Press Releases

April 15, 2015

SF Ballet Announces Co-Production with The Royal Ballet of New, Full-Length Frankenstein by Liam Scarlett for 2017 Repertory Season

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, April 15, 2015—San Francisco Ballet today announced that it has partnered with The Royal Ballet on a co-production of the gothic classic Frankenstein, choreographed by The Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. The Royal Ballet will premiere the work on May 4, 2016 and SF Ballet will present the full-length production during its 2017 Repertory Season.

Frankenstein will feature a new score commissioned by Lowell Liebermann, designs by John Macfarlane, and lighting design by David Finn. Scarlett has created one other ballet for the Company—Hummingbird—which premiered on the 2o14 Repertory Season and received audience and critical acclaim.

“I am delighted that San Francisco Ballet is partnering with The Royal Ballet on such an ambitious project,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson.  “We’re excited to offer our audiences an all-new, full-length production that promises to be visually rich and powerfully moving, with many roles that will showcase the full Company wonderfully.”

Scarlett’s concept for the ballet is inspired by Mary Shelley’s original novel, which is set in 18th-century Geneva. Countering the common perception that Frankenstein is a horror story, Scarlett, instead, sees the narrative as “an astonishing piece of literature…[about] life, death and above all, love” and his new ballet will explore themes of betrayal, revenge, and acceptance.

The composer, pianist and Juilliard School graduate Lowell Liebermann, has been called “as much of a traditionalist as an innovator” by the New York Times. He has written more than 100 orchestral, opera, and chamber music works, including three commissions for flutist Sir James Galway. Liebermann has been composer in residence at Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan; Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and other organizations. John Macfarlane, who designed Scarlett’s Hummingbird for SF Ballet, is one of the world’s leading designers for opera and ballet, including numerous productions for The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. He was made a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the Government of France in 2003. David Finn’s lighting designs for SF Ballet include Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight and Scarlett’s Hummingbird. The former resident designer for White Oak Dance Project, Finn has designed works by Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and Twyla Tharp, among others; his opera credits include the La Scala, Metropolitan, and San Francisco Operas.

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, 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 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 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included London and Washington, D.C., plus first-time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. In October 2013, the Company performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where The New York Times declared SF Ballet “a national treasure.” In July 2014, the Company toured to Paris as part of Les Etés de la Danse Festival, marking the 10th anniversary of its inaugural engagement with the festival. At Théâtre du Châtelet, SF Ballet presented over 20 works by 15 choreographers over a gala evening and 17 performances.  2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Helgi Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet.

* * * *