Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ballet in the City - Giselle

SF Symphony
I left work early on Wednesday so I have time to go home, change, meet a friend for a quick dinner before the ballet. Mijo had phoned me earlier to remind me I have to leave the office early. Mijo, Alma and I planned to meet up at the Arlequin Cafe on Hayes St. at 6 p.m. We went to this same restaurant when we saw San Francisco Ballet's Romeo and Juliet a year ago. When we got there, Alma already got us a table at 6:05 pm and she already ordered a Margherita pizza to share and a cup of what looked like a chai latte with lots of milk froth. When I saw that I thought that was an interesting combination. We hugged each other and then I fell in line to order.
My order was what I consider a designer macaroni and cheese because it is mac & cheese with a twist - gruyere and reggiano cheeses are added on top of the usual white cheddar cheese. Mijo's order was the classic caesar salad. We also ordered two glasses of cabernet sauvignon from the cafe's wine bar next door. We were number 16 so we had to wait for our order.

I think Alma read my mind when I looked at her latte because she started telling us what happened at work that day. To make the story short, she hadn't had anything heavy the whole day that's why she didn't want to drink any alcohol. The pizza, mac & cheese and salad was good. This was probably the most satisfying meal I had before a ballet. The past two or three ballets that we saw, we were running late so the dinners were all eat-and-run. The wine was so-so considering the price per glass we paid for it. It was too late when I realized that the cafe has a more reasonably priced wine-by-the-glass. I made a mental note of this for the next time we go to this place.

We got to the War Memorial Opera House half an hour before the curtain call. There was no tall person in front of me at the balcony so I was ecstatic. There was a certain excitement I could feel inside the opera house. The performance is Giselle, after all.

During the first act, I thought the music was just okay but then who am I to critique a classical music, right? All I know is that I was kindof dosing off, it felt like watching a mime. Though, I felt sorry for Giselle because Loy, who is really Count Albrecht disguised as a poor peasant, is just deceiving her. Such a tragedy that Giselle died of a broken heart at the end of Act 1.

The second act was more entertaining and particularly delightful to watch because the Wilis, the spirits who must dance forever, performed in synch. At the first light of dawn, the spirits disappeared and so did Giselle. I just was not sure if she is to return again? Albrecht was weeping on her grave when the second and final act ended. Did he die too?

I asked Mijo and Alma if they liked the performance. They both said they did.

As always, I enjoyed another great San Francisco Ballet production and I was glad I was able to finally see the ultimate classical romance Giselle. Giselle is Program 1 of the 2011 season of the San Francisco Ballet and runs through February 13.


(The photo above is a view from the entrance of the Davies Symphony Hall, the home of the San Francisco Symphony .)

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