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Balanchine's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Launches SF Ballet's 2021 Digital Season

Streaming January 21–February 10.

Balanchine's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Launches SF Ballet's 2021 Digital Season

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) launches the 2021 Digital Season on January 21 with George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed on stage at the War Memorial Opera House in March of 2020.

A tale of love, magic, and revelry that's fun for the entire family, the full-length ballet includes some of Shakespeare's best-known characters, including Titania, Oberon, Puck, and donkey-headed Bottom-providing more than 100 roles in all, including 14 leading parts and a cast of 25 children.

"I think Balanchine did such a superb job with Midsummer," says Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, who danced as Oberon, King of the Fairies, with New York City Ballet in the late '70s and early '80s. "It has humor. It has suspense. It has love. And even if you are not a ballet aficionado, you immediately understand what's going on." Click here to watch the trailer for A Midsummer Night's Dream.

On March 6, 2020, SF Ballet gave one performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Company's first performance of the ballet in 34 years, before the production abruptly closed as a result of the city-wide shutdown due to COVID-19. The Bay Area Reporter deemed the performance "the best dancing, the best of everything . . . [with] new pleasures of many kinds." Midsummer, which was Balanchine's first original full-length ballet, features non-stop dancing and distills Shakespeare's five acts into two. When Titania, the Queen of Fairies, refuses to give up her young page, King Oberon enlists the trickster Puck to stir up some magic, causing a domino effect among fairy and human couples alike.

Repetiteur Sandra Jennings of The George Balanchine Trust staged the production, which includes woodland scenes and costumes designed by Tony Award-winner Martin Pakledinaz, a longtime SF Ballet collaborator whose work can be seen in the Company's productions of Nutcracker and Don Quixote, and celestial lighting designed by Randall G. Chiarelli. Midsummer's cast of fairies, mortals, bugs, and mis-matched lovers is set to music by Felix Mendelssohn, performed by the SF Ballet Orchestra and Bay Area-based vocal ensemble Volti under the direction of SF Ballet Music Director Martin West.

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