PBS’ Great Performances Presents: ‘The Little Mermaid’ from San Francisco Ballet Tonight at 9pm PST and EST

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 Like many of you who saw this ballet live (including some who joined me in attending both evenings of filming in early May this past San Francisco Ballet season), tonight is a night we San Francisco Balletomanes have been  eagerly anticipating:
 
Tonight, December 16, 2011 at 9pm PST and EST, PBS’ ‘Great Performances Presents’ will air San Francisco Ballet’s production of  John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid starring the Izzie Award winning dancer Yuan Yuan Tan as ‘The Mermaid’.

Yuan Yuan Tan in San Francisco Ballet's production of Neumeier's 'The Little Mermaid; Photo © Erik Tomasson

Interestingly, many of the Corps de Ballet dancers we will be watching on PBS tonight will not be able to tune in to see their own performances in The Little Mermaid till after it’s already in progress

because they’re busy performing live in SFB’s Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House (till about right this moment).
(Yep-the Nutcracker that has also aired on PBS for several seasons, also featuring a radiant Yuan Yuan Tan as Queen of the Snow).
(‘Tis the season.)
 

Lloyd Riggins & Yuan Yuan Tan in San Francisco Ballet's production of Neumeier's 'The Little Mermaid; Photo © Erik Tomasson

 
Since I covered this ballet extensively last season with my preview of the ballet here, my review of the performance here, photos from the previous year’s ‘Mermaid’ here (featuring the other lead cast!), gave you the story (libretto) of the ballet here, and will also be reviewing tonight’s broadcast version of the performance, let me wrap this up as a reminder for now:
 
If you love Dance or Theatre, not even just Ballet, this is an absolute must-see.
 
If you are a Ballet lover, you’ll already know about the talents of SFB’s incredible Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets, Sarah Van Patten, and Davit Karapetyan, not to mention Hamburg Ballet’s Lloyd Riggins. But if you haven’t seen them in Neumeier’s dramatic and haunting The Little Mermaid, I promise you’ve never seen them like this.
 
And, finally, if you’re a bonafide San Francisco Balletomane, there are only 2 possible places you should be tonight: watching the company live at the Opera House in their gorgeous Nutcracker (truly one of the best in the world)…or tuned in to their The Little Mermaid  on PBS at 9pm.
 

Yuan Yuan Tan & Tiit Helimets in San Francisco Ballet's production of Neumeier's 'The Little Mermaid; Photo © Erik Tomasson

 

Yuan Yuan Tan & Tiit Helimets in San Francisco Ballet's production of Neumeier's 'The Little Mermaid; Photo © Erik Tomasson

No-this ballet is not at all happy-go-lucky Disneyesque, nor intended for children. The themes are mature, often disturbing, even violent at times (the ‘tailectomy’ will chill your spine), and though there are comic moments and ultimately redemption, there is also desperation, alienation, unfulfilled love, and the painful heartbreak of The Poet (representing Hans Christian Andersen himself) and The Mermaid, his creation and alter-ego. Put the kids to bed, peeps. Grab a box of tissues…   
…and fall in love with ‘YY’ (Yuan Yuan  Tan), San Francisco Ballet’s beautiful ballerina who shows us she is capable of bringing us to our knees in an emotional performance  you’ll never forget.
 

Yuan Yuan Tan in San Francisco Ballet's production of Neumeier's 'The Little Mermaid; Photo © Erik Tomasson

 
Click here for interviews with ‘The Mermaid’ Yuan Yuan Tan, ‘The Poet’ Lloyd Riggins, ‘The Princess’ Sarah Van Patten (who also performed the title role here in San Francisco), ‘The Sea Witch’ Davit Karapetyan, choreographer John Neumeier, and composer Lera Auerbach.
 
THE LITTLE MERMAID

Choreographer, Scenic, Costume and Lighting designer:
John Neumeier
Composer: Lera Auerbach
Staged by: Kevin Haigen, Leslie McBeth, Niurka Moredo, Lloyd Riggins
Lighting realized by Ralf Merkel
Conductor: Martin West
Violin Soloist: Roy Malan
Theremin: Caroyn Eyck
San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
Recorded live from the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, 3 and 5 May 2011
 

The Little Mermaid — Yuan Yuan Tan
The Poet — Lloyd Riggins
The Prince — Tiit Helimets
The Princess — Sarah van Patten
The Sea Witch — Davit Karapetyan

  
 
See You at the Ballet!
 
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About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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2 Responses to PBS’ Great Performances Presents: ‘The Little Mermaid’ from San Francisco Ballet Tonight at 9pm PST and EST

  1. This looks divine. Is there footage of it available anywhere? I would love to see SFB touring to London.

    • Hi Diarmaid-
      And I would love to see the Royal Ballet tour over HERE again soon!
      The dramatic performances are indeed divine in The Little Mermaid and I’ve got great news for you…in the form of this link which will take you to the FULL 2+ hr. performance (don’t let that scare you-it’ll suck you right in!) right here online-including commentary with John Neumeier himself!:
      http://video.pbs.org/video/2177584773
      Do let me know what you think.
      Odette

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