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Casting for opening night gala

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Clever SFB. YOu have to read through the whole press release to find it -- but it's there!


Evening Includes Three Benefit Dinners Post-Performance Celebration to be held at City Hall

Wells Fargo is Lead Sponsor of Ballet's Opening Night Gala

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Thursday, January 16, 2003 - Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson announced today the repertory for the Opening Night Gala of San Francisco Ballet's 70th Anniversary Season, on Wednesday, January 29 at 8:00 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House. For the one-time only performance, the Company will perform 13 different classical and contemporary works, including a world premiere by Helgi Tomasson choreographed especially for the Gala, and a San Francisco premiere by Val Caniparoli. Wells Fargo has provided a generous lead sponsorship gift. Mrs. John Misha Petkevich is chair of the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Opening Night Gala, and Mr. and Mrs. George P. Shultz are honorary chairs.

Gala Performance

The first half of the program begins with an encore presentation of Helgi Tomasson's Little Waltz, which had its San Francisco Ballet premiere on the 1993 Gala, as well as Lew Christensen's Divertissement d'Auber, a pas de trois, first choreographed for San Francisco Ballet in 1959. Little Waltz, first choreographed as a showcase for School of American Ballet students in 1985, is set to music by Eric Coates. San Francisco Ballet School students will perform this six-minute piece. Divertissement d'Auber, set to the music of Daniel-François Auber's operatic overtures, showcases the technique of classical ballet at its peak, and was originally choreographed on San Francisco Ballet dancers including Jocelyn Vollmar. Christensen expanded the piece in 1963 to include 18 dancers, with the pas de trois as the central movement. Katita Waldo, Vanessa Zahorian and Guennadi Nedviguine will perform the pas de trois.

Also on the program are excerpts from Peter Martins' The Waltz Project, which is set to the music of thirteen waltzes by various composers, taken from a collection first published in 1978. Originally choreographed for New York City Ballet in 1988, San Francisco Ballet last performed the full ballet in 1997, and will perform the work on Program 5 of the 2003 Repertory Season. Nicole Starbuck and Stephen Legate will perform the excerpts.

Ivonice Satie's Shogun, which had its San Francisco Ballet premiere on the 1997 Gala at Davies Symphony Hall, will also be on the program. The ceremonial duet, set to the music of Milton Nascimento and Fernando Brandt, was inspired by the Japanese 'shoguns', or masters, who traditionally passed their knowledge down to their students. In this work, the 'master' and 'student' wear long skirts, and the choreography is a fusion of classical ballet and powerful, contemporary movements reminiscent of samurai warriors. Shogun will be performed by Joan Boada and Peter Brandenhoff.

Next on the program is an excerpt from Nacho Duato's Without Words, set to the music of Franz Schubert, which made its San Francisco Ballet premiere during the 2001 Repertory Season. The ballet is performed by eight dancers wearing flesh-toned costumes, and is known for its sensual and unusual partnering. An excerpt from Without Words was performed on San Francisco Ballet's 2002 Gala and Muriel Maffre and Benjamin Pierce will perform a different excerpt this year.

In Norwegian Moods, Lew Christensen captures the delight of love in bloom with this buoyant pas de deux. The ballet, which was called Stravinsky Pas de Deux when it premiered in 1976, was conceived as a celebratory piece marking Christensen's twenty-fifth anniversary as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet. The pas de deux is set to Stravinsky's "Four Norwegian Moods", and will be danced by Gonzalo Garcia and Clara Blanco.

Rounding out the first portion of the program is Tomasson's Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers, set to the music of George Frideric Handel's Chaconne in G Major for Harpsichord. The piece was last performed on tour to New York City in fall 2002. The pas de deux, an ode to dance legend Jerome Robbins, was choreographed a few months after Robbins' death and was premiered in 1999 by San Francisco Ballet. Kristin Long and Yuri Possokhov will perform the work.

The second half of the program begins with an excerpt from Act 2 of Tomasson's full-length, critically-acclaimed production of Giselle, choreographed in 1999, to be performed by Julie Diana and Zachary Hench. Another Tomasson ballet, Concerto Grosso, set on five men, is a world premiere and was choreographed especially for this event. The piece is set to the music of Francesco Geminiani after Arcangelo Corelli, and will be performed by Pascal Molat, Garrett Anderson, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Rory Hohenstein, and Hansuke Yamamoto.

Also on the program is a pas de trois from Balanchine's Agon, a seminal work born out of the unique collaboration between Balanchine and composer Igor Stravinsky. Last performed by the Company in Greece in spring 2002, the piece was first choreographed in 1957 and had its San Francisco Ballet premiere in 1976. The pas de trois will be performed by Catherine Winfield, Leslie Young and Parrish Maynard.

Next on the program is Victor Gsovsky's Grand Pas Classique, a piece that displays technical fireworks, set to the music of Daniel-François Auber, which will be performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Vadim Solomakha. The San Francisco Ballet premiere of Grand Pas Classique was on the Company's 1998 Gala.

A San Francisco premiere, Val Caniparoli's No Other, was performed in October 2002, first by Cincinnati Ballet's Lorna Feijoo (with Dimitri Trubchanov), followed by her sister, San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Lorena Feijoo (who performed with San Francisco Ballet dancer Damian Smith). Lorna Feijoo and Trubchanov performed the pas de deux October 18 for Cincinnati Ballet's opening season Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Festival, in celebration of the company's fortieth anniversary. Three days later, at New York's City Center, Lorena Feijoo and Smith performed the work at Shall We Dance: A Dance Tribute to Richard Rodgers, the annual event benefiting Career Transition for Dancers. Both performances of the pas de deux, set to music from Rodgers' "Victory at Sea," received rave reviews from audiences and critics. Lorena Feijoo and Damian Smith will perform the pas de deux for the Gala.

