San Francisco Ballet: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
San Francisco Ballet Opera House
March 12, 2024 7:30 PM

What dreams are made of…

San Francisco Ballet has brought back Balanchine’s “Dream” after four years. At that time the production had to close…or be postponed until this year due to the COVID virus that threatened audiences…and dancers. Now. in 2024, SF Ballet has engaged “couturier”, Christian Lacroix as designer of the sets and costumes. “Dream” remains magical, funny (as only Shakespeare can provide), elegant and excellent in dancing.

It was choreographed by the famous George Balanchine and premiered on 17 January 1962 and considered as his “first completely original full-length ballet.” That production starred Edward Villella as Oberon, Melissa Hayden as Titania and Arthur Michell as Puck. SF Ballet has in this 2024 production kept the two act structure (Act I) In the forest, (Act II) in Duke Theseus’ Athens palace. Shakespeare’s tale is told in the first act; the second is a ‘courtiers’ wedding celebration and an opportunity for multiple ‘divertissment’. It seems that every dancer in the company and all the children of the SFBallet school participate in the enchanting event.

Compliments and kudos to all: Sasha De Sola (Titania), Esteban Hernandez (Oberon) and wild applause for Cavan Conley as Puck! Bottom was comically portrayed by Alexis Francisco Valdes, bravely and delightfully even wearing the donkey head. We were even treated to the dancing of Nikisha Fogo as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.

All this and the company and school’s children as principles, pages, butterflies and courtiers. In the pit, with the fine SFBallet orchestra (conducted by Martin West), we were also treated to singers, members of San Francisco’s Volti vocal ensemble.

Dream” continues at San Francisco Ballet through March 23. If you can give yourself the pleasure of re-reading the play, do it! If not, go the SFBallet’s production! It will encourage you to reread the play, rejoice in its humor and charm and enjoy ‘the dream.’ If you can find a copy of Jennifer Homan’s “Mr.B”, you will discover that the choreographer himself (a 20th century genius of many dimensions) identified most with “Bottom,” the lover, player, braggart who is comically portrayed as an ‘ass’.