Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty returns to San Francisco Ballet on March 9 with performances through March 17 at SF War Memorial Opera House. Tomasson's staging, which premiered with the Company in 1990, updates Marius Petipa's original choreography from 1890, which debuted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's beloved score, The Sleeping Beauty is a pinnacle of classical repertory.

With 148 roles and participation of over 60 students from SF Ballet School across casts, The Sleeping Beauty is one of the largest productions of SF Ballet's 2019 Repertory Season. Tomasson sets the fairytale in the 17th and 18th centuries in Russia, before and after the reign of Peter the Great. Dramatic changes in scenic and costume designs by Jens-Jacob Worsaae showcase the influence of Western culture on the Russian court, and costumes transform accordingly; white-dusted wigs and Saxon and French styles replace decadent, embroidered Imperial robes and regalia. The Sleeping Beauty's lighting designer is Craig Miller.

The ballet's principal characters include the coveted role of Princess Aurora after whose 100-year slumber the ballet is named and her Prince Desir . The story's moral dichotomy rests between The Fairy of Darkness (a pantomime character, also known as Carabosse, or the wicked fairy godmother), and her counterpart, the benevolent Lilac Fairy. A bevy of fantastical characters and creatures join the cast, including Puss in Boots, The White Cat, The Enchanted Princess, Bluebird, fairies, and nymphs.

The Sleeping Beauty's choreography exemplifies the grace and precision of classical form. Aurora's famous Rose Adagio requires the dancer to balance on pointe for an extended period while deciding among four potential suitors. The kaleidoscopic Act I Garland Waltz is another highlight, as are the variations of the Fairies of Tenderness, Generosity, Serenity, Playfulness, and Courage in the Prologue.

Casting for The Sleeping Beauty will be announced at least one week prior to performances.

Additional information including The Sleeping Beauty's synopsis is available on San Francisco Ballet's website, in its Discover section. Ancillary events are also scheduled, including a Ballet Talk titled Ballet, Kinesthetic Empathy, and Music Analysis in The Sleeping Beauty on February 23 at 5:00 pm and a Ballet Book Club on March 16 at 5:00 pm. Meet the Artist pre-performance interviews occur on March 9, 10, 15, and 17 one hour before curtain. The Sleeping Beauty's Pointes of View lecture with dance educator Mary Wood is March 13 at 6:00 pm.

The Sleeping Beauty tickets start at $50 and may be purchased via the Ticket Services Office at 415 865 2000, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm or online at Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

Photo Credit: Erik Tomasson

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