Press Releases

January 21, 2014

San Francisco Ballet Announces Program Casting for its 81st Repertory Season Opening Night Gala

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

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, January 22, 2014—Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson has announced the repertory for San Francisco Ballet’s 2014 Opening Night Gala, with the theme of PHENOMENAL, on Wednesday, January 22 at 8pm at the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Ballet is America’s oldest professional ballet company and in fall 2013, the Company was deemed “a national treasure” by The New York Times when it performed on tour at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

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

Gala Performance
The program will begin with the pas de cinq from Act I of Tomasson’s full-length Giselle, which SF Ballet premiered in 1999. Hansuke Yamamoto, Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, Clara Blanco, Sasha De Sola, and Julia Rowe will perform the pas de cinq. The full production, which was last performed on the 2011 Repertory Season, is featured on Program 1 of the Company’s upcoming 2014 Repertory Season. A ballet classic, Giselle is set to the music of Adolphe Adam and was first performed by the Paris Opera Ballet in 1841. Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz will perform Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov’s Talk to Her (hable con ella). Created for the 2011 Opening Night Gala, the work is set to music by Alberto Iglesias. The San Francisco Chronicle noted of the work: “all party pieces should look so satisfying.” Frances Chung will perform the solo from Val Caniparoli’s acclaimed Lambarena, which SF Ballet premiered in 1995. Lambarena, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with traditional African music, was hailed by The New Times as a “crowd pleaser” and has been performed by numerous companies worldwide. Simone Messmer and Ruben Martin Cintas will perform a pas de deux to “The Man I Love,” one of the George and Ira Gershwin songs from George Balanchine’s ballet Who Cares? The full work was first performed by New York City Ballet in 1960 and first performed in full by SF Ballet in 1992. SF Ballet last performed “The Man I Love” from Who Cares? on the 2010 Opening Night Gala. Sofiane Sylve, Sarah Van Patten, Luke Ingham, and Anthony Spaulding will perform the United States premiere of Hans van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples, which won a Benois de la Danse Award for Best New Choreographic Work in 2012. The piece is set to music by Benjamin Britten, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Stefan Kovács Tickmayer, and Aster Piazzolla. Vanessa Zahorian and Taras Domitro will perform the SF Ballet premiere of Diana and Acteon pas de deux with choreography after Agrippina Vaganova. The piece is set to music by Cesare Pugni, arranged by John Lanchbery.  Following intermission, Maria Kochetkova and Guest Artist Johan Kobborg will perform the SF Ballet premiere of the bedroom scene pas de deux from Act I of MacMillan’s Manon. The work was premiered by The Royal Ballet in 1974 and is set to music by Jules Massenet. Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins, a gala piece for three dancers and an SF Ballet premiere, was first performed in 2009 by The Royal Ballet and is a light-hearted “dance-off,” set to music by Henri Wieniawski and Antonio Bazzini. The Royal Ballet has since toured the work and it has been performed at a number of galas and festivals worldwide. Dores Andre, Esteban Hernandez, and Gennadi Nedvigin will perform the work. When Sir Kenneth MacMillan first became director of the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper in 1966, he created two new works for his first program, one of which was Concerto set to the Adagio from Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The second movement is one of MacMillan’s most beautiful and well known pas de deux’s and is an SF Ballet premiere. It will be performed by Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets, and other artists of the Company. Mathilde Froustey and Davit Karapetyan will perform Grand Pas Classique by Russian choreographer Victor Gsovsky, which premiered in Paris in 1949, and pays homage to classical dance. With music by François Auber, this pas de deux was first performed by SF Ballet in 1998. The United States Premiere of Edwaard Liang’s pas de deux, Finding Light, will be performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith. Set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, the work was last performed by both dancers at London’s Sadler’s Wells in November 2013 and had its world premiere in 2012 in China. To finish the program, Sofiane Sylve, Luke Ingham, and other artists of the Company will perform the fourth movement from Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, which was first performed by SF Ballet in 1985. The ballet was created for New York City Ballet in 1966 and is set to the music of Johannes Brahms, with orchestration by Arnold Schoenberg.

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 PHENOMENAL. Miss Tanya Marietta Powell is the Auxiliary Gala chair; Patricia Ferrin Loucks is the Gala dinner chair; and Ms. Shelley Gordon 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®, sparkling wine courtesy of La Marca Prosecco®, vodka provided by Blue Angel Vodka, and water by Crystal Geyser.

At City Hall, the dinner décor for the evening will be created by J. Riccardo Benavides of i•de•as. Guests will be surrounded by a mix of old-world elegance and contemporary embellishments to commemorate the phenomenal past, present, and future of SF Ballet. Throughout City Hall, Immersive—a local production company—will wrap the building’s interior with elegant and awe-inspiring projection visuals. The cutting-edge projection mapping will include custom slow-motion footage, 40 feet high, of SF Ballet dancers in the Rotunda and another 150 foot wrap-around projection in the North Light Court. Mirrored obelisks adjoining the grand staircase will lend a modern twist. Rotunda tables will feature pewter-toned velvets with gold accents and floral centerpieces of cerulean and aubergine tones. The subtly layered color palette reflects a simple and understated elegance, while evoking a contemporary feel.

The South Light Court will feature an antique bar with a floral focal point. French-inspired furnishings will include soft lush textiles and mirrored tables, with reflections of soft blue atmospheric lighting. Modernism Inc. will be adding to the décor in the South Light Court by providing two contemporary paintings from their gallery for the evening. The North Light Court will feature shimmering silver linens and white and oyster-hued centerpieces.

The Presenting Sponsor is Osterweis Capital Management. The Benefactor Dinner is sponsored by KPMG, and the Patron Dinner is sponsored by J.P. Morgan.  The Performance is sponsored by Elizabeth Pang Fullerton and Richard Fullerton.  The After Party is sponsored by HSBC Private Bank. The Grand Benefactor Reception Sponsor and Launch Party Host is BVLGARI.  The Invitation Sponsor is Pacific Union—Christie’s International Real Estate. Nob Hill Gazette is the Grand Benefactor Dinner Media Sponsor and 7x7 is the Gala Performance and After Party Media Sponsor.  The Grand Benefactor and Benefactor Party was hosted by Asim and Isha Abdullah, while the Patron Party was hosted by COUP D’ETAT.

In addition, ENCORE!, the social and networking group of young professionals supporting SF Ballet, will host a cocktail buffet in the South Light Court beginning at 6:15pm. ENCORE! Gala is sponsored by Men’s Wearhouse. The reception will feature specialty cocktails and heavy hors d’ouvres by McCall Associates. Wine is provided by William Hill Estate Winery®, and sparkling wine is courtesy of La Marca Prosecco®. Vodka provided by Blue Angel Vodka and water by Crystal Geyser. The ENCORE! Launch Party was hosted by Nespresso USA. Alyson Blume is ENCORE! Gala Chair and Greer Goings is ENCORE! Gala Vice Chair. To purchase tickets or for more information on the ENCORE! Gala, visit

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, sponsored by HSBC Private Bank, will be held in City Hall from 10pm–1am. The After Party celebration will feature DJ Chris Clouse and live music by David Martin's House Party, a monochrome photo booth by mirmir photo™, dancing, as well as 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. To purchase, visit or call 415.865.2000.

Gala performance tickets are currently on sale to the public and are $50-300. Tickets for the After Party are $125 for the general public. To order, visit or call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000, Monday through Friday from 10am–4pm. THE GRAND BENEFACTOR, BENEFACTOR, AND PATRON DINNERS—AS WELL AS THE PERFORMANCE—ARE ALL SOLD-OUT.

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