Press Releases

January 23, 2013

San Francisco Ballet Announces Program and Casting for its 80th Repertory Season Opening Night Gala Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 8pm

Evening Includes Three Benefit Dinners and a One-Time-Only Gala Performance

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, January 23, 2013—Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson has announced the repertory for the 2013 Opening Night Gala, with the theme of Moving the Compass, on Thursday, January 24 at 8pm at the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Ballet is America’s oldest professional ballet company with an illustrious history of “firsts,” including the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker.

Eleven classical and contemporary works and excerpts will be presented as part of this one-night-only program.

Gala Performance
The program will begin with Tarantella, choreographed by George Balanchine and first performed by New York City Ballet in 1964. The pas de deux, set to Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s "Grand Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 67" will be performed by Sasha De Sola and Pascal Molat. Set to the music of George Bizet and choreographed by Roland Petit, l’Arlesienne had its SF Ballet premiere in 2001. Pierre-François Vilanoba will dance the final solo from the work. Clara Blanco and Gennadi Nedvigin will perform August Bournonville’s The Flower Festival at Genzano pas de deux, set to music by Matthias Strebinger, adapted by Holger Simon Paulli, and arranged by William McDermott. In the Passerine’s Clutch, a new piece created by SF Ballet Corps de Ballet Member Myles Thatcher, features music by Wojceich Kilar and is the third work that Thatcher has choreographed. The piece will be performed by Dores André, Dana Genshaft, Joan Boada, and Jaime Garçia Castilla. Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda Act III is set to a score by Alexander Glazunov and was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg in 1898. Lorena Feijoo will perform Raymonda’s solo from Nureyev’s staging of Act III. Helgi Tomasson’s Trio, “showcases dancers handsomely” (according to The New York Times) and features music from Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence.” Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets and Vito Mazzeo will dance the second movement from the work. Finally,  Frances Chung and Taras Domitro will perform the grand pas de deux from Act III of Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky’s Don Quixote.

Following a brief intermission, the gala program will continue with a pas de deux from John Cranko’s Onegin. Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “remarkably imaginative,” Onegin made its SF Ballet premiere in 2012. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, Maria Kochetkova and Vitor Luiz will perform a pas de deux from Act I of the piece. Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, choreographed in 1958 to the music of John Philip Sousa, adapted and orchestrated by Hershy Kay, was first performed in its entirety by SF Ballet in 1981. Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan will perform a pas de deux from the work. Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith will perform the pas de deux from Wheeldon’s After the Rain, with music by Arvo Pärt. The gala program will conclude with excerpts from Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, 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. The Company will present the SF Ballet premiere of the full ballet on January 29, 2013 in Program 1 of its 80th season. The work will feature Sofiane Sylve and Tiit Helimets along with the ensemble.

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

Dinners Benefit San Francisco Ballet
Prior to the Gala performance, three black-tie fundraising dinners will be held in City Hall. All proceeds from the dinners benefit San Francisco Ballet’s annual fund.

The San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary will host the Grand Benefactor, Benefactor, and Patron dinners in City Hall. All three dinners will have the theme of Moving the Compass. Deborah Taylor is the Auxiliary Gala chair; Mrs. Alexander Leff is the Gala dinner chair; and Leslie Ryder is the décor chair.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 5pm in the South Light Court of City Hall for guests of the Grand Benefactor, Benefactor, and Patron dinners. The Grand Benefactor dinner will be held in City Hall’s Rotunda, and the Benefactor dinner and the Patron dinner will both be held in the North Light Court and the Rotunda Mezzanine. All dinners begin at 6pm.

For all dinners, catering will be by McCall Associates, with wine provided by William Hill® Estate Winery, water by Crystal Geyser, and sparkling wine courtesy of La Marca™ Prosecco. Blue Angel Vodka is the vodka sponsor.

At City Hall, the dinner décor for the evening will be created by Blueprint Studios. San Francisco’s historic City Hall will serve as the backdrop for this year’s theme: “Moving the Compass—bridging the globe through the universal language of dance.” Each room will reflect this worldly theme through a uniquely singular and yet unified atlas of color, boldly designed fabrics and light motifs, towering sculptural elements, and elegant furnishings with international flair. The evening will engage all of the senses with global-infused cuisine and décor, highlighting the inherent travel, movement and universality of dance.

Blueprint Studios’ décor inspiration was derived from the dance’s ability to transcend borders. The color palette draws from a rich myriad of cultures from around the world: cobalt blue and chartreuse mingles seamlessly with antiqued copper, pewter and whimsical citrus hues. In the Rotunda, Grand Benefactors will enjoy sparkling European crystal candelabras that complement the contemporary arrangements of cymbidium orchids and deep amber roses, while the Grand Dome of the Rotunda will be illuminated with a vivid projection of an ornate compass.

As a welcoming reception area, the South Light Court will feature a globally informed color scheme of chartreuse and limoges blue with accents of shimmering bronze. Plush textiles juxtaposed with rough-hewn burlap, ikat patterns, and other textures evocative of the near and far east will complement delicately hand-painted vintage compass murals framing the perimeter. All elements of the décor are designed to highlight the theme of travel and cultural discovery through dance.

North Light Court Benefactors and Patrons will enjoy a resplendent atmosphere in a setting inbued with an air of discovery, exotic opulence, and East Asian elegance. The perimeter of the space will showcase floating fabric frescoes adorned with graceful Asian-influenced “sky dancer” cloud and crane patterns.

The Lead Sponsor is Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Grand Benefactor Dinner Sponsor is Bank of America. The Benefactor Dinner is sponsored by KPMG, and the Patron Dinner is sponsored by J.P. Morgan. The After Party is sponsored by HSBC Private Bank. The invitation sponsor is Pacific Union—Christie’s International Real Estate. Nob Hill Gazette is the Grand Benefactors Dinner media sponsor and Scene Magazine is the Gala Performance and After Party media sponsor. WILKES BASHFORD hosted the Launch Party. The Grand Benefactor and Benefactor Party was hosted by Peter Rothen—Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany and Mrs. Gerlind Rothen. The Patron Party was hosted by Bart van Bolhuis—Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in San Francisco.

In addition, ENCORE!, the social and networking group of young professionals supporting SF Ballet, will host a cocktail reception in the South Light Court beginning at 6:15pm. The reception will feature specialty cocktails and hors d’ouvres by McCall Associates. Wine is provided by William Hill® Estate Winery, and water by Crystal Geyser. Sparkling wine is courtesy of La Marca™ Prosecco. Vodka is courtesy of Blue Angel Vodka. Jane Burkhard is ENCORE! President and Gala Chair.

For those attending the Gala performance only, the “Prosecco Promenade” (featuring complimentary La Marca™ Prosecco for all performance ticket holders) will begin at 7pm in the Opera House main lobby.

After Party
The After Party will be held in City Hall from 10pm–1am. The After Party celebration will feature DJ Chris Clouse, live music by Freddy Clarke and Wobbly World, DJ Sebastian Concha, dancing, an open bar with specialty cocktails and late-night fare by McCall Associates. Tickets for the After Party are $100 for SF Ballet subscribers and $125 for non-subscribers.

Tickets for the Opening Night ENCORE! Event Package are $250. A Performance & After Party Package is also available for $150, and a Special After Party group rates are still available. To purchase tickets to the After Party, visit or call 415.865.2000.

Gala performance tickets are currently on sale to the public and are $40–300. Tickets for the After Party are $125 for the general public, $100 for subscribers. To order, visit or call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000, Monday through Friday from 10am–4pm.

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. 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 annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, 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 in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included engagements in London and Washington, D.C., as well as first time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho.

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