Photos : Drew Altizer Photography


SF Ballet Announces Casting & Programming for Opening Night Gala,  January 22, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday, January 22, 2015—Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson has announced the repertory for San Francisco Ballet’s82nd Repertory Season Opening Night Gala, with the theme ofInfinite Romance, on Thursday, January 22 at 8pm at the War Memorial Opera House.The 2015 season marks the 30th anniversary of Tomasson’s tenure at SF Ballet where he is the longest serving sole artistic director of any major U.S. ballet company. Under his leadership, the Company has achieved a reputation as one of the world’s most preeminent companies—renowned for its diverse repertory, an abundance of new work by some of the most excitingchoreographers working today, and the versatility of its dancers.

Twelve classical and contemporary works and excerpts will be presented as part of this one-night-only program.

Gala Performance
The program will begin with a seven-minute work, Défilé, choreographed by Tomasson and featuring the full Company, as well as SF Ballet School Trainees and students. The work is set to the music of Johan Svendsen. The program continues with Joan Boada and Pascal Molat performing an excerpt from Renato Zanella’s AllesWalzer, set to the music of Johann Strauss II. The complete work had its world premiere at the Vienna State Opera in 1997 and SF Ballet first performed an excerpt from the ballet for the 2008 Opening Night Gala.Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz will perform the SF Ballet premiere of the Act II pas de deux from Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, which was premiered in full by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 2004. Set in the 1950s, the ballet’s music features themes by Richard Rodgers with arrangements and orchestration by Ron Paley. The full ballet has received audience and critical acclaim and was called “pure entertainment” by the Winnipeg Sun.Next on the program, is a pas de deux from Tomasson’s On a Theme of Paganini, which premiered during the 75th Anniversary Season in 2008.Set to the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, the pas de deux will be performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets.SofianeSylve and Luke Ingham will perform a pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon’s There Where She Loved©, which is set to Je ne t’aime pas by Kurt Weill and Maurice Magre. The full ballet was created for The Royal Ballet in London in 2000, and was first performed by SF Ballet on tour to Edinburgh in 2003.The Company performs Tomasson’s Concerto Grosso, which was created for the 2003 Opening Night Gala and is set to  the music of Francesco Geminiani after ArcangeloCorelli. Declared a “hit” by the San Francisco Chronicle, the work for five men will be performed by Esteban Hernandez, Francisco Mungamba, Wei Wang, Diego Cruz, and Max Cauthorn.Following intermission, the Company will perform the U.S. premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’sSouvenir d’un lieu cher, set to Peter IlyichTchaikovsky’s composition of the same name. The work for two couples was created for the Dutch National Ballet in 2012, as part of their 5oth anniversary program Present/s. Mathilde Froustey, Carlo DiLanno, Sarah Van Patten, and Luke Ingham will perform the work.Yuri Possokhov’sBells, set to piano music by Sergei Rachmaninov, waspremiered by The Joffrey Ballet in 2011. The plotless work for ten dancers includes Possokhov’s interpretation of classical technique and traditional Russian folk dance, and Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan will perform a pas de deux from the work. William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitudewas created for Ballett Frankfurt in 1996 and first performed by SF Ballet two years later. Set to the music of Franz Schubert, the exhilarating piece was last performed by the Company on the 2011 Opening Night Gala and will feature Gennadi Nedvigin, FranciscoMungamba, Dores André, Jennifer Stahl, and Sasha De Sola.In celebration of Tomasson’s 30th anniversary, Christopher Wheeldon has created a special pas de deux, Borealis©, set to The South Downs by Gavin Bryars. Tomasson and SF Ballet have enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Wheeldon over the past 15 years and 12 of his works are currently in SF Ballet’s repertory, with eight of them commissioned expressly for the Company. Borealis©, a world premiere, will be performed by Frances Chung and Joseph Walsh. First performed by SF Ballet in 2012, John Cranko’sOnegin features music by Tchaikovsky, arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze. Based on the poem by Alexander Pushkin, the dramatic, full-length work was originally premiered by Stuttgart Ballet in 1965 and the Act III pas de deux will be performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Vitor Luiz. The pas de deux from Le Corsaire premiered in 1899 and was first performed by SF Ballet in 1964. Set to the music of Riccardo Drigo, the pas de deux was last performed by the Company on the2009Opening Night Gala and will be performed by Vanessa Zahorian and TarasDomitro.

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

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

The San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary will host the Grand Benefactor, Benefactor, and Patron dinners in City Hall. All three dinners will have the theme of Infinite Romance. Shelby T. Strudwickis the Gala chair and Carolyn C. Chang, M.D.,is the Gala dinner chair. The Honorary Chairs are Stephanie and Jim Marver.

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

The Opening Night Gala décor will create a contemporary, romantic atmosphere in City Hall, evocative of the evening’s theme. Using abstract shapes, sensual fabrics, and romantic lighting, the contemporary décor will create an atmosphere of “infinite romance.” For this special occasion, Décor Chair Patty Rockand her Auxiliary colleagues worked with JRiccardo Benavides event styling create the amorous mood for this special evening.

The Presenting Sponsor for the evening is Osterweis Capital Management. The Cocktail Reception is sponsored by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The Benefactor Dinner is sponsored by KPMG, and the Patron Dinner is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.Grand Benefactor Reception Sponsor is Integnology. The Performance Sponsor is Donald F. Houghton. Premieres Sponsor is Denise Littlefield Sobel. The After Party is sponsored by HSBC Private Bank. The Invitation Sponsor is Pacific Union—Christie’s International Real Estate.Nob Hill Gazette is the Grand Benefactor Dinner Media Sponsor and 7x7is the Gala Performance and After PartyMedia Sponsor. The Grand Benefactor Party Host was Ms. Layne Gray. The Launch Party Host was Wilkes Bashford.

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.ENCORE! Gala is sponsored by Men’s Wearhouse. The reception will feature specialty cocktails and heavy hors d’ouvres by McCalls. Wine is provided by William Hill Estate Winery®, sparkling wine is courtesy of La Marca Prosecco®, vodka provided by Blue Angel Vodka,and sparkling water by Crystal Geyser. The ENCORE! Launch Party was hosted by Ligne Roset San Francisco. Greer Goings is ENCORE! Gala Chair and Bridget Dixen Nguyen is ENCORE! Gala Vice Chair. THE E! GALA IS SOLD OUT.

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 HSBC Private Bank, will be held in City Hall from 10pm–1am. The After Party celebration will feature DJ Chris Clouse and live music by Wonderbread 5, a monochrome photo booth by mirmir photo™, dancing, as well as an open bar with specialty cocktails and late-night fare by McCalls. The lighting for the After Party will include shades of indigo blues with accents of hot pink, emerald greens and splashes of amber.  THE AFTER PARTY IS SOLD OUT.