Finishing the evening will be the sparkling finale from Balanchine's "Diamonds," first performed as part of the full-evening length Jewels by San Francisco Ballet during the 2002 Repertory Season. Sarah Van Patten and Sergio Torrado are the principal couple in this work.

Program, program order, and casting are subject to change.

Wells Fargo Provides Lead Sponsorship

To celebrate San Francisco Ballet's 70th Anniversary Season, Wells Fargo has provided generous underwriting for the Opening Night Gala. "Supporting the arts in our community is very meaningful to our culture," said Bob Worth, Bay Area Region President for Wells Fargo & Company, "especially when we can help further the distinguished tradition of San Francisco Ballet which embodies such grace, poise, and elegance. Wells Fargo is proud to participate as lead sponsor for the Opening Night Gala for San Francisco Ballet's 70th Repertory Season."

Dinners Benefit San Francisco Ballet

Prior to the Gala performance, three black tie fundraising dinners will be held. The theme of the evening is a celebration of San Francisco Ballet's 70th Anniversary, with a retro 1930s style, honoring the era in which San Francisco Ballet was founded. All proceeds from the dinners benefit San Francisco Ballet's annual fund.

The San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary will host the Benefactor dinner as well as the Patron dinner. ENCORE!, the social and networking group of young professionals supporting San Francisco Ballet, will host a third dinner, entitled DecoDance. All dinners will be catered by Patina Catering. For all dinners: wine by La Crema Winery, water by Crystal Geyser, coffee by Starbucks Coffee Company, and special vodka bars by Blue Ice Vodka.

The evening begins with cocktail receptions at 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall Mezzanine for guests of the Benefactor and Patron dinners, and in the War Memorial Opera House Grand Foyer for those attending the ENCORE! Dinner. The dinners begin at 6:00 p.m.

The Benefactor dinner will be held in City Hall's North Light Court and Rotunda. Robert Fountain Designs will create an elegant Art Deco supper club theme that carries throughout City Hall. In the Rotunda, tables will be covered in full-length black velvet linens, lamps will feature velvet leopard print shades with crystal beading, and silver julep cups will be filled with miniature calla lilies and white ranunculus. In the North Light Court, the room will be draped out in blue velvet with the tables covered in different shades of blue taffeta. The Patron dinner will take place in City Hall's South Light Court and also feature décor by Robert Fountain. The main color in the South Light Court will be red and the room will be draped in red velvet, with the tables covered in red silk. Benefactor and Patron dinner invitations and Gala performance programs are generously underwritten by KPMG LLP. The reception honoring San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala and Opening Night Dinner Gifts are courtesy of Gump's. Ms. Leslie Taglio is gala dinner chair.

Ms. Nina Fedoroff and Ms. Caroline Prioleau are co-chairs of the ENCORE! event; former San Francisco Ballet principal dancer and current rehearsal assistant Joanna Berman and husband René Mandel, and Shawn and Heather Estes will serve as honorary co-chairs.

The ENCORE! dinner, DecoDance, will be sponsored by Audi of America. The dinner, catered by Patina Catering, will be held at The Café at the Opera House in the lower level of the War Memorial Opera House. Décor will be reminiscent of the Art Deco style popular in the 1930s, with lighted Lady Lamps, kentia palms, and Erte prints. Tables will be set with gold linens and floral centerpieces featuring white calla lilies, peach amaryllis, and peacock feathers. The room will be lit in soft amber hues with votive candles throughout the room. The décor chairs are Marci Dublin and Karen Murphy, and décor sponsors are Classic Party Rentals and Hartmann Studios.

The ENCORE! vodka sponsor is Blue Ice Vodka, and the wine sponsor is La Crema Winery. Table gifts are provided by Thomas Pink and Zoelle Jewelry.

For those attending the Gala performance only, the Gala champagne promenade will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Opera House. The champagne promenade is open to all ticket holders.

Post-Performance Celebration

VERTU, the first luxury communications company, is the sponsor of the post-performance celebration. Launched this past year, VERTU specializes in a collection of hand-crafted mobile phones that combine the best in craftsmanship, precision engineering, proven technology, high performance and unique personal service. For $70 a ticket, guests can attend the post-performance celebration and late supper buffet, catered by Patina Catering, which begins at 10:30 p.m.. The post-performance celebration, held in City Hall, will include a sumptuous buffet of sushi, salmon, roast beef, cheeses, and desserts, in addition to three fully appointed liquor bars, offering wine by La Crema, specialty vodka cocktails by Blue Ice Vodka, and Piper Sonoma champagne. The post-performance celebration will also feature the twelve-piece band "Big Bang Beat", capturing the musical mood of the 1930s, as well as a DJ, spinning the latest dance hits.


Limited seating is available for the dinners. For information about the Benefactor and Patron dinners, call (415) 553-4614. For information about the ENCORE! dinner, call (415) 553-4634.

Tickets for the performance go on sale to the public on January 15, 2003. Tickets are $35-250 and are limited. Tickets for the post-performance party are $70. To order, call the Ticket Services Office at (415) 865-2000, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A limited quantity of Standing Room tickets at $35 each will go on sale at noon on January 29, 2003, at the Ballet Box Office in person only.

About San Francisco Ballet

As America's first professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic "firsts" since its founding in 1933, performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first twentieth-century American Coppélia. A lively, vital ensemble, San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States with its current sixty-nine member roster. Since its early years under the direction of American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet now presents more than one hundred performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson since 1985, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in America. By commissioning new works by some of today's most sought-after choreographers, giving rise to young talent, acquiring existing works by master choreographers and introducing new interpretations of classic full-length productions, Tomasson has created a sophisticated, diverse international repertory that offers powerful entertainment for all audiences.

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