I reviewed San Francisco Ballet’s opening night “Swan Lake” in today’s Chronicle. Most memorable for me was Gonzalo Garcia’s promising debut as Prince Siegfried:

“Four ballerinas are slated to tackle the dual role of the spellbound heroine Odette and her wicked impostor Odile, but Saturday Prince Siegfried reigned. Anyone familiar with Tina LeBlanc’s crystalline technique and earnest acting would have expected her to turn in a commendable performance, but the command of Garcia’s touching portrayal came as a surprise and a gift.

Garcia is that rare thing: a virtuoso who seems to dance simply for the unbridled joy of it. He’s not out to prove anything to himself or to you. He seems propelled into bravura encha?nements by outbursts of uncontainable emotion, and even standing still he radiates bigheartedness. As Siegfried, his acting was initially cautious, but by Act 4 his throes of regret seemed so urgent and sincere that you half wanted to run to his side in consolation.

What tiny LeBlanc lacks in mystique as Odette she makes up for in empathy. Her natural aura of innocence made early encounters with the Prince look more like teenage puppy love than doomed romance, and her black swan is more flirty than bewitching. But during the final swells of music — rendered grandly under conductor Martin West — it was entirely believable that she would throw herself into the lake in despondency and that a distraught Garcia would follow. ”

For the full review, click here.

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