Infinite Romance: San Francisco Ballet gala 2015

War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco — January 22, 2015

Just a quick recap: last week Thom and I went to San Francisco Ballet’s opening gala, which celebrates Helgi Tomasson’s 30th year as artistic director. It was a finely tuned program with something for everyone (see below), ranging from classic pas de deux to abstract new work, and even a Paris Opera Ballet-like défilé that showed off the entire company and school in one family portrait.

San Francisco Ballet opening gala at War Memorial Opera House (Jan 22, 2015)
San Francisco Ballet opening gala at War Memorial Opera House (Jan 22, 2015)

You know I’m all about watching and being inspired by men who dance, so a highlight for me was Concerto Grosso, choreographed by Tomasson on and for five corps guys. (See rehearsal video from World Ballet Day last October, starting at the 9:34 mark.) Esteban Hernandez, Francisco Mungamba, Wei Wang, Diego Cruz, and Max Cauthorn all danced with brio and exuberance. Actually, Mungamba gets my MVP award of the night for also dancing in William Forsythe’s likewise energetic The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.

By the way, in what’s becoming an annual tradition for us, Thom and I prefaced our gala evening with dinner at Jardinière, the excellent restaurant just behind the opera house and next to the San Francisco Ballet office and studio building. And after the performance we kept the celebration going with the after-party at City Hall. We’re all dressed up–might as well do some dancing ourselves!

San Francisco Ballet’s 2015 gala kicks off a diverse season. In fact it’s now already off and running as Program 1 (Serenade, RAkU, Lambarena) opened this past Tuesday, and Giselle, which runs concurrently, opens tonight. The bow-tie ballet beaus are excited for this season; see you at the ballet!

See also: reviews by Allan Ulrich for San Francisco Chronicle (“Mostly en pointe”); Aimee Tsao for DanceTabs; Rita Feliciano for danceviewtimes (“Glorious glamorous gala”).

San Francisco Ballet 2015 Opening Night Gala
*Indicates premiere in ballet

Composer: Johan Svendsen
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Full Company, School Students and Trainees

Excerpt from Alles Walzer
Composer: Johann Strauss II
Choreography: Renato Zanella
Joan Boada, Pascal Molat

Act II pas de deux from A Cinderella Story
SF Ballet Premiere
Based on a Themes by: Richard Rodgers
Choreography: Val Caniparoli
Lorena Feijoo*, Vitor Luiz*

Pas de deux from On a Theme of Paganini
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets

Pas de deux from There Where She Loved
Composer: Kurt Weill
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Sofiane Sylve*, Luke Ingham*

Concerto Grosso
Composer: Francesco Geminiani after Corelli
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Esteban Hernandez*, Francisco Mungamba*, Wei Wang*, Diego Cruz, Max Cauthorn*


Souvenir d’un lieu cher
U.S. Premiere
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Mathilde Froustey*, Carlo Di Lanno*, Sarah Van Patten*, Luke Ingham*

Pas de deux from Bells
SF Ballet Premiere
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Maria Kochetkova*, Davit Karapetyan*

The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
Composer: Franz Shubert
Choreography: William Forsythe
Francisco Mungamba*, Gennadi Nedvigin, Dores André*, Jennifer Stahl, Sasha De Sola*

World Premiere
Composer: Gavin Bryars
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Frances Chung*, Joseph Walsh*

Act III pas de deux from Onegin
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: John Cranko
Yuan Yuan Tan, Vitor Luiz

Pas de deux from Le Corsaire
Composer: Riccardo Drigo
Choreography: after Marius Petipa
Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro

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