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Hamburg Ballet's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' comes to San Francisco

Always welcome guests of San Francisco Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet presents John Neumeier’s interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the War Memorial Opera House this week.

Hélène Bouchet and Ivan Urban in Neumeier's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
© Holger Badekow

American-born Neumeier - Director of the Hamburg Ballet since 1973 - is well known for his imaginative and inspirational approach to choreography, a feature of his work being his ability to preserve the tradition of ballet, whilst creating on a framework which is both contemporary and dramatic.

“My world is dance ......,” he says. “But, almost from the beginning, I wanted not only to dance myself, but to create dances, to tell wordless stories using movement.” What has always interested him, he says, are “those special movements, guided by feelings, inspired by emotions which can give shape to our desires, visions, and longings, movements which move us. It is my wish in choreography to translate our most intimate experiences, our aspirations, and deepest sorrows honestly into images of beauty”.

John Neumeier’s internationally acclaimed creation, The Little Mermaid, was given its US premiere by San Francisco Ballet in 2010, and during the SF Ballet’s 2013 season, the Hamburg Ballet performed his extraordinarily popular dance theater epic, Nijinsky.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - which was given its world premiere by the Hamburg Ballet on July 10, 1977 - is described as one of Neumeier’s “most joyous and popular creations”. Based on Shakespeare’s lighthearted tale of lovers’ tiffs and mistaken identity, the ballet has exquisite costumes and sets - designed by Jürgen Rose - and is set to Mendelssohn’s well-loved score, with the inclusion of pieces by Gyorgy Ligeti and “traditional music for mechanical street organ”.

There are only two opportunities to see the Hamburg Ballet's performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream - at the War Memorial Opera House on February 12 at 7.30 pm and February 13 at 8.00 pm. For information on tickets, and to see a video clip of this production, please visit the San Francisco Ballet website.

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