Press Releases

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET ANNOUNCES 2011 REPERTORY SEASON HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE THE NEW CO-PRODUCTION & SF BALLET PREMIERE OF GEORGE BALANCHINE’S COPPÉLIA; WORLD PREMIERES BY POSSOKHOV & WHEELDON; PLUS THE RETURN OF GISELLE & THE LITTLE MERMAID

SF Ballet Honors 100th Anniversary of Fokine’s Petrouchka With an Encore Presentation

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, April 21, 2010 — San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in America, has announced the repertory and performance schedule for its 78th Repertory Season. SF Ballet’s 2011 Repertory Season will include the presentation of three full-length works, including a new production of George Balanchine’s Coppélia, co-produced with Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). The production will have its PNB premiere in June 2010 and will be a Company premiere for SF Ballet in March 2011.

The 2011 season also includes two world premieres by Christopher Wheeldon and SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, as well as two SF Ballet premieres by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Wayne McGregor. In addition, the season includes works by acclaimed choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Michel Fokine, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Helgi Tomasson, and Renato Zanella.

The 2011 Repertory Season will begin with Nutcracker, which runs December 9 through 27, 2010 for a total of 30 performances. Following the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, the season will consist of eight programs performed in alternating repertory, from January 29 to May 7.

“In programming the 2011 season, I wanted not only to highlight the depth and breadth of the Company’s talent, but also to offer our audiences a wide array of programming to choose from,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “I am particularly delighted that the Company will offer the San Francisco Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s Coppélia; a work that is very special to me since I performed the role of Franz in the original version of Balanchine’s production.”

2011 Repertory Season Overview

Program 1 opens Saturday, January 29 and features the return of Tomasson’s renowned full-length classic Giselle. Tomasson’s production, which premiered in 1999, was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “Tomasson’s finest achievement.” The two-act production features scenic, costume, and lighting design by Mikael Melbye. Set to the music of Adolphe Adam, the work was first performed by the Paris Opéra Ballet, in 1841, with original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and later, Marius Petipa. SF Ballet last performed the full production on its American Tour in 2008.

The 1999 world premiere of Helgi Tomasson's Giselle was underwritten by The Hellman Family, The Edward E. Hills Fund, Lucy and Fritz Jewett, and an anonymous donor, in honor of Chris Hellman. This project was made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Dance Residency Program (NDRP), a program underwritten by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered at the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Program 2 opens Thursday, February 3 with Ashton’s Symphonic Variations, a world premiere by Possokhov (his 13th work for the Company, including gala works and the co-production of Don Quixote with Tomasson), and the return of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Ashton’s Symphonic Variations, a plotless ballet for six dancers, premiered in 1946 by the Sadler’s Wells (now Royal) Ballet at London’s Royal Opera House. Set to music by César Franck, the work had its SF Ballet premiere in 2004, and was last performed by the Company in 2005. Balanchine’s Symphony in C, set to the music of Georges Bizet, was premiered in 1947 by the Paris Opéra Ballet. SF Ballet first performed the 23-minute piece in 1961, and most recently, in 2007.

Program 3 opens Thursday, February 24 with the encore performance of Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, and the return of Tomasson’s Nanna’s Lied and Forsythe’s Artifact Suite. Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev, had its world premiere during the 2010 Repertory Season and was inspired by ballet history and Possokhov’s own classical Russian ballet training. Tomasson’s Nanna’s Lied was premiered by the Company in 1993, and portrays the dramatic tale of a young woman’s loss of innocence. The work was last performed by the Company in 2003, and is set to the songs of Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollaender. Forsythe’s Artifact Suite was premiered by the Scottish Ballet under the title Suite from Artifact in 2004. Two years later, SF Ballet presented the U.S. premiere of the work, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Eva Crossman-Hecht. The full work was last performed during the 2007 Repertory Season.

Program 4 opens Friday, February 25 with the return of Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, the SF Ballet Premiere of MacMillan’s Winter Dreams, and another work to be announced. Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, for 26 dancers, was premiered in 1947 by Ballet Theatre and is set to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The work was most recently performed by SF Ballet during its 2010 Repertory Season. MacMillan created a pas de deux in 1991, for Darcey Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov, which was performed at the Queen Mother’s 90th Birthday Tribute. This pas de deux became part of the one-act ballet Winter Dreams (based on Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters), which was subsequently filmed for television and broadcast on the BBC in 1992. Set to piano pieces by Tchaikovsky, this dramatic work explores the characters melancholy with their present existence in a Russian provincial town, at the turn of the 20th century.

