San Francisco Ballet 2018 opening night gala. (© Nikki Ritcher Photography)

Passionate Theme for San Francisco Ballet Gala

San Francisco Ballet and Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson will launch the 2019 Repertory Season with This is PassionSF Ballet’s Opening Night Gala, on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

One of Bay Area’s most anticipated annual events, the Gala begins with a cocktail reception and black-tie fundraising dinner at San Francisco City Hall at 5 pm. The evening’s highly anticipated performance begins at 8 pm and will feature eight works that exemplify the Company’s stylistic versatility and diversity.

Two world premieres highlight the Opening Night program, including a pas de deux by Bay Area choreographer Danielle Rowe with music by Ezio Bosso and featuring Principal Dancers Aaron Robison and Sofiane Sylve, and a pas de deux by Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, with music by Arvo Pärt and featuring Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Carlo Di Lanno.

Rowe’s piece is inspired by the quote “We had everything to say to each other, but no ways to say it, from Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Also on the program are two of Helgi Tomasson’s works, Soirée Musicale and a pas de deux from his 1989 Handel—A Celebration, an exhilarating display of neoclassical movement. Excerpts from Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming from the 2018 Unbound festival will return on the Gala program. The work, set to the music of electronic band M83 and inspired in part by walking through San Francisco and danced in sneakers, crafts an evolving dreamscape. The program also includes George Balanchine’s pas de trois from Agon, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky, who designed the structure of the ballet with Balanchine during the creation of the music, as well as his brilliant pas de deux from Rubies, set to Stravinsky’s 1929 Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. Excerpts from Harald Lander’s spectacular one-act ballet Études, which is set to a score by Knudåge Riisager based on piano studies by Carl Czerny, completes the Gala program.