UPDATE, February 3, 2020—A rotating selection of short pieces to replace Liam Scarlett’s Hummingbird, removed from Classical (Re)Vision’s program on January 30, has been announced: the Company will dance Val Caniparoli’s Foreshadow, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, and Helgi Tomasson’s Soirees Musicales on Tuesday, February 11 at 7:30 pm; Friday, February 14 at 8 pm; and Saturday, February 22 at 8 pm. Myles Thatcher’s 05:49, Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie, and Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique will complete the program on Wednesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 pm. On Sunday, February 16 and Saturday, February 22 at 2 pm, the remaining program will be Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, David Dawson’s Swan Lake pas de deux, and Tomasson’s Concerto Grosso.
SAN FRANCISCO, January 29, 2020—San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) continues its 2020 Repertory Season with triple-bill programs 02, Classical (Re)Vision (February 11-22); and 03, Dance Innovations (February 13-23), offering a selection of classical and contemporary ballets that highlight the range of SF Ballet’s dancers’ talents. Classical (Re)Vision includes three works created on SF Ballet dancers: Sandpaper Ballet by Mark Morris, Hummingbird by Liam Scarlett of Frankenstein renown, and Bespoke by Stanton Welch. Dance Innovations features the world premiere performances of Trey McIntyre’s The Big Hunger, set to Prokofiev’s fiendishly difficult Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by 2017 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Yekwon Sunwoo. Dance Innovations also includes Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean and Etudes by Harald Lander. SF Ballet’s Nite Out, a series of post-performance parties that celebrate the Bay Area’s LGBTQ+ community and the organizations that support it, returns on Saturday, February 22 at 8 pm during Classical (Re)Vision. All performances of Classical (Re)Vision and Dance Innovations are held at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.
Nite Out, SF Ballet’s long-running series of performances and post-show parties that celebrate diversity and the LGBTQ+ community through dance, returns on Saturday, February 22 during Classical (Re)Vision, with repeat Nite Out events on March 27 (Program 05, Ballet Accelerator) and April 17 (Program 07, Jewels). Following the 8 pm performances, a party with specialty cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, guest entertainment, music, and dancing will take place in the lower level of the War Memorial Opera House. Lyric Center for LGBTQQ Youth, The Transgender Law Center, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights will be individually celebrated at each Nite Out event, beginning with Lyric Center for LGBTQQ Youth for the February 22 performance. Single tickets start at $49 for both the performance and party—a marked discount from prior years—and patrons who buy all three performances together can attend the post-show parties for free.
Program 02, Classical (Re)Vision
Onstage February 11–22, Program 02, Classical (Re)Vision, offers three ballets created for SF Ballet over a span of two decades. Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet, created in 1999 with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi, is a rare work in the repertory that sets neoclassical ballet to “funny” music—in this case, nostalgic pop-orchestral tunes by Leroy Anderson: “Sleigh Ride,” “Fiddle-Faddle,” “The Typewriter,” “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” “The Syncopated Clock,” and more. “I didn’t trust ballet orchestras,” the choreographer writes in Out Loud, his new memoir written in collaboration with Wesley Stace. “It turned out that the San Francisco Ballet orchestra was very good.” It was then Morris’ “apology and joke” to set the ballet, his second work for the Company, to Anderson’s novelty tunes. Staged by longtime Morris-collaborator Tina Fehlandt and with lighting by James F. Ingalls, Sandpaper Ballet is one of seven ballets that Morris, one of the world’s most influential choreographers, has created for SF Ballet—more than he’s created for any other company.
