“Tis the Season”—San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker” opens Wednesday at War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco Ballet’s magical production of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker opens Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at War Memorial Opera House, and is always a special treat with its distinctive bow to San Francisco. Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s production of the Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov classic, now in its 10th offering at SF Ballet, is set in San Francisco on Christmas Eve during the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exposition and features SF Ballet’s world class dancers in top form. The 1915 world’s fair was an extraordinary event that transformed San Francisco into a dream-like city of magical domes and pastel-colored buildings, the romance of which is captured beautifully in the gorgeous period sets by Michael Yeargan and James K. Ingalls’ projections. The ballet opens with a stunning collage of black and white photos from the actual world’s fair, with shots of the Palace of Fine Arts, the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, and the famous “Painted Lady” Victorians of Alamo Square. It gradually narrows in on 100 painted Victorian windows until landing at the toymaker Drosselmeyer’s window and the mysterious world of magic and wonder contained therein. The photos on the fireplace wall at the home in Act I are family photos of the founders of San Francisco Ballet, the visionary Christensen Brothers. And, in the Act I battle scene (between the mice and the gingerbread soldiers), the giant fireplace stands 22 feet tall and 19 feet wide, about the size of two SF cable cars stacked on top of each other. The gorgeous combination of dance, Tchaikovsky’s romantic music and the beautiful costumes are punctuated by real magic tricks, orchestrated by the production’s own magic consultant, Menlo Park illusionist Marshall Magoon. He has made sure that Uncle Drosselmeyer, who makes toys change size and come to life, is unforgettable. Of course, the very best trick up Drosselmeyer’s sleeve is when he commands the Christmas tree to grow and grow and GROW and it does! And under SF Ballet music director and principal conductor Martin West, the gorgeous Tchaikovsky score, played by the SF Ballet Orchestra, should pop with color. Mesmerizing in all respects, SF Ballet’s production is the granddaddy of all the Bay Area productions and an excellent opportunity to see professional ballet at its finest. Plan on taking the family, or someone very special, to this delightful holiday classic.
Family Performances: free treats! and photo ops— For five performances only, the first 500 children to arrive receive a special gift and everyone enjoys complimentary beverages and sweet treats by Miette, the official bakery of SF Ballet’s Nutcracker, at intermission. For 30 minutes only, starting one hour prior to curtain, Nutcracker characters are available for photos, so arrive early and bring your camera! Family Performance Dates: Thurs/Dec 12, 7pm, Buy Tickets; Fri/Dec 13, 2pm; Buy Tickets; Fri/Dec 13, 7pm, Buy Tickets; Sun/Dec 15, 7pm, Buy Tickets; Tues/Dec 17, 7pm, Buy Tickets
Stop off before the performance or at intermission for delectable sweet treats at Candyland, now located in the North Grand Tier Lobby. Only $5 per box!
Attending a matinee performance on Sunday, December 15, 22, or 29? Make it a full day of holiday celebration with Breakfast with Santa before the show!
The History of SF Ballet’s “Nutcracker”
Nutcracker opens Wednesday, December 11, 2013 and runs through Sunday, December 29, 2013.
Parking: Civic Center Garage (on McAllister Street between Larkin and Polk); Performing Arts Garage (on Grove between Franklin and Gough streets); Opera Plaza Garage (valet only, 601 Van Ness, enter on Turk). . Traffic delays are common particularly on 101 Southbound and parking can be time-consuming, so plan adequately.
Arrival Time: Plan to arrive early to enjoy the sumptuous atmosphere and to ensure that you are seated. The theater enforces a no late seating policy and guests will not be seated after the lights have dimmed. Latecomers will be asked to stand until there is a break in the program, and will be seated at management’s discretion.
Run-time: Two hours—Act I (47 min); Intermission (20 min); Act II: (57 min)
Bringing Children: San Francisco Ballet recommends that children attending Nutcracker be at least 5 years old. Any child who can sit in his own seat and quietly observe a two-hour performance without questions is welcome. Booster seats for children are provided free of charge for use on the Orchestra level. No infants may be brought to a performance. Parents should take children creating a disturbance during the ballet out of the performance hall.
SF Ballet’s 2014 Season
PROGRAM 1—Full-length GISELLE
Adam/Tomasson after Petipa/Melbye/Pinkham
Performances: Jan 25 eve, 26 mat, 28 eve, 29 eve, 30 eve, 31 eve, Feb 1 mat & eve, 2 mat
PROGRAM 2—FROM FOREIGN LANDS
Performances: Feb 18 eve, 19 eve, 21 eve, 23 mat, 27 eve, Mar 1 mat & eve
“THE KINGDOM OF THE SHADES” from LA BAYADÈRE, Act II
Minkus/Makarova after Petipa
Performances: Feb 20 eve, 22 mat & eve, 25 eve, 26 eve, 28 eve, Mar 2 mat
PROGRAM 4—Full-length CINDERELLA
Performances: Mar 11 eve, 12 eve, 13 eve, 14 eve, 15 mat & eve, 16 mat, 22 mat & eve, 23 mat
PROGRAM 5— NEW RATMANSKY#
Performances: Apr 2 eve, 3 eve, 5 mat & eve, 8 eve, 11 eve, 13 mat
NEW TOMASSON—THE RITE OF SPRING
Performances: Apr 4 eve, 6 mat, 9 eve, 10 eve, 12 mat & eve, 15 eve
PROGRAM 7 —THE FIFTH SEASON
NEW LIAM SCARLETT SUITE EN BLANC
Performances: Apr 29 eve, 30 eve, May 2 eve, 4 mat, 8 eve, 10 mat & eve
Brahms, Schoenberg/Balanchine/after Karinska
Performances: May 1 eve, 3 mat & eve, 6 eve, 7 eve, 9 eve, 11 mat
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