San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala 2019

San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala 2019, Red Carpet Bay Area
Mathilde Froustey and Angelo Greco in Tomasson/Possokhov's Don Quixote. (© Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala 2019: This is Passion

This is Passion: San Francisco Ballet and Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson launched the 86th repertory season with a passionate theme on January 23, 2019. The opening night festivities began at 5 pm with cocktails and dinner at City Hall, illuminated in passionate pink for the occasion. Gala guests dressed in black-tie and red carpet style then made their way across the street to the War Memorial Opera House for a memorable and passionate performance that highlighted Company’s versatility and diversity, in eight works.

On the Program

  • The gala performance opened with an excerpt from Harald Lander’s one-act ballet Études, presented with special permission on opening night. A spectacular performance from Principle Dancers Sasha de Sola, Aaron Robison, and Luke Ingham.
  • Two world premieres: the first, a pas de deux entitled UnSaid by Bay Area choreographer Danielle Rowe with music by Ezio Bosso, featured Principal Dancers Aaron Robison and Sofiane Sylve. The second, a pas de deux by Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, that featured Principle Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Carlo Di Lanno.
  • Two of Helgi Tomasson’s own works, Soirées Musicales, featured guest artist Misa Kuranaga with Angelo Greco, and a pas de deux from his 1989 Handel—A Celebration, featured Principle Dancers Mathilde Froustey and Tiit Helmets.
  • Two from George Balanchine, both set to the music of Igor Stravinsky: A pas de trois from Agon featured Principle Dancers Benjamin Freemantle, Jennifer Stahl, and WanTing Zhoa, and a pas de deux from Rubies with Principle Dancers Ana Sophia Scheller and Vitor Luiz.
  • Delightfully moody excerpts from Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming set to the music of electronic band M83 rounded out the gala program and set the tone for the After Party.

Scenes from San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala, This is Passion, at City Hall:

Prior to the Gala performance, San Francisco Ballet President Carl Pascarella presented the 17th Lew Christensen Medal to philanthropist Diane B. Wilsey in recognition of her distinction and leadership as a Trustee of San Francisco Ballet Association. Mrs. Wilsey’s generosity, wise counsel, and deep commitment over the course of nearly five decades helped San Francisco Ballet realize its mission to bring the joy of dance to the widest possible audience.

The Gala evening concluded back at City Hall with an After Party and A VIP Lounge with San Francisco Ballet dancers for Grand Benefactor ticket holders.

Photos by Erik Tomasson for San Francisco Ballet and Andrew Caufield, Jessica Monroy, and Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

— Related — Red Carpet Bay Area coverage of more San Francisco Ballet opening events: