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Jo Tomalin

Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker at San Francisco Ballet

By December 17, 2022No Comments
Photo above: Nikisha Fogo in Tomasson’s Nutcracker at San Francisco Ballet. Photo credit: © Quinn Wharton


San Francisco Ballet presents Nutcracker, December 8-27, 2022 at the War memorial Opera House. Choreographed by Helgi Tomasson in 2004, and set to music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, orchestra conducted by Martin West. This joyous Nutcracker is set in San Francisco, 1915. It is a ballet for everyone to enjoy in the holiday season, and this Nutcracker is a wonderful return to live performances.

The story of young Clara is first told through visual and physical storytelling as we see her uncle Drosselmeyer – expressively played by Pascal Molat, putting the finishing touches on his special present for Clara at her family Christmas party. Then guests are welcomed into the elegant family house and the magic begins!


Tiit Helimets in Tomasson’s Nutcracker
Photo credit: © Quinn Wharton

Clara’s friends are played by Students of the San Francisco Ballet School, and they interact gleefully, play games expressed though dance in delightful sequences and combinations while the parents gather together and gifts arrive. Clara receives her specially crafted present from her uncle, a beautifully carved nutcracker character, and the dream begins. Clara, played by Ruby Rosenquist with charm and verve is taken to a magical world where everything is sweetness and wonder.

San Francisco Ballet comes into its own with the corps and soloists presenting the traditional characters of Nutcracker. There are many different characters and dances in this ballet, that entertain and surprise – with dashes of excitement and humor!

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker
Photo credit: © Quinn Wharton

A standout partnering is Yuan Yuan and Henry Sidford as the Queen & King of the Snow supported by a glorious corps of Snowflakes. This is a memorable scene that is precise in footwork and lifts, it is certainly a beautifully transporting moment.

Isaac Hernández is charming and dynamic as The Nutcracker Prince when he meets Clara, and later when he partners Sasha De Sola in the iconic Grand Pas de Deux. De Sola is mesmerising as she takes command of the stage in her virtuosic solos and the elegant duet with Hernández.

Wona Park is the magical Sugar Plum Fairy followed by the energy and precision of the dramatic Spanish dance. A particularly lovely vision with delicate choreography is the Waltzing Flowers, an ensemble of sixteen dancers creating combinations of groups and images in movement that is breathtaking.

This ballet is strongly supported by a team of outstanding creatives who all produce exquisite results that work together so well in Nutcracker:

Scenic Design: Michael Yeargan; Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz; Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington; Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls; Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker is simply a heart warming and beautiful experience!

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance & Theatre Performances
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