SFB Program 3

Another instance of my being this close to not going, and not regretting going in the end. Going to see SFB is kind of expensive: gas is about $10, parking is $12, standing room ticket is $20. So it costs a minimum of $42 and almost 5 hours for one of these events. I guess I could BART up and save a few dollars on transportation, but after this recent article about the unsanitary cesspool that is public transportation (BART in particular, but I assume that this is generalizable everywhere), I have a doubt.

In reality, I was looking forward to seeing program 3 because it contained two pieces which I’ve enjoyed in the past. Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, which premiered last year, was a work that was light and fluffy. I think it’s held pretty well, although it seems just a little less lustrous this year than last. Vanessa Zahorian and Gennadi Nedvigin were great as the leads; VZ still has it going on, despite being married and whatnot. The work is whimsical and rarely deviates from classical ballet vocabulary. I think this is one of Possokhov’s better works, and perhaps the only knock against it is that it’s somewhat reminiscent of Vertiginous Thrill. Those pirouettes in attitude make me smile, though.

Nanna’s Lied is a new one for me. Others seem to give it a bad rap, but I don’t think it was all that bad. The choreography I’ve seen by Helgi Tomasson tended to be very classically based and extremely conservative. This work was more dramatic and had a stronger storyline than the other short pieces of his. The stage props were quite strange, and set a very eerie and ominous tone for the piece. In that respect, the dark monoliths worked, but they seemed to distract from the much more lyrical dancing.  It was nice to see Maria Kochetkova in a dramatic work: we’ve long known that she’s a brilliant technician, so to see her in a role that is almost all drama was fresh confirmation about how awesome she is. Running through a gamut of emotions, her stage mastery was displayed clearly all the way from the back of the orchestra section. Much as I like YYT, VZ, and SVP, I think MK is asserting herself as the prima ballerina of SFB.

Artifact Suite seems to just get better and better with more viewings. I wish there were more of William Forsythe’s works in the local repertoire. Part I of the suite is just so breathtaking that, in my memory, almost all of Part II was effaced. Bach’s Chaconne in Partita No. 2 is among the masterpieces of classical music. Listening to it gives me chills every time. Setting it to movement is a daunting task, and Forsythe succeeds in doing so. The patterns, the nuances that tie the movements to the music, are sheer genius. Both couples (Sofiane Sylve and Vito Mazzeo plus Lorena Feijoo and Pascal Molat) danced admirably, although I found that my attention was split almost evenly among the couples, the Single Female Figure, and the corps. As the SFF, all I can say is that Mariellen Olson did a good job, but she’s no Elana Altman. I wish I could’ve seen a cast with her in it. The corps was spectacular as usual, although there were a few movements that seemed out of sync; I couldn’t tell if they were choreographic choices or errors, so I’ll err on the side of benefit. And call me crazy, but the dropping fire curtain is kind of cute and fun. The ending of Act I is absolutely stunning.

It was nice to be reminded that Act II was also superb. This is a terrific showcase for the corps. It’s nice to see choreography that challenges the uniformity and the abilities of the dancers, and Artifact Suite does it like no other. Little bits of choreography stick in my memory, although even these short few hours after watching, Act I still overwhelms Act II. Eva Crossman-Hecht has to fight a losing battle against Bach, but nonetheless her music works.

Artifact Suite is solidly in the top 5 of my favorite ballets list. I am hard pressed right now to come up with any work that I think is better, or that would yield itself to more repeated viewings (although Sleeping Beauty and Symphony in C are also up there).

2 Replies to “SFB Program 3”

  1. Thank you for noting that I am ‘no Elana Altman”. If I were in any way attempting to mimic her I would not be an artist, which I am in my own right.

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