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Hamburg Ballet’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – This week at San Francisco Ballet

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The Hamburg Ballet is back in town this week with two performances of choreographer John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the War Memorial Opera House – Wednesday, 2/12 and Thursday, 2/13. Following the company’s spectacular presentation last season of Nijinsky, this innovative re-imagining of Shakespeare’s most popular comedy combines music by Felix Mendelssohn along with the exciting and phantasmal organ creations of composer György Ligeti and a bit of fun with a barrel organ.

Neumeier utilizes a familiar stratagem of double-casting to elevate and broaden the angle of the legendary four days of nuptial merrymaking between Theseus, Duke of Athens and his conquered bride – Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. The forebodings and apprehensions of each are extended into the realm of the Faeries as they take on the respective roles of Oberon and Titania. Thiago Bordin and Hélène Bouchet will dance the roles at the Wednesday performance (7:30 curtain). Each appeared in Nijinsky – Bordin as in a memory of the provocative dancer in the Ballet Russes production of L’Après-midi dun faune and Bouchet as Nijinsky's wife, Romola. On Thursday, Alexandre Riabko will dance the roles of Theseus/Oberon. Riabko was electrifying as the principal figure of Nijinsky, particularly amidst the sexual tension with the character of impresario Sergei Diaghilev – danced by Carsten Jung who will appear in the roles of “Zettl” (Bottom) and Pyramus.

Additional casting for the Wednesday performance includes: Silvia Azzoni (Helena), Otto Bubenicek (Demetrius), Anna Laudere (Hermia), Edvin Revazov (Lysander), Alexandr Trusch (Philostrat/Puck), and Konstantin Tselikov (Flaut/Thisbe).

On Thursday, the dual roles of Hippolyta/Titania will be danced by guest artist Alina Cojocaru, along with Carolina Aguero (Helena), Silvano Ballone (Demetrius), Florencia Chinellato (Hermia), Alexandr Trusch (Lysander), Konstantin Tselikov (Philostrat/Puck), Dario Franconi (Zettel/Pyramus), and Thomas Stuhrmann (Flaut/Thisbe).

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