Press Releases

April 25, 2011

San Francisco Ballet Announces 2012 Repertory Season

Highlights Include the SF Ballet Premiere of John Cranko's Onegin, a Newly Designed Production of Tomasson/Possokhov's Don Quixote, Plus World Premieres by Liang, Morris, Page & Possokhov

SAN FRANCISCO, Monday, April 25, 2011—San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in America, has announced the repertory and performance schedule for its 79th Repertory Season. SF Ballet’s 2012 Repertory Season will include the presentation of three full-length works, including the SF Ballet premiere of John Cranko’s Onegin, a newly designed production of Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote, and the return of SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet. In addition, the Company will present an all-Balanchine program, marking the 60th anniversary of SF Ballet performing works by master choreographer George Balanchine.

The 2012 season also includes world premieres by Edwaard Liang, Mark Morris, Ashley Page, and SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov. The season will also feature works by acclaimed choreographers such as George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Rudolf Nureyev, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, Helgi Tomasson, and Christopher Wheeldon.

The 2012 Repertory Season will begin with Nutcracker, which runs December 9 through 27, 2011 for a total of 30 performances. Following the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, January 19, 2012, the season will consist of eight programs performed in alternating repertory, from January 27 to May 5.

“This season, I’m delighted to present the San Francisco Ballet premiere of John Cranko’s renowned full-length production of Onegin, as well as a newly designed production of Don Quixote, which I staged in 2003 with Yuri Possokhov,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “Also, given the importance of new work to our repertory, I am pleased that the Company will present four world premieres by such a talented group of contemporary choreographers.”

2012 Repertory Season Overview

Program 1 opens Friday, January 27 with the SF Ballet premiere of John Cranko’s dramatic, three-act story ballet Onegin, hailed as a “dazzling masterpiece” by the Toronto Sun. This updated production, which the National Ballet of Canada premiered in 2010, features a score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze), scenic and costume design by Santo Loquasto, and lighting design by James F. Ingalls. Based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse Eugene Onegin, Cranko’s version was first presented in 1965 by Stuttgart Ballet and it has been performed by more than 20 companies around the world.

Program 2 opens Tuesday, February 14 and features the return of Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, a world premiere by Mark Morris, and an encore presentation of Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine. McGregor’s Chroma, which had its SF Ballet premiere during the 2011 Season, is set to music by Joby Talbot and Jack White III. This award-winning contemporary work was proclaimed “ravishing on all fronts” by the Sunday Times (UK). Program 2 also features a world premiere work by acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris, who will create his eighth work for the Company. Set to an exhilarating score by Michael Torke, Wheeldon’s Number Nine features a large ensemble of 24 dancers and was first performed by the Company during the 2011 Repertory Season.

Program 3 opens Thursday, February 16 with the revival of Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux (Carnival of the Animals), a world premiere work by SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, and the encore of Tomasson’s Trio. Set to Camille Saint-Saëns beloved score, Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux is set in a menagerie come to life. This light-hearted, comedic piece premiered in 2003, and was most recently performed during the Company’s tour to London in 2004. Having garnered critical and audience acclaim for his latest works, Possokhov will create a new ballet for the Company. Set to Tchaikovsky’s string sextet Souvenir de Florence, Tomasson’s Trio, which debuted during the 2011 Repertory Season, receives an encore performance.

Program 4 opens Tuesday, March 6 with the return of Tomasson’s full-length classic Romeo & Juliet. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s famous score, this lavish production features scenic and costume design by Jens Jacob Worsaae and lighting design by Thomas R. Skelton. Based on the play by William Shakespeare, the full-length production portrays an ill-fated romance, set against the splendor of Renaissance Italy. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “visually stunning,” the work premiered in 1994 and was most recently performed during the 2010 Repertory Season.

Program 5 opens Wednesday, March 21 with the revival of Helgi Tomasson’s The Fifth Season, a world premiere work by Edwaard Liang, and the return of Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces. Set to the music of Karl Jenkins, Tomasson’s The Fifth Season premiered in 2006 and was most recently performed during the Company’s 75th Anniversary Tour in 2008. Named by Dance Magazine as one of the “Top 25 to Watch,” choreographer Edwaard Liang will create a new work for SF Ballet. This work will be his first created expressly for the Company, however two ballets by Liang have recently been featured in SF Ballet’s repertory: Distant Cries, which premiered at the Opening Night Gala in 2008, and Somewhere in Time, which premiered at the Opening Night Gala in 2011. The program concludes with Robbins’ Glass Pieces, set to a score by Philip Glass. Capturing the pulsing energy of city life, the work was first performed by New York City Ballet in 1983. It entered SF Ballet’s repertory in 1998 and was last performed in 2006 (an excerpt was performed at Muriel Maffre’s farewell performance in 2007).

