Hummingbirds and bargain seats at the San Francisco Ballet

Buying a $25 ticket for the ballet can be a bit of a gamble. The cheapest seats tend to be the ones furthest back, in the nosebleed section, but you’ll also find them way up close, or way off to the side. (Or, one time, this miracle bargain: http://www.theclassicalgirl.com/how-i-attended-the-san-francisco-ballet-for-14/). Last Saturday night, my $25 seat was … Read more

San Francisco Ballet and the (sorta) first Nutcracker

Willem Christensen and Gisella Caccialanza, 1944 It hadn’t been intended as a “timeless holiday classic,” that first year, on Christmas Eve day, 1944, when Willem Christensen, artistic director of the fledgling San Francisco Ballet, presented to audiences his complete, two-act Nutcracker production. He’d known he was doing something relatively new. The only other complete Nutcracker ballet outside Russia had been in … Read more

Shades, Ghosts and Birds: San Francisco Ballet’s Program 3

My first glimpse of the magic that is “The Kingdom of the Shades” came when I was sixteen, via the opening sequences of the film The Turning Point. The music, the image of twenty-four women attired in white, descending a tiered ramp through silvery lighting, striking arabesques in perfect synchronicity, haunted me. Particularly once I got some … Read more