salome18 Apr 2017

Salome at the SF Bellt

Salome, the biblical girl/femme fatale who danced for her stepfather, Tetrarch Herod, and as a reward, received the head of John the Baptist on a platter, has inspired legions of creators — in literature (Flaubert), theater (Oscar Wilde), cinema (at least 25 versions), art (Caravaggio, Gustave Moreau), and opera (Massenet, Richard Strauss q.v.*). Given the famous “Dance of the Seven Veils,” invented by Oscar Wilde in his 1891 stage play Salome: A Tragedy in One

58afa2e52900002700f2868e25 Feb 2017

Liam Scarlett’s “Frankenstein” at San Francisco Ballet

British choreographer Liam Scarlett has won accolades for his modern classical ballet abstractions, his playful, inventive movement language and excellent spatial control. Young and famous, he got carte blanche from his company, London Royal Ballet, for a big deal, an evening-length Frankenstein ballet, in co-production with San Francisco Ballet and with a score written by Lowell Liebermann for the occasion. Grand or grandiose? One had to wonder. What would qualify the youngster (whose previous short

7-Anecdotes-Destiny-cr5 Feb 2017

Cultural Best of 2016: Opera and Other Feasts

Thinking back, as January invites us to do, my mind leaps to Santa Fe Opera as the high point of the year. Not just because I discovered and fell in love with an opera, but because the pleasure of culture was joined by another pleasure to create a memorable feast. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein: “Opera and food, food and opera, both excellent things.” When you take in 6 operas in 8 days, do you need

2017-02-02-1486022146-2581591-Vessels4-thumb4 Feb 2017

Two World Premieres at San Francisco Ballet — for Better or Worse

It started with the best, in Program 1: Twin brothers groomed by John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet—Jiri Bubenicek, who progressed from dancer to dance maker, and Otto Bubenicek, who became Jiri’s stage designer. Their first creation for SF Ballet, Fragile Vessels, is set to Rachmaninov’s well known, well loved Piano Concerto No 2, and is a master piece in modern classicism, full of emotion, grace and invention. The outstanding musicality of this choreographer translated the stirring,

2-hands21 Dec 2016

Letter to a Man – Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov

A Dark, Arid Exercise of Perfection   Talking about a  new piece by the creative tandem Robert Wilson/Mikhail Baryshnikov without enthusiasm means there has to be some major disappointment. The new collaboration between the two seasoned theatre stars, one of stage direction, the other of dance, follows on the heels of the fantastical The Old Woman (*qv), two years ago. The Old Woman was a mad-cap romp based on an absurdist story by Daniil Kharms,