Hot off the presses, San Francisco Ballet 2016 season announcement includes two world premieres (by Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck), three full-length revivals and numerous bold-face names, including Forsythe, Ratmansky and Wheeldon. The company already announced the 2017 premiere of Liam Scarlett’s full-length Frankenstein, its co-production with the Royal Ballet, where the work will have its world premiere in 2016.
Following the usual Nutcracker cavalcade and the season-opening Gala on January 21, the season opens, oddly enough, with a Sunday matinee. But it looks to be a well-curated repertory, with pieces that work well together and should make for entertaining and interesting performances.
Program 1 (Jan. 24): SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight (Bach, 2004), SFB choreographer in residence Yuri Possokhov’s whimsical Magrittomania (Beethoven/Krasavin, 2000), and the North American premiere of Forsythe’s Pas/Parts (Willems, 1999), created for Paris Opera Ballet and getting its first run by an American company
Program 2 (Jan. 27): Wheeldon’s Continuum (Ligeti, 2002), George Balanchine’s “Rubies” (Stravinsky, 1967) and a Liam Scarlett world premiere
Program 3 (Feb. 19): Tomasson’s Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky, 2009)
Program 4 (Mar. 8): Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova’s Coppélia (Delibes, 1974)
Program 5 (Mar. 6): Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering (Chopin, 1969) and a reprise of Possokhov’s Swimmer, which premiered this season (Eshima, Waits, Brennan, Bryars, 2014)
Program 6 (Apr. 5): Tomasson’s Prism (Beethoven, 2004), Wheeldon’s Rush® (Martinů, 2004) and the company premiere of Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas (Scarlatti, 2009), originally created for American Ballet Theatre
Program 7 (Apr. 7): Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (Thomson, 1988), Balanchine’s Theme and Variations (Tchaikovsky, 1947) and a world premiere by New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck
Program 8 (Apr. 7): John Cranko’s Onegin (Tchaikovsky, 1965)
On the minus side of the ledger, there is not a single female choreographer to be found; I’d love to see SFB remedy that for 2017. But on the plus side is a season chock-full of contemporary ideas, smart classics and the mid-season comedic refresher of Coppélia; SFB did Don Quixote in the Program 4 slot this past season, and it was an enlivening jolt of fun. Well played, SFB.