2013 Repertory Season Overview Program 1 opens Tuesday, January 29 with the SF Ballet premiere of Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, Robbins’ In the Night, and a new work by Wayne McGregor. Suite en Blanc is an internationally acclaimed neoclassical work set to music by Édouard Lalo and originally choreographed for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1943. The plotless, one-act ballet was created as a vehicle to show off the virtuosity of its dancers and was called “a clever, intriguing and intricately patterned work” by the London Evening Standard. Robbins’ elegant In the Night, set to music by Frédéric Chopin and created for New York City Ballet in 1970, features six dancers, and was last performed by the Company in 2008 during its 75th Anniversary Repertory Season. McGregor, choreographer and artistic director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and resident choreographer at The Royal Ballet, is creating his first commission for SF Ballet. The Company has previously performed two of his works: Eden/Eden and Chroma. McGregor is renowned for his physically challenging and unique choreography and ground-breaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology, and science. Program 2 opens Wednesday, February 13 with the Northern California premiere of Neumeier’s Nijinsky, performed by acclaimed company Hamburg Ballet. Nijinsky is a story ballet based on the turbulent life of dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, the great Polish-Russian dancer and star of the Ballet Russes. Set to the music of Chopin, Robert Schumann, Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov, and Dmitri Shostakovich, the work was hailed as “dynamic, rich and gripping theater” by The Washington Post. Nijinsky was created in 2000 to mark the 50th anniversary of his death and features scenic and costume designs by Neumeier (based partly on original sketches by Léon Bakst and Alexandre Benois). Of the work, The New York Times noted, “Nijinsky...is the subject of more than one ballet...but none has the vision, passion and detail that Neumeier has poured into [this] two-act dramatic spectacular.” Hamburg Ballet, under the artistic direction of Neumeier since 1973, is also known as the Hamburg State Opera Ballet. Established in 1678 as the Hamburg Goosemarket Opera, it was one of the first examples of German civic opera and regularly offered ballet performances. Today, the company enjoys international acclaim, with a roster of over 50 dancers. Most recently, SF Ballet collaborated with Neumeier on the presentation of his production of The Little Mermaid, which made its national broadcast debut on PBS in 2o11. Program 3 opens Tuesday, February 26 with Morris’ Beaux, a work to be announced, and Page’s Guide to Strange Places. Morris’ eighth commissioned work for SF Ballet, Beaux, had its premiere during the 2012 Repertory Season and is set to Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra. Of the work, which features nine men, the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “Beaux shows Morris once again as master craftsman.” Page’s Guide to Strange Places, which premiered on the Company’s 2012 Repertory Season, is set to a score of the same name by John Adams. Featuring scenic and costume design by Jon Morrell with lighting design by David Finn, the work for 18 dancers mixes ballet and contemporary dance movement. Program 4 opens on Friday, March 1 with Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony, a new work by Ratmansky, and Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour. Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony will be performed by SF Ballet during its 2012 Repertory Season. Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s score by the same name, the ballet for 19 dancers was first performed by New York City Ballet in 1952, and received its SF Ballet premiere in 1966. Ratmansky, former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet and current artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, will create a work for SF Ballet. To date, the Company has performed two of his ballets: Le Carnaval des Animaux (Carnival of the Animals) and Russian Seasons. In addition, he has created works for many companies including Dutch National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera. Last performed while on tour in 2010, Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour is set to a strings-only score by Italian composer Ezio Bosso, and features an ensemble of 10 dancers; it was first performed by the Company during its New Works Festival in 2008, where The Guardian (UK) called it “[a] mastery of structure.” Program 5 opens on Thursday, March 21 with the return of Cranko’s dramatic story ballet Onegin. Based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel Eugene Onegin, the full-length work is set to a score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestrated by Kurt-Heinze Stolze, with scenery and costumes by award-winning designer Santo Loquasto. The work, first performed by Stuttgart Ballet in 1965, is considered one of Cranko’s masterpieces and has been performed by more than 20 companies around the world. SF Ballet performed Onegin to much acclaim during its 2012 Repertory Season. The San Francisco Chronicle hailed this production as “remarkably imaginative…Cranko’s masterpiece still has the power to transport and astonish.” Program 6 opens on Tuesday, April 9 with Nureyev’s Raymonda Act III, a new work by Possokhov, and Liang’s Symphonic Dances. Petipa’s full-length production of Raymonda premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1898. Nureyev not only created his own adaption of the full-length version but also of the third act alone, which was premiered by The Royal Ballet at London’s Royal Opera House in 1966. Set to music by Alexander Glazunov, the ballet is a showcase of virtuosic dancing. Possokhov was appointed SF Ballet choreographer in residence, following an illustrious 12-year career with the Company as a principal dancer. Possokhov is a prolific choreographer who’s most recent work, Francesca da Rimini, premiered during the 2012 Repertory Season. Liang’s Symphonic Dances, set to a score of the same name by Sergei Rachmaninov, was called “a brushfire of a work” by the California Literary Review. The work, which premiered on the 2012 Repertory Season, features costume design by Mark Zappone and lighting design by Jack Mehler. Program 7 opens Thursday, April 11 with Tomasson’s Criss-Cross, Possokhov’s Francesca da Rimini, and Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements. Tomasson’s Criss-Cross premiered in 1997 and was last performed by SF Ballet in 1999. Set to the music by Domenico Scarlatti (as arranged by Charles Avison) and Arnold Schoenberg (after George Frideric Handel), the work is divided into two distinct parts, performed by two different groups and set to two different scores. David Littlejohn, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 1997, said of Criss-Cross, “The company’s conjoined mastery of both classical and modern dance has never been more powerfully displayed.” Possokhov’s Francesca da Rimini is set to music by Tchaikovsky and is based on “The Inferno,” the fifth canto in Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. In particular, it tells the story of Francesca and Paolo, adulterous lovers who are destined to spend an eternity in hell. The work had its premiere on Program 3 of the 2012 Repertory Season. Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements premiered in 1972 on the opening night of New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky Festival. Set to Igor Stravinsky’s score of the same title and first performed by SF Ballet in 2000, the iconic work is a large ensemble piece (Tomasson was part of the original cast). Program 8 opens Friday, May 3 with the U.S. premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. SF Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet will co-produce this new creation; Dutch National Ballet will present the world premiere in December 2012 at The Amsterdam Music Theatre. Set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev, Wheeldon’s interpretation combines parts of both the Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm versions, along with some new elements. In this adaption, Cinderella plants a hazel branch on her mother’s grave, and it grows into an enormous magical tree. Along with four spirits, the tree grants all of Cinderella’s wishes. Wheeldon gives depth to the story’s characters by portraying Cinderella as more than a victim; the prince plays a bigger role than in other productions. The libretto will be written by Craig Lucas, a renowned playwright, director, and screenwriter who began his career as an actor. Among other awards, Lucas was nominated for Broadway’s 1990 Tony Award as author of Best Play nominee Prelude to a Kiss (in 1991 he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work) and again in 2005 for the book Light in the Piazza. Sets and costumes for this production are by the British designer Julian Crouch, renowned for his designs for Philip Glass’s masterpiece Satyagraha for the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Broadway musical The Addams Family, among other works. For the latter production, he received a Drama Desk Award. Locally, Crouch served as associate director/designer for Shockheaded Peter, which was performed at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater in 2000. Cinderella is his first ballet production.
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