Classical (Re)Vision also features Liam Scarlett’s “utterly compelling…deeply laden with emotion” (SeeingDance) Hummingbird from 2014, his first piece for SF Ballet before his full-length Frankenstein premiered in 2017. Set to Philip Glass’ three-movement Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Hummingbird, like Frankenstein, uses lighting design by David Finn and scenic and costume designs by John Macfarlane, both frequent collaborators with San Francisco Opera and designers of international renown. Hummingbird includes eighteen dancers, including three principal couples, two soloist couples, and a corps de ballet ensemble. In Hummingbird, “It’s the subtleties of the simplistic stuff that I find fun to hone in on,” says Scarlett, who became The Royal Ballet’s first Artist in Residence in 2012 at the age of 26. “It’s trying to make it as real as possible… [to forget] it’s a dance piece you’re watching, because it’s so human.” When SF Ballet brought Hummingbird to Sadler’s Wells in London in June 2019, Dance Europe hailed it as a “perfect mix of music, choreography, staging…it takes your breath away.”
Classical (Re)Vision also includes another abstraction of human experience: Australian choreographer Stanton Welch’s Bespoke, set to the violin concertos in A minor and E major by J.S. Bach. Welch’s sixth ballet for the Company, Bespoke premiered at the 2018 Unbound festival and is inspired by the brevity of a ballet dancer’s career, incorporating ports de bras reminiscent of the hands on a clock. “Your love affair with ballet, your time with ballet is short,” Welch says. “Eventually you lay down, and dance keeps moving. It’s a bittersweet thing.” With a cast of twelve dancers, Bespoke uses costume designs by Holly Hynes and lighting design by James F. Ingalls. Bachtrack reported that the ballet, after its London premiere with the Company in June 2019, offers “wave after wave of gleeful, ebullient, quicksilver and frequently airborne movement…providing material that allows each of the twelve dancers to have their moment in the spotlight.”
Program 03, Dance Innovations
Onstage February 13–23, Program 03, Dance Innovations presents the previously announced world premiere performances of Trey McIntyre’s The Big Hunger, set to Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The piece will be performed by 2017 Van Cliburn gold medalist Yekwon Sunwoo, celebrated as “a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat” (Chicago Tribune). For McIntyre, whose more than 100 dance pieces are often set to pop music, The Big Hunger’s use of the piano concerto is an exciting departure from his recent work: “My background is in classical piano, so it was a conscious choice to move in that direction. [The concerto is] melodic and danceable but discordant and strange, off-putting, embracing, and lovely. The piece is brilliant.” SF Ballet Orchestra Music Director & Principal Conductor Martin West will lead the Grammy Award-winning SF Ballet Orchestra for the performances, which include scenic and costume designs by Thomas Mika and lighting designs by Jim French.
Dance Innovations continues with Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean, his third work for the Company that premiered during 2018’s Unbound festival. Taipei-born Liang is the artistic director of BalletMet in Ohio, though his youth was spent in Marin County. “[San Francisco Ballet] is a part of me,” Liang said during an SF Ballet interview before the work’s premiere. “It’s like coming home in some sort of way.” Liang created The Infinite Ocean to explore the idea of being reconnected with his deceased father, who died when Liang was 13, “on the other side of the infinite ocean.” Set to a violin concerto by London-based composer Oliver Davis from 2018, the ballet toured to The Kennedy Center in 2018 and Sadler’s Wells in 2019, during which it was celebrated as “a stunner…a ballet of sheer beauty” by Dance Europe. Six couples wear costumes designed by Mark Zappone; scenic design by Alexander V. Nichols and lighting designs by James F. Ingalls present a thoughtful, sunset-inspired scene modeled after Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project, exhibited at the Tate Modern in 2003.
Harald Lander’s 1948 Etudes, a nod to the rigorous study of classical ballet, completes Dance Innovations’ program. Beginning at the barre, the work evolves into a showcase of Romantic and Classical technique. Five principal dancers and a large corps totaling more than 40 dancers exhibit the progression of a ballet class, from pliés and tendues to dramatic pas de deux and solos. Fellow Dane Knudåge Riisager inspired Lander to create the piece; Riisager orchestrated the progressively challenging études for piano by Carl Czerny, which parallel the increasing difficulty of technique displayed by the dancers on stage. Etudes includes lighting design by the choreographer and Craig J. Miller.