Program 5 opens Saturday, March 19 with the SF Ballet Premiere of Balanchine’s Coppélia, a co-production with Pacific Northwest Ballet. The popular, comedic ballet, set to a score by Leo Délibes, was first performed by the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1870, with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon. In 1939, SF Ballet presented the first production of Coppélia choreographed by an American choreographer (Willam Christensen). The production centers on two lovers, Swanilda and Franz. A life-like doll, Coppélia, becomes the focus of Franz’s affections until Swanilda tricks him by dressing up and pretending to be the doll. The ballet ends festively with Swanilda and Franz reuniting for a joyous wedding day celebration. This new production of Balanchine’s Coppélia from 1974, includes commissioned scenery and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno.

The San Francisco Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s Coppélia is made possible by Maurice Kanbar, Glenn Kawasaki, Dan & Pam Baty, and Sharon Richardson.

Program 6 opens Thursday, April 7 with the return of Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, the encore presentation of Wheeldon’s Ghosts, and the SF Ballet Premiere of McGregor’s Chroma. Tomasson’s acclaimed 7 for Eight, which was premiered by SF Ballet in 2004, is set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Called “stunning” upon its premiere by the San Francisco Chronicle, the work for eight dancers was last performed by the Company during its 2008 Repertory Season. Wheeldon’s Ghosts, which premiered during SF Ballet’s 2010 Repertory Season, is set to a commissioned score by C.F. Kip Winger. The New York Times called the work “ethereal and substantial.” McGregor’s Chroma is set to the music of The White Stripes, arranged by Joby Talbot and orchestrated by Christopher Austin. Created for The Royal Ballet, the work premiered in 2006 and was McGregor’s first work for the company as resident choreographer. McGregor’s Chroma received a number of awards in 2007, including a Laurence Olivier Award for best new dance production, as well as a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for best classical choreography.

Program 7 opens Friday, April 8 with the return of Fokine’s Petrouchka, Zanella’s Underskin, and a world premiere by Christopher Wheeldon, his seventh work for SF Ballet. SF Ballet first performed Petrouchka, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky, during the 2010 Repertory Season. Originally performed by the Ballets Russes in 1911, the work depicts a dramatic tale of a Russian puppet with a human soul. This season’s presentation of Petrouchka marks the 100th anniversary of the ballet’s creation. Zanella’s Underskin, set to the music of Arnold Schoenberg, premiered during the Company’s 2010 Repertory Season.

From The Hellman Family in honor of Patricia C. Hellman, also known as “Patrichka,” a former professional ballet dancer and soloist with the London Festival Ballet.

Program 8 opens Saturday, April 30 with the encore presentation of Hamburg Ballet Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, set to the commissioned music of Lera Auerbach. The full-length work was originally commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth. Neumeier’s modern and mature interpretation presents the parallels between the fairy tale and the story of its creator. The production premiered in 2005, and features scenic, costume, and lighting design by Neumeier. During the 2010 Repertory Season, the Company presented the U.S. premiere of the work with a week-long run, to sold-out houses.

The 2010 United States premiere of The Little Mermaid was made possible by the generosity of Lead Sponsors Richard C. Barker and the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, and by Major Sponsors Suzy Kellems Dominik, Jennifer Caldwell and John H.M. Fisher, Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation, Alison and Michael Mauzé, and Sponsor Gail and Robert Smelick.

During the 2011 Repertory Season, the Company will perform a total of 56 standard 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

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, call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000.

Subscription Tickets

Three, five, and eight program subscription packages to SF Ballet’s 2011 Repertory Season range in price from $49-3,800 and are on sale to the public now. For information, please call Ticket Services at 415.865.200o or visit sfballet.org. Phone hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Single Tickets

Individual tickets for SF Ballet’s 2011 Repertory Season, starting at $20, will be available for advance sale online at sfballet.org beginning November 17 or by calling 415.865.2000, starting January 10.

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 marks the 25th anniversary of SF Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s tenure with the Company.