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New resident choreographer for Royal Ballet


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#31 GoCoyote!

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:09 PM

The article also interestingly mentions that she 'might' hire someone else to work on narratives!


Yes this is what I hoped might happen when I heard about it- I also thought this might be part of his role too: to find other new choreographers. I think everyone is focusing on what his artistic influence will be (naturally) but as I understand it his role will be also as a sort of 'director of new choreography' if you like... able to also find, mentor, manage other potential new choreographers for the company and no doubt due to his prolific and varied work history (in many areas not just choreography but producing etc around the world ) he will also be able to help connect budding choreographers with set and costume/ designers/composers etc. OK, perhaps I am just projecting my own wishes onto him but this is how I see it anyway.... we'll see!

However it should be remembered that the recent audience reception of McGregor's 'Chroma' is unlikely to be the same audience to support the backbone of the RB repertoire, the Petipa classics and the Ashton ballets.


Well yes.. but on the other hand, for all its exlcusivity, time and time again ballet is being shown to be totally accessable (in fact even totally seductive) to the non-ballet going public once they are pushed across that threshold and get to see for themselves what ballet is all about, as opposed to the cliches and myths which surround it. I figure Monican Mason might also realise that some of the audience who come for the first time just because of the buzz surrounding a trendy, modern, chique work like Chroma will actually go on to explore the rest of the rep because they simply get hooked on the dance. So many times I hear people say they got hooked on ballet 'by accident'. :mad:

#32 Alexandra

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:06 AM

Revised version, will be up at www.danceviewtimes.com Monday morning.

Breaking News!

The Royal Opera announced Friday that Sir Elton John will be named Resident Composer immediately, if not sooner. Spokesman Reginald Foggybrane broke the news, which stunned the opera world and caused other Rocker Knights to spit nails.

"When the Ballet appointed Wayne McGregor as Resident Choreographer, well, that was a real wake up call for us," Foggybrane explained. "We could not be left behind. We don't want to lose out on the youth movement that's desperate to see the lyric arts, if only they could relate to them.”

Why Sir Elton? "Well, Madonna isn't British you see, and we're not sure she actually composes her own songs. So the Board mulled it over for a bit and lots of names were bandied about, but when they remembered that beautiful Candle thingy that Sir Elton sang at Princess Diana's funeral, there was really no question that he was the right man," said Foggybrane.

Unlike McGregor, whose recent work for the Royal Ballet played to screaming audiences and rave reviews, Sir Elton has never created a work for the Opera. "Of course not," said Foggybrane. "Don’t be silly. He's not an opera composer." Quite. But he will be now? "Oh, he's very excited by this and is working on the form as we speak. He's already got melody down, of course," said Foggybrane.

“And anyway,” Foggybrane continued, “who says he has to create an 'opera'? Who's to say what 'opera' is? McGregor isn't going to do anything that looks like "Swan Lake" or "Symphonic Variations" now, is he? Of course not! They don't want that — God, nothing like THAT. They want something that no one could possibly confuse with ballet." And if Sir Elton doesn’t produce an opera, but some kind of Contemporary Song Thing? "Who cares?" said Foggybrane. "It's all a matter of what the audience and critics will buy, and we think this is something we can sell."

When it was pointed out that Sir Elton, 59, may be acclaimed in his genre, but is neither young nor especially cutting edge, Foggybrane was quick with an answer. “Baby steps, baby steps,” he said. “We’re really lagging behind the Ballet here. They’ve been stuck with all those great Heritage Works, but haven’t found anyone to make ballets on the same level for years. So they’ve had to look elsewhere and bring in people from outside and call what they make ‘ballet.'† Brilliant, isn't it? They’ve been doing non-classical works for some time now but it’s new territory for us. We can't just dive in and pull out some Punker. But Sir Elton is still a big name to young people, and at least some of our longtime subscribers will know him. We think of him as a bridge between the traditional and the contemporary worlds.”†

Foggybrane admitted that the Opera’s problem was a bit different than the Ballet’s. “Of course, we don't have that many Heritage Works to toss out, just tons of Italians with a few Germans and Frenchmen thrown in here and there, but we do need new works. After all, how many times can you see 'La Boheme'? Young people don't like it, they just can't relate to it — good Lord, who dies of TB nowadays? And the singers need new works created on them, made for their very own vocal chords. That's what it's all about, isn't it?” We wondered how the singers’ classically trained vocal chords were going to take to New Tunes, but decided to save that one for another day.

Foggybrane reminded us that Sir Elton’s appointment is well within the operatic tradition. "We must remember that we've been stuck in a stodgy period for awhile now. We need someone to shake things up a bit. Verdi was a real rebel in his day. So were Beethoven and Mozart, not to mention Puccini." Yes, they were rebels, but they were rebels within their art form, exploring new paths without bulldozing the forest, someone pointed out. Foggybrane became impatient: "That's old thinking. Opera is old news now. No one’s writing it, and young people don’t come to performances."

That seemed to be the impetus. Young people aren’t coming to performances. Young people aren’t coming to performances. But even if young people are enchanted with the appointment, someone asked, will they be coming in droves to hear Sir Elton’s work at £170 a ticket? Could that possibly be a reason why The Young aren’t first in line at the box office? “Our prices are perfectly reasonable, considering the expenses of opera,” Foggybrane sputtered. “It’s such an elaborate art form—grand designs, great music, the most respected conductors, superb singers with years and years of the finest training. That’s what our subscribers expect when they come to the Opera and they're willing to pay for it. You don’t do performances that sear the soul on the cheap!” Foggybrane said, and who could argue with that?