Program 6 opens Friday, March 23 and showcases Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III, an encore presentation of Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU, and a world premiere by Ashley Page. Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III is set to a score by Alexander Glazunov and features scenic and costume design by Barry Kay. Raymonda was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg in 1898. SF Ballet will perform Nureyev’s staging of Act III, which was presented as part of the full work by The Royal Ballet at the Spoleto Festival in 1964. The program also includes Possokhov’s RAkU, which debuted during the 2011 Repertory Season. This theatrical work is set to an original score by SF Ballet Orchestra member Shinji Eshima, and was hailed as “a gripping, virtuoso piece” by the San Francisco Examiner. The program concludes with a world premiere by Ashley Page, a noted choreographer and current artistic director of Scottish Ballet. Prior to leading Scottish Ballet, Page was a dancer and choreographer with The Royal Ballet in London.

Program 7 opens Thursday, April 12 with three works by master choreographer George Balanchine. This program opens with Divertimento No. 15, set to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The work was first performed in 1956 by New York City Ballet, and entered the SF Ballet repertory in 1979. The work was last performed by the Company in 2008, as part of the 75th Anniversary Season and American Tour. The revival of Scotch Symphony marks the first time this ballet has been performed by the Company in more than 4o years. 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. The program concludes with Balanchine’s neoclassical masterpiece The Four Temperaments, set to music by Paul Hindemith. Originally performed by Ballet Society (a precursor to New York City Ballet) in 1946, this large-scale work for 25 dancers was first danced by SF Ballet in 1974 and most recently during the 2009 Repertory Season.

Program 8 opens Friday, April 27 with a newly designed production of Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov’s staging of Don Quixote. The three-act story ballet, set to a vibrant score by Léon Minkus, will feature all-new scenic and costume design by Tony-award winner Martin Pakledinaz, with lighting design by James F. Ingalls. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ book from 1605, the ballet was first performed by the Russian Imperial Ballet at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in 1869 and included original choreography by Marius Petipa. SF Ballet premiered the staging by Tomasson and Possokhov (with scenic and costume design by Jens Jacob Worsaae) in 2003, and the ballet was last performed by the Company during the 2007 Repertory Season.

This new production of Don Quixote is made possible by the generosity of Lead Sponsor Jeannik Mequét Littlefield and Major Sponsors Joyce and Larry Stupski and the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation through the SF Ballet New Productions Fund. SF Ballet would like to thank the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation for its leadership role in launching the New Productions Fund.

During the 2012 Repertory Season, the Company will perform a total of 56 subscription performances. Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday evening performances are at 8pm; Wednesday evening performances are at 7:30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2pm. The SF Ballet Orchestra will accompany all programs.

With Special Thanks
Koret Foundation is the 2012 Story Ballet Sponsor.

American Airlines is the Preferred Airline of San Francisco Ballet.

William Hill ® Estate Winery and La Marca™ Prosecco are the featured wine and sparkling wine of San Francisco Ballet.

"Meet the Artist" Interviews and "Pointes of View" Lecture Series
SF Ballet will continue to present the entertaining and informative “Meet the Artist” series, held in conjunction with the opening night of each program, as well as all Friday evening and Sunday matinee performances. The 30-minute interviews with Company artists, management, and guests of SF Ballet begin one hour prior to performance, and all ticket holders are invited to attend free of charge. In addition, SF Ballet will present eight “Pointes of View” lectures during the season, on select Wednesday evenings. Each lecture will focus on the program to be performed that evening and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Subscription Tickets
Three, five, and eight program subscription packages to SF Ballet’s 2012 Repertory Season range in price from $52–3,952 and are on sale to the public now. For information, please call Ticket Services at 415.865.200o or visit Phone hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Single Tickets
Individual tickets for SF Ballet’s 2012 Repertory Season, starting at $22, will be available for advance sale online at beginning November 16 or by calling 415.865.2000, beginning January 9, 2012.

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company and one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933. It performed the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first production of Coppélia choreographed by an American choreographer. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam, and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances a year locally, nationally, and abroad. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for twenty-five years, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, its first, in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance,” and a year later, was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, San Francisco Ballet celebrated its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives that included a New Works Festival of 10 world premieres by 10 renowned choreographers. 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of SF Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s tenure with the Company.

* * * *