher Wheeldon World Premiere • Dwight Rhoden World Premiere

Program 7: Swan Lake


Principal 5

See five programs and save up to 25% off the single-ticket price and get the same seats for every program.

Packages start at $110.
Included Programs

Program 1
Trio • Mrs. Robinson • Symphony in C

Program 2
Caprice • In the Night • Blake Works I

Program 4
La Sylphide • The Seasons

Program 6
Prism | Christopher Wheeldon World Premiere | Dwight Rhoden World Premiere

Program 7: Swan Lake


Principal 3

See two pre-selected programs and one program of your choice, and save up to 25% off the single-ticket price.

Packages start at $66.
Included Programs

Program 3: Don Quixote

Program 5
The Fifth Season • Harmony • Magrittomania

And your choice of Mixed Bill

Edited by pherank
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2 hours ago, pherank said:

I finally noticed that Programs 4 and 5 also overlap considerably. So for out-of-towners that allows one the opportunity to see 6 ballets over a short period (I didn't analyze the individual dates).

 

It's actually Programs 1 (2/1-2/12) & 2 (2/3-2/13) and Programs 5 (4/2-4/16) & 6 (4/6-4/15) that overlap.  Program 4 (La Sylphide & The Seasons) is one week in March.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sf_herminator said:

It's actually Programs 1 (2/1-2/12) & 2 (2/3-2/13) and Programs 5 (4/2-4/16) & 6 (4/6-4/15) that overlap.  Program 4 (La Sylphide & The Seasons) is one week in March.

Thanks for catching that, SF_Herminator. I made the fix above. To your point about SF Symphony - they have kept themselves busy with smaller projects - both digital and live. The live concerts at Davies Symphony Hall begin today, I think: https://www.sfsymphony.org/
But the digital offerings have been ongoing: https://www.sfsymphonyplus.org/products/digital-season

Edited by pherank
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7 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Would have liked to have seen Mark Morris, which was planned for this year until it became a digital season.

Did you  watch the Mark Morris Dance Group livestream "Live from Brooklyn"? I did not myself, but apparently the new piece got a good reaction from the digital audience.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Helene said:

I was supposed to today, but I got the time wrong...

For some reason they switched to an early 2pm start time for the 2nd day. I guess that was to help out the people not available in the evenings. Maybe I shouldn't assume, but wouldn't these become available as archived video sometime soon?

Edited by pherank
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On 5/7/2021 at 1:54 PM, sf_herminator said:

Very happy for Blake Works.  I have wanted to see anything by Forsythe.  I was secretly hoping for the return of Artifact Suite, but really looking forward to Blake Works.
 

To wet your appetite, I hope you've been watching Blake Works II ...

The Barre Project (Blake Works II) with Tiler Peck, Lex Ishimoto, Roman Mejia and Brooklyn Mack - available on the Sadler's Wells site until May 16.

https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/william-forsythe-and-cli-studios-the-barre-project/

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2022 Season Tickets are now available at the PRINCIPAL PACKAGE level:

OUR PRINCIPAL SERIES OFFERS THE BEST BENEFITS AND SAVINGS
Want the same seats for every performance? There are two packages to choose from:

PRINCIPAL 5
See a total of five preselected programs and save up to 25% on the single-ticket price. Packages start at $110.
Celebrate with some of Helgi Tomasson's most beloved ballets: Swan Lake, Caprice, Prism, and Trio
Be there for three world premieres by in-demand dance makers Cathy Marston, Dwight Rhoden, and Christopher Wheeldon
See the SF Ballet premiere of Blake Works I by celebrated choreographer William Forsythe and the eagerly-awaited premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's The Seasons
Lose yourself in ballet luminary August Bournonville's Romantic-era fairytale La Sylphide
And enjoy two ballets from Tomasson's iconic mentors: George Balanchine's Symphony in C and Jerome Robbins' In the Night

PRINCIPAL 7
Experience the entire Season (all seven programs) and save up to 30% on the single-ticket price. Packages start at $140.
Get everything from the Principal 5 Series, plus:
Join us for the world premiere of Helgi Tomasson's Harmony, his sleek and elegant The Fifth Season, and his high-spirited and exuberant Don Quixote
And see Yuri Possokhov's fun and quirky Magrittomania

https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/2022-season-tickets/

Choreograph You Own Package/Season option coming soon...

Edited by pherank
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