Beneath blue California skies, manicured trees, and the occasional hum of an overhead airplane, Tamara Rojo took the Frost Amphitheater stage at Stanford University to introduce herself as the new artistic director of San Francisco Ballet. The meeting had future box office returns on the line. This was San Francisco Ballet’s third annual August presentation by Stanford Live, an engagement that is not just a back-to-school warm-up for the company, but also a way of convincing new South Bay and Silicon Valley fans to travel an hour north to San Francisco for the 2024 season come next January. Rojo is going to need these newcomers for programming that looks quite different from her predecessor Helgi Tomasson’s. She succeeded in offering plenty of whiz-bang spectacle to convert fresh balletomanes, despite a closer that seemed to leave many scratching their heads.
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading