Before a line of swans facing left, right feet pointed behind, Siegfried caresses Odette as she balances on pointe, feet crossed

Press Release

Press Release


SAN FRANCISCO, MAY 13, 2021—San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) streams Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake from May 20 to June 9, 2021, closing SF Ballet’s 2021 Digital Season. The archival capture from 2016 stars Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan as Odette-Odile and Tiit Helimets as Prince Siegfried. Called “a runaway box office hit” (San Francisco Chronicle) at its premiere in 2009, Tomasson’s Swan Lake includes set and costume designs by Tony Award–winner Jonathan Fensom and is performed to the score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, conducted in the stream by Music Director Martin West. Swan Lake offers standout roles for the corps of 30 swans and Odette-Odile, whose story is introduced in the prologue. In his 2009 production, Tomasson also notably showcases male dancers in the first act, retains Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s original second act, and adds a divertissement in the third.

San Francisco Ballet presented America’s first full-length production of Swan Lake in 1940, and this production of Swan Lake is Tomasson’s second; the ballet is not only a classic of the repertory, but also an integral part of San Francisco Ballet’s history. It was last seen on stage in the 2017 Repertory Season and will return for live performance in 2022, closing Helgi Tomasson’s farewell season. Single tickets to the digital stream of Swan Lake begin at $29. Casting is available at this link.

Exploring Ballet: Swan Lake takes place live and online Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 6–7:30 pm PDT, featuring former New York Times chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay in presentation about the history and interpretations of Swan Lake. Macaulay’s talk is followed by Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl and Soloist Julia Rowe sharing what it takes to bring this iconic ballet to life. Exploring Ballet: Swan Lake is available for $30; donors or subscribers can view the program for a reduced rate or for free. Pointes of View, a lecture series that takes a deeper dive into performance, will be held online Wednesday, May 26 from 2–2:45 pm PDT, featuring a free, pre-recorded discussion with Helgi Tomasson and Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets about Tomasson’s production of Swan Lake.

SF Ballet has partnered with San Francisco flower company Matilda’s Bloombox for the duration of Swan Lake, offering a $59 package for Bay Area purchasers that includes the Swan Lake stream and a delivered Bloombox, featuring water-based white orchid, white ranunculus, white ‘Tibet’ roses, and California-grown stock. More information can be found at this link.

Single Swan Lake streams are on sale now and priced at $29 for 72-hour access. The duo package offering Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake, priced at $48, is available now. Tickets and packages may be purchased online at sfballet.org. For more information, call Ticket Services at 415-865-2000, Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Click here to view digital viewing tips. Contact Kate McKinney, PR & Communications Manager, with press inquiries and photo requests at kmckinney@sfballet.org.


Swan Lake
Captured on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Black Swan Pas de Deux and Act II Choreography: after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Scenery and Costume Design: Jonathan Fensom
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Projection Design: Sven Ortel
Hair, Wig and Make-Up Design: Michael Ward
Assistant to the Choreographer: Lola de Avila
Rehearsal Assistants: Anita Paciotti, Betsy Erickson, Ricardo Bustamante, Felipe Diaz

Conductor: Martin West
Violin: Cordula Merks
Cello: Eric Sung

World Premiere: March 4, 1877—Bolshoi Theatre; Moscow, Russia
Choreography by Julius Reisinger

Petipa-Ivanov Production Premiere: February 8, 1895—Mariinsky Theatre; St. Petersburg, Russia

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: September 27, 1940—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Choreography by Willam Christensen

Current San Francisco Ballet Production Premiere: February 21, 2009—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

The 2009 world premiere of Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake was made possible by Exclusive Sponsor Mrs. Jeannik Méquet Littlefield. The 2016 redesign of Act I was underwritten by Denise Littlefield Sobel.

This presentation of Swan Lake is made possible by Grand Benefactor Sponsor Diane B. Wilsey; Lead Sponsors Richard Thalheimer and SF Ballet Auxiliary; Major Sponsors Lydia and Steven Bergman, Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. James C. Katzman; and Sponsors
Mr. David A. Kaplan and Mr. Glenn Ostergaard, Christine and Pierre Lamond, and Mr. Jeremy Rishel and Dr. Heather Irina Rishel, with additional support from the Richard B. Gump Fund of the SF Ballet Endowment Foundation.

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, 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. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.