Press Releases

January 20, 2016

SF Ballet Announces Program & Casting for its 83rd Repertory Season Opening Night Gala Thursday, January 21 at 8pm

SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday, January 21, 2016—Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson has announced the repertory for San Francisco Ballet’s 83rd Repertory Season Opening Night Gala, with the theme of Provocative, on Thursday, January 21 at 8pm at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. The Gala launches the 2016 Season, which includes three acclaimed full-length productions: Tomasson’s Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Coppélia, and John Cranko’s Onegin; the North American premiere of William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts; works by a wide variety of choreographers such as Jerome Robbins and Christopher Wheeldon; plus world premieres by Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck. 2016 also marks the 40th anniversary of the prestigious SF Ballet Orchestra, which is widely recognized as one of the best ballet orchestras in the country.

Twelve classical and contemporary works and excerpts will be presented as part of this one-night-only program. In addition, following the intermission, the SF Ballet Orchestra will perform “Infernal Dance” from Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird in celebration of their anniversary.

Gala Performance
The program will begin with the “Waltz of the Hours” from Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine’s Coppélia. The original production of the ballet was first performed in 1870 by Paris Opéra Ballet, with choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon. The Danilova/Balanchine production was premiered by New York City Ballet in 1974, with SF Ballet first performing this version on the 2011 Season. The comedic ballet, a co-production with Pacific Northwest Ballet, will be performed in full by the Company on Program 4 of the 2016 Season. Tomasson’s Bartok Divertimento, proclaimed “excellent” by the Bay Area Reporter, was created in 2002 and is set to music by Béla Bartók. Most recently, the finale of the work for four dancers was presented at the 2015 SF Ballet School Student Showcase performance and will be performed by SF Ballet School Trainee Natasha Sheehan and Company members Max Cauthorn, Esteban Hernandez, and Wei Wang. Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz will perform a world premiere by Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, currently celebrating his tenth year in this position. The new work, “Adagio” from the ballet Carmen, will feature music by Rodion Shchedrin. Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is a tour-de-force work created in 1960. The eight-minute work features music that was originally created for Act III of Swan Lake and was last performed by SF Ballet in 2009. Frances Chung and Gennadi Nedvigin will perform the pas de deux. Dores André and Joan Boada will perform a pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance)©, a 19-minute ballet which was created for New York City Ballet in 2002 and was first performed by SF Ballet in 2007 and last performed a year later. Set to “If I Loved You” by Richard Rodgers (arranged and orchestrated by William David Brohn), the ballet was called “terrific” by the New York Times. Vanessa Zahorian and Taras Domitro will perform a pas de deux from Act III of Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote. This version of the production was choreographed in 2003, with updated scenic and costume designs by Martin Pakledinaz and lighting design by James F. Ingalls. The original ballet, choreographed by Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa, was first premiered in 1869 by the Imperial Ballet in Russia and last performed by SF Ballet on the 2015 Season.

Following intermission, the SF Ballet Orchestra will perform “Infernal Dance” from Stravinsky’s Firebird. Jiří Bubeníček’s Gentle Memories was a special co-commission by the Mariinsky Theatre and Youth America Grand Prix for the 2012 YAGP “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” gala at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. The work features an original score by composer Karen LeFrak and will be performed by Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets, Vitor Luiz, and Carlos Quenedit. Originally created as part of Balanchine’s full-evening work, Jewels, “Rubies” was first performed as part of the full ballet in 1967 by New York City Ballet. SF Ballet first performed the ballet in 1987 and most recently, in 2009. While each of the three jewel-inspired ballets evokes its own mood, “Rubies” is the witty centerpiece ballet, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. Maria Kochetkova and Pascal Molat will perform a pas de deux from the work. Hans van Manen’s Solo, set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach, was first presented by the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1997. This showcase for three dancers was first performed by SF Ballet in 1999 and last performed by the Company during its 2015 Stern Grove performance. Joseph Walsh, Gennadi Nedvigin, and Hansuke Yamamoto will perform the work. Mathilde Froustey and Davit Karapetyan will perform the Act III pas de deux from Tomasson’s Swan Lake. Set to music by Tchaikovsky, the original production, with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, premiered in 1895 in Russia. Tomasson’s latest production of Swan Lake premiered on the 2009 Season and will be performed on Program 3 of the 2016 Season. Set to music by Thom Willems, William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts was created for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1999 and will have its North American premiere on Program 1 of the 2016 Season. Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno will perform a pas de deux from the work. The gala will conclude with the Company’s performance of the finale from Balanchine’s Theme & Variations. The full ballet for 26 dancers is set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G major and was first performed by American Ballet Theatre in 1947.

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

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

The SF Ballet Auxiliary will host the Grand Benefactor, Benefactor, and Patron dinners in City Hall. All three dinners will have the theme of Provocative. Mrs. William S. Brandenburg is the Gala chair and SF Ballet Trustee Christine Leong Connors is the Gala dinner chair. The Honorary Chairs are Barbro and Bernard Osher.

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 Mezzanine of the Rotunda. All dinners begin at 6pm. For all dinners, catering will be by McCalls, with sparkling wine courtesy of La Marca Prosecco®, vodka provided by Blue Angel Vodka, and sparkling water by Crystal Geyser.

The Opening Night Gala décor, by J. Riccardo Benavides of Ideas, employs everything from delicate onyx lace, to vivid fuchsia ostrich feathers. Yards and yards of peek-through sheer fabric will be intermixed with lush, sensual velvet textures, including lace and interesting geometric patterns. Intermixed with the soft and fluid will be structured, provocative objects. These designs are a prelude to the combination of fluidity and structure that audiences will see at the performance later in the evening. The major influences for the décor included Christian Dior’s 2016 couture fashion show, which presented an elegant balance of pastel flowing gowns, juxtaposed against an almost unpolished, construction-like runway. The second area of influence were the ballet dancers themselves. Rhonda Mahendroo is décor chair.

The Presenting Sponsor for the evening is Osterweis Capital Management. The Benefactor Dinner is sponsored by KPMG, and the Patron Dinner is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The After Party Sponsor and Launch Party Host is La Perla. Grand Benefactor Reception Sponsor and Patron Party Host is BVLGARI. The Cocktail Reception is sponsored by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The Performance Sponsor is Style Me New LLC the Invitation Sponsor is Pacific Union—Christie’s International Real Estate. The Grand Benefactor Dinner Media Sponsor is the Nob Hill Gazette. The Grand Benefactor and Benefactor Party Hosts were Susan and David Dossetter.

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. The reception will feature specialty cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres by McCalls. Sparkling wine is courtesy of La Marca Prosecco®, vodka is provided by Blue Angel Vodka, and sparkling water is provided by Crystal Geyser. The ENCORE! Launch Party was hosted by Ligne Roset San Francisco. Sunil Sharma is ENCORE! Gala Chair and Elizabeth Sgarrella is ENCORE! Gala Vice 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, sponsored by La Perla, will be held in City Hall from 10pm-1am. The After Party celebration will feature DJ Chris Clouse, silent disco by Silent Storm, live music by Super Diamond, a monochrome photo booth by mirmir photo™, dancing, as well as an open bar with specialty cocktails and late-night fare by McCalls. The After Party will feature elements of the “Provocative” décor with a lounge swathed in combinations of velvet and sheer peek-through fabrics. 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 $58-325. To order, visit or call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000, Monday through Friday from 10am–4pm.

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