Arts Critic

In August 1987, San Francisco Chronicle arts critic Heuwell Tircuit wrote a devastating critique of the San Francisco Ballet's performance of the pas de deux from Bizet's opera La Jolie Fille de Perth.

Under the heading "San Francisco Ballet Misses a Step," Tircuit declared: "Either the San Francisco Ballet is being overworked or under-rehearsed." The dancers, he explained, looked rather dumpy and David McNaughton was "not up to his best." Moreover, Ludmilla Lopukhova's "potato-drenched Russian training seemed less heavy than in the past. But she, when added to Tomasson's dank choreography, didn't quite come through."

Some time after publication, Tircuit was informed that the scheduled performance that night had in fact been cancelled and replaced by Ballet For Five Male Dancers -- in which Ludmilla Lopukhova naturally did not appear.

In his report, Tircuit had estimated that there were 10,000 people in the audience at the open-air theatre; Chronicle editors estimated that he had not been among them.

[Tircuit absurdly stuck to his story, claiming to have been so ill that he did not know what he was watching.]

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