Geneva Anderson digs into art

San Francisco Ballet closes its season with “Don Quixote”—all new costumes and scenery, this Friday through May 6, 2012

Vanessa Zahorian, a principal with SF Ballet since 2002, dances the lead role of Kitri on opening night of Tomasson/Possokhov’s “Don Quixote,” at SF Ballet through May 6, 2012. Photo: © Erik Tomasson

Driven by stories of ancient rivalries and his vision of female perfection—Dulcinea—the wildly romantic aging nobleman Don Quixote sets off on an epic journey with his trusty squire Sancho Panza in tow.  When he encounters the lovely Kitri in a gypsy camp, he is smitten believing that he has found his Dulcinea.  Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov’s staging of Russian master choreographers Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky’s 1869 Don Quixote returns to San Francisco Ballet this Friday, April 27, 2012, with spectacular all-new scenery and costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz.   There are just 10 performances of SF Ballet’s highly anticipated season closer and if you are going to be impacted by this weekend’s Doyle Drive closure, you can skip the opening weekend and attend the following week, which offers 7 performances, starting Tuesday May 1, through Sunday, May 6, 2012, including convenient Saturday and Sunday matinees.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson/Possokhov’s “Don Quixote,” which includes live animals on stage, at SF Ballet through May 6, 2012. Photo: © Erik Tomasson

Miguel de Cervantes’ romantic and witty story, placed in the colorful streets of Spain, comes to life with comes to life with a lively cast of characters and the bravado and excitement of some of classical ballet’s most technically demanding dances.  Under the expert conducting of Martin West and David Briskin, Austrian composer Léon Minkus’ lushly light and melodic music with its clear dance rhythms will be brought to life.

Traditionally, the scene stealer in this ballet is the live horse or donkey that makes a stage appearance, delighting the audience to no end.  Most of the dancing glory in this sweeping classic ballet is in the lead role of Kitri.  Vanessa Zahorian will dance the opening and Maria Kochetkova and Frances Chung will alternate thereafter.  All eyes will be upon Kitri as she executes dozens of fouteé turns and triple pirouettes in the grand pas de deux which will also see her Basilio put through his paces.  Joan Boada, will dance the role of the barber Basilio for the opening, with Taras Domitro, Vitor Luiz, Davit Karapetyan and Gennadi Nedvigin alternating in subsequent performances.

Helgi Tomasson, SF Ballet’s Artistic Director, discusses  Martin Pakledinaz’s costumes for Don Quixote:


SF Ballet’s 2013 Season:  San Francisco Ballet is the oldest professional ballet company in America and, in 2013, will celebrate 80 years of performances.  SF Ballet’s 2013 Repertory Season will begin with Nutcracker, which runs December 7 through 28, 2012 for a total of 31 performances.  Following the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, January 24, 2013, the season will consist of eight programs performed in alternating repertory, from January 29 to May 12. The season includes the U.S. premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length Cinderella; the Northern California premiere of Nijinsky by Hamburg Ballet Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier, which will be performed on Program 2 by the renowned Hamburg Ballet; the SF Ballet premiere of Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc; plus world premieres by Wayne McGregor, SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, and Alexei Ratmansky. The season will also feature works by acclaimed choreographers such as George Balanchine, John Cranko, Edwaard Liang, Mark Morris, Rudolf Nureyev, Ashley Page, Jerome Robbins, and San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. For detailed programming information and subscription and ticket information go to SF Ballet’s  2013 season announcement.

Details: Don Quixote opens Friday, April 27, 2012 and runs through May 6, 2012 at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, in San Francisco’s Civic Center.  (415) 865-2000 or

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Dance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment