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canbelto

A treasure trove of Ashton that isn't being released

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I've recently started trading with some people who are in Europe, and I've discovered a treasure trove of Ashton telecasts that are not being released, and most of them have been filmed in the past few years. What gives? I've gotten:

1. Fille mal gardee - Acosta, Nunez

2. Sylvia - Bussell, Bolle

3. Cinderella - Kobborg, Cojocaru

4. Ashton 100 - LOTS of ballets starring the entire company, essentially

Then a friend sent me a historical film of Enigma Variations, filmed I would guess in the 1970s.

Anyway, each of these videos has been excellent, and if they take the trouble to film it, why not release it?

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The reasons are probably these (discussed elsewhere on the board):

1) contracts. The contract to film for a single telecast are different (and less expensive) than ones for a program that will be released on the market.

2) the makers of the earlier films did not anticipate the video boom (which has exploded with the DVD, I mean, did you ever think you could buy some of the TV shows on DVD?)

3) There is still a feeling out there by companies that people won't pay to see something on the stage that they can buy a lot cheaper at the video store.

Listen, I'd love it if these things were out on the market. Be happy that you were able to pick up the telecasts from a friend. :)

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If the contractual issues can be overcome, the solution would be controlled web downloads, which eliminate the need to create and distribute media. Also, by having a website, all of the supporting materials --casts, background, history of the ballet, choreographers, composers, etc. -- could be web-based, with the customer downloading what s/he wanted. No printing needed, and adding material to a website is relatively inexpensive.

Right now, the Apple Store offers TV shows are downloadable, can be played on computers, burned to CD, and displayed on the new iPods. (Although that tiny screen would be useless for most ballet, except ballet that is filmed badly: "Ooo, let's do a close-up on her toe-shoe ribbons!"). There are also independent websites that are being created for independent movie downloads, with a very small set-up fee (not exceeding a few hundred dollars) to post. There is a movie download site out of England which offers more obscure classics, like Andulusian Dog and the earlies French movies.

Apple Store exists on volumes, because the royalties on music, at least, are a large percentage of revenue, but there's no need for BBC or PBS to be as greedy as, for example, Sony. The cost of storage is minimal. Catalog maintenance might be a little more expensive because, for small volumes, there would be more manual set up, but that could be offset by lower royalties.

Most of the broadcasts could be taken as is, with commercials/promos edited out (or left in for historical interest), and a wrapper around it (copyright at beginning). If they were kind, they'd break up the broadcast into chapters and include a menu.

(Someone in Russia, where there's a treasure trove of state-owned television archives, please be listening! You have the technical and computer talent to do this!)

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I thought they were planning to release the Ashton Sylvia w/ Bussell Bolle on DVD. A reviewer in one of the major British papers mentioned it offhand in a review of the December performances at the ROH... I'd have to dig through to go back and find it.

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It gets better, canbelto:

My understanding, from reading other fora, is that the BBC will soon be broadcasting -- either 'live' or on delayed tape -- the upcoming 'Royal Ballet 75th Anniversary Celebration' of June 8, 2006, including a divertissement of rare excerpts (De Valois' 'Job' & Ashton's 'Dante Sonata' for ex.), as well as the complete reconstruction/re-imagination of Ashton's 'Homage to the Queen.' Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will be present (so it will be a 'Royal Gala'). Tell your UK-based friends to set their VCRs!!!

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