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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reliving childhood memories



A couple of days ago, out of a blue, one of my good friends e-mailed me to ask me if I'd be interested in going to the San Francisco Opera to see the Nutcracker Ballet performance.

I haven't seen a ballet performance close-up and personal since I was in Paris... a long time ago!

Ballet takes me way back, actually. My sister was a pretty good ballet dancer when she was a kid. I couldn't dance to save my life but she was more disciplined than me and took classes for a number of years. She had the little ballet toe-shoes and professional "tutu" outfits from Repetto and everything.



From time to time, a little trip to childhood is exactly what the soul needs to repair itself.

If you can't revisit the places or the people in person for whatever reason (for example if you live about half-way around the world from everything and everyone you grew up with), find another way to do it.



Go see a Nutcracker ballet performance again, for instance.

It took me all of 3 seconds to email my friend back to say that I would be delighted to attend.



We arrived early, so we could explore the premises a little bit and maybe sneak a few pictures before everybody got in. The time we spent exploring the premises as absolutely worth it!



While we are officially in full recession right now (yes, that includes San Francisco!) you coudn't tell by looking at the people in attendance.



First of all, the place was absolutely packed (photograph above was taken ahead of the performance).

I looked around me during the performance... there wasn't a single seat open! And pretty much everybody around me was exteremely well dressed, especially the children. I don't mean just dressed up, I mean expensive, sophisticated outfits and haircuts.

That little girl was afraid of the guy in the rat costume
and started screaming at the top of her lungs
the minute she laid eyes on him.


There were a lot of very young children around. Surprisingly, the little ones remained absolutely quiet throughout the entire performance, even when they shot the cannon!

Perhaps they were all super quiet because they were in complete awe...

I know I was.

I've watched a lot of ballet before, including the Nutcracker, but nothing quite as entertaining, dazzling, magical.

Of course, the dancers are extremely talented; but what particularly blew me away was all the technical effects, the staging, the choices of colors for the decorations and the costumes, even the themes they had chosen for the toys, and, of course, the choreography ... all of it was very well done, indeed.

Some parts of the dance performance seemed identical to the traditional European choreographies I had seen in the past, but the story as they presented it yesterday takes place during the 1915 San Francisco World Fair...

This Chronicle article explains a little more.

Naturally, we were not allowed to photograph during the performance, but PBS has filmed the performance last year and is going to broadcast it again tonight as part of their "Great Performances" on many of their channels around the country (Channel 9 in Marin, San Francisco, and Oakland, at 8:00 p.m. PST)



You might want to try to catch it and just let these talented professional entertainers amaze you.

* * * * *

Additional resources:

Also check out the blog of Maria Kochetkova, principal dancer, San Francisco ballet, and possibly the same young lady I photographed above with the dancer in the rat costume and the little screaming kid.

And here is a little preview video.

Degas reproduction from this website


All other photographs for this post , photographed at the San Francisco Opera House, © Tomate Farcie, 2008

Happy holidays everybody!

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11 Comments:

Blogger Elisabeth said...

I saw the Nutcracker live twice - once sometime in the late 70's or early 80's, my husband's cousin was an apprentice in the Pennsylvania Ballet, so we got tickets to see her perform in Philadelphia. The second time, I took my daughter, then maybe 7 years old, to the Pittsburgh ballet.

I did like it quite a bit, although I am not huge fan of ballet, or, really, of live classical music performances, for some reason.

I loved this post, though.

5:40 AM  
Blogger claude said...

Si je n'avais pas quitté Paris à 11 ans, je serais peut-être devenue petit rat, mais sûrement pas de l'Opéra.
Sui je devais aller voir un ballet, un classique du genre. Avec des danseuses en tutu et des danseur en collant. Tout ce qui fait le charme d'un beau ballet dans un bel endroit.

6:22 AM  
Blogger claude said...

Tu devrais te faire un petit sapin. Noël sans sapin c'est pas Noël. Il te tiendrais compagnie en cette période de fêtes. Un sapin avec des boules et un noeud !

12:32 AM  
Blogger claude said...

Elle est belle la 2cv de SF. Dommage elle a un gnon sur une aile. Suis contente d'avoir évoqué des souvenirs en toi.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous from cali said...

Sounds like you had a lovely evening. Happy holidays to you, Tomate.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALORS, A QUAND UN NOUVEAU LYNCHAGE NUMERIQUE, MINABLE CONNARD DE FLIC, ORGANISE POUR ” SORTIR DE LEUR BOITE DES GENS ” QUI AURAIENT BESOIN D UNE BONNE LECON PARCE QU'AYANT DÉPLUT A CE GROS LACHE DE SI PEU PRESIDENT , MEUH ? http://embruns.net/ aka- Merci de votre commentaire. -Il a été bien enregistré et sera publié prochainement après validation.
http://www.w3.org/

11:39 AM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

From cali: Thank you! I was trying to email you back but it won't let me. Best regards, and best wishes for the holidays to you, too!

11:06 AM  
Blogger Petrea said...

Hi Tomate,
Thanks for your visit! I see you and I both like the simple, uncluttered look!

Glad you had a chance to see the ballet in such a beautiful setting.

9:46 AM  
Blogger claude said...

Today I show my Xtree !

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anthony said...

Merry Christmas!

4:47 PM  
Blogger claude said...

Merci pour les noms de WC. Je ne pouvais pas faire décemment un post trop long sur ce sujet et laisser le principal, Noël. J'aime bien "I go the the loo".

12:09 AM  

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