Firebird at the Granada Theatre

The Symphony Plays Stravinsky for State Street Ballet Dancers

The Santa Barbara Symphony extended an exceptionally interesting season of programming last weekend with what has now become a very welcome annual event — their collaboration with State Street Ballet. This year, the two organizations took advantage of the very considerable talents of choreographer William Soleau, whose work has, over the past several years, contributed to the distinction that State Street has achieved as one of the country’s most productive and original contemporary ballet companies. Soleau created a new setting of Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from “The Firebird” in its 1945 version, and the results, both onstage and in the orchestra pit, were splendid.

The State Street Ballet joined Nir Kabaretti’s Santa Barbara Symphony for a new version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite choreographed by William Soleau.
Click to enlarge photo

David Bazemore

The State Street Ballet joined Nir Kabaretti’s Santa Barbara Symphony for a new version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite choreographed by William Soleau.

Harpist Michelle Temple joined the orchestra for the concert’s opening piece, Claude Debussy’s Danse sacrée et danse profane, and she rendered the challenging parts with such grace that it seemed effortless. Next up was the Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90, of Johannes Brahms. This intricate, lyrically effusive work remains a high point of the entire symphonic literature, and the S.B. Symphony rendered it with feeling and precision.

The ballet that followed intermission flew by with a combination of soaring music and exciting imagery. Young Kate Kadow danced the role of Firebird en pointe, and, as Prince Ivan, Ryan Camou partnered both Kadow and Leila Drake as the love interest, Princess Tsarevna. Soleau’s choreography has wit and style but never strays far enough from convention to be jarring or disruptive. The excellent costume and set design by A. Christina Giannini made the whole thing that much more delicious. Let’s hope that this Firebird, or at least the team that made it, returns to the Granada soon.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

You Solve It,’ City Tells County on Library Money Shortage

To avoid financial shortfall, city sends ball back to county's court.

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.