San Francisco Ballet capped artistic director Helgi Tomasson’s departing season with his “Swan Lake,” headlined by four promising casts. On opening night I saw Frances Chung as Odette/Odile, and she was technically impeccable, emotive without crossing over into camp, and athletically powerful—but she didn’t believably click with Joseph Walsh’s playboy-esque Siegfried. Then I received emails from strangers reporting that Sasha De Sola’s debut in the role had left them dazzled. So I returned to see her second go at it with Max Cauthorn as Siegfried, and am I ever glad I did. Growing up in Fresno, California, I used to re-watch the Royal Ballet’s “Swan Lake” with Anthony Dowell and Natalia Makarova on VHS and dream of getting out of the dry valley to such a life of beauty. At this point, though, it’s been many years since I’ve been truly moved by a performance of “Swan Lake.” De Sola and Cauthorn took me back to a state of wonderment.
Sasha De Sola in Tomasson's “Swan Lake.” Photograph by Erik Tomasson