Additional information including videos and interviews about Program 02: Classical (Re)Vision and Program 03: Dance Innovations is available on San Francisco Ballet’s website, in its Discover section. Classical (Re)Vision’s Meet the Artist pre-performance interviews occur on February 11 at 6:30 pm, February 14 at 7 pm, and February 16 at 1 pm. Exploring Sandpaper Ballet on February 9 features Tina Fehlandt, former Mark Morris Dance Group dancer and repetiteur, who teaches about the dance’s history and explores how Sandpaper Ballet became an iconic dance and audience favorite. Dance Innovation’s Meet the Artist pre-performance interviews occur on February 13 at 6:30 pm, February 21 at 7 pm, and February 23 at 1 pm. Classical (Re)Vision’s and Dance Innovations’ Pointes of View lectures are held February 12 and 19, respectively, at 6:00 pm.
Program 02: Classical (Re)Vision and Program 03: Dance Innovations tickets are available now. All tickets may be purchased via the Ticket Services Office at 415-865-2000, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm or online at www.sfballet.org. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
Casting will be available at https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting.
Program 02, Classical (Re)Vision:
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 14, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Program 03, Dance Innovations:
Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Choreographer: Stanton Welch
Costume Design: Holly Hynes
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
World Premiere: April 24, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: Violin Concerto in A Minor BWV 1041 and E Major BWV 1042 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Costumes constructed by Cygnet Studio Inc., New York, New York.
Composer: Philip Glass
Choreography: Liam Scarlett
Scenic and Costume Design: John Macfarlane
Lighting Design: David Finn
World Premiere: April 29, 2014—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Philip Glass, ©Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc., used by permission, and by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Costumes constructed by Parkinson Gill Ltd., London, England. Scenic construction and painting by San Francisco Ballet Carpentry and Scenic Departments at the San Francisco Opera Studios.
Composer: Leroy Anderson
Choreographer: Mark Morris
Staged by: Tina Fehlandt
Costume Design: Isaac Mizrahi
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
World Premiere: April 27, 1999—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: “Sleigh Ride”, “The Typewriter”, “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby”, “Saraband”, “Balladette”, “Jazz Pizzicato”, “Jazz Legato”, “Fiddle-Faddle”, “The Girl in Satin” and “Song of the Bells” used by permission of Woodbury Music Company LLC of Woodbury, CT. (All Rights Reserved). Costumes constructed by Ann Beck Dance and Specialty Costumes, San Francisco. Fabric Screening by Dye-namix, New York, NY.
The Infinite Ocean
Composer: Oliver Davis
Choreographer: Edwaard Liang
Scenic Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
World Premiere: April 26, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: Original composition by Oliver Davis used by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Costumes constructed by Mark Zappone et Co., Seattle, Washington. Scenic construction and painting by San Francisco Ballet Carpentry and Scenic Departments.
The Big Hunger (World Premiere)
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Choreographer: Trey McIntyre
Scenic and Costume Design: Thomas Mika
Lighting Design: Jim French
World Premiere: February 13, 2020—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16, used by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Costumes constructed by Parkinson Gill Ltd. London, United Kingdom. Scenic construction and painting by San Francisco Ballet Carpentry and Scenic Departments.
Ballet by Harald Lander
Choreography: Harald Lander
Music: Knudåge Riisager, after Carl Czerny
Staged by: Johnny Eliasen
Artistic Advisor: Lise Lander
Lighting Design: Harald Lander, Craig J. Miller
World Premiere: January 15, 1948—Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Theater; Copenhagen, Denmark
San Francisco Ballet Premiere: February 3, 1998—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California
Music: Knudåge Riisager’s Etudes after themes of Carl Czerny, used by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Costumes courtesy of Boston Ballet.
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