[Edited Sunday, December 10, 2006, 6:00 pm.]

#33 ami1436

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:26 AM

:) :) :rofl: :rofl:

#34 leonid17

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:35 AM

Wonderfully funny. Having talken a lot of stick on my local website over "The Macgregorgate affair" I needed this. I shall let the locals not wise enough to visit this site to read Alexandra's so pertinent post.

#35 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:54 AM

I'll see you in hell for that one, Alexandra.

Brava!

#36 Alexandra

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:55 PM

Thanks, all. I'll be putting this up on DanceView Times this week (probably slightly altered) as a commentary, but thought I'd try it out here first to make sure people would understand it was satire!!!!!

#37 bart

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 02:02 PM

{ ...} I thought I'd try it out here first to make sure people would understand it was satire!!!!!

You mean it isn't true?!?!? I've already sent him a congratulatory email. :) And one to Sir Reginald, care of the Royal Opera House, as well. :)

#38 Alexandra

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 02:05 PM

It might be, by Monday :) I have to say I checked the ROH site to make sure he wasn't already Resident Composer (honest I did) and then checked Sir Elton's biography to make sure he wasn't RC somewhere. It's only a matter of time. Although opera fans seem to understand the nature of their art form a lot better than ballet fans do, so maybe they're safe for a decade or two.

#39 sandik

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:42 PM

BREAKING NEWS

The Royal Opera announced that Sir Elton John wil be named Resident Composer immediately, if not sooner. Spokesman Sir Reginald Foggybrane broke the news, stunning the opera world and causing other Rocker Knights to spit nails.

"When the Ballet appointed McGregor as resident choreographer, well, that was a real wake up call," Foggybrane explained. "We could not be left behind. We don't want to lose out on the youth movement that's clamoring to see the lyric arts, if only they could relate to them. We knew we had to move now."


And here I thought it was December, but obviously it's August wherever Alexandra is!

#40 ami1436

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 02:59 AM

A not-so-off-topic side note... lately the ROH has been sending out surveys (apparently randomly) about its programming, etc. I know others have received some about other bills, but I received one about this triple bill. There's room for comment, and loads of little circles to check - including how satisfied you were with casting, with the performance of the principals (!!!!), etc....

One of the questions was regarding how many performances one watches, how many have been new works, etc... Seemingly trying to guesstimate a relationship between those who liked/disliked the bill and new/regular viewers? I wonder if they'll publicise results... I'd guess not, but still....

#41 Alymer

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 09:55 AM

That's wonderful Alexandra - (and I haven't heard my husband laugh so much for ages). I just hope you are not gifted with precognition! It's all too posible!

#42 Alexandra

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 03:06 PM

Thank you, Alymer. (And it's good to read you again!) I'm afraid you're right!

I've edited my post, substituting the slightly revised version I'll put up on www.danceviewtimes.com tomorrow morning.

ami, thanks for telling us about the audience survey. It's a good idea to know what your audience wants, though these days people often gear what they're offering to these surveys, rather than educating them.

They do it in politics too, at least over here. Some years ago, if people said, "We want to abolish public education because the schools are awful" or "the most important issue to us is repeal of all taxes," a candidate who cared passionately about education would use the results so that his speeches would address the issues -- explaining how public schools could be made better. Today, he'd be just as likely to change his slogan to: "Close the schools and cut the taxes!"

#43 Helene

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 05:25 PM

I'm alternating laughing and crying. More bravas!

#44 CarolinaM

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:39 AM

Iím only a ballet and dance lover and Iím reading with much interested all your opinions as experts in this art. I even recognize that when I first read Alexandraís post I thought it was true :) but then I realized she was sarcastic about the decision taken by Mrs. Monica Mason.

Please forgive me for my interference or even for my audacity in telling something here, but donít you find anything positive about that? Because the current repertoire would be granted, isnít it? And the new choreographer will bring new innovative works that can attract new audiences, donít you think so?

Maybe Iím completely wrong and I beg you to be indulgent with me as Iím for sure not at all qualified but I thought it could be an interesting thing and a much pondered decision from a Dame that has so well managed this institution up to now :unsure:

#45 Alexandra

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 04:51 AM

Please forgive me for my interference or even for my audacity in telling something here, but donít you find anything positive about that? Because the current repertoire would be granted, isnít it? And the new choreographer will bring new innovative works that can attract new audiences, donít you think so?


Not interference at all -- all comments welcome!

No, I don't find anything postive about it at all. The current repertory is not granted now. It's been dumped into something called Heritage Works which, just by its name, means Something We Have To Do, something that's in another room, as it were, not something we live and breathe every day. Oh, God. Must schedule 3 Heritage Works this season.

Secondly, why do they want a new audience that doesn't like ballet? It's a ballet company. There are plenty of companies performing contemporary dance. There are very few who can dance classical ballet. The idea that "classical ballet" is a "heritage style," a dead end, a closed road, and that all new work must be in a different language is one of the things that's killing ballet.

And thirdly and most importantly for the future of the company, as has been said above, the resident choreorapher becomes the company's way of dancing, their native language. And that will have every effect on what is danced and how it is danced.

Other than that, it's a great idea! :)


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