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Who Lost Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet?


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#1 miliosr

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 04:57 PM

With both ABT and New York Theatre Ballet resurrecting a pas from Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet this year, there has been much discussion to the effect that Tudor's Romeo and Juliet (last seen in its entirety in 1976) is unrevivable as a complete work. Assuming this is so, I want to take a page from the board game Clue and challenge Ballet Talkers to solve the following mystery: Who Lost Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet?

Clue enthusiasts try to solve the mysterious death of a "Mr. Body" at (appropriately enough, Tudor mansion) by sifting through a list of suspects, weapons and rooms to determine the who, how and where. For the purposes of this game, we will be more concerned with the "who" rather than the "how" and the "where". Clue features six possible suspects -- Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet and Mrs. White. The Ballet Talk version of Clue will replace these six suspects with the following list of suspects (in descending order from the serious to the ridiculous):

1) Antony Tudor -- Tart-tongued choreographer fails to establish work outside of ABT during his lifetime; thereby consigning it to dustbin of history.

2) Tudor Trust -- Dithers around for 20 years since namesake's death; failing to muster appropriate resolve and funds to restage it while memories are still sharp.

3) Mikhail Baryshnikov -- Former artistic director of ABT (1980-89) who replaced the Tudor version unique to ABT with the MacMillan version, which can be seen anywhere in the world.

4) Kevin McKenzie -- Current artistic director of ABT (1993-Present) who claims poverty as a reason for failing to revive the Tudor version but manages to find funds for gaudy, big budget revivals (Sleeping Beauty), big-budget star vehicles (The Pied Piper) and ill-advised attempts to chase contemporary dance trends.

5) Balanchine Trust -- Quasi-religious sect spreads the gospel of its founder all over the world; thereby diminishing interest in other approaches to ballet.

6) Peter Martins -- NYCB artistic director had perfect opportunity to revive Tudor's abstracted version of Romeo and Juliet and cover himself in glory; instead stages ill-advised (and expensive) new version.

7) Mark Morris -- No reason he should be on this list other than he strikes me as the kind of person who would love to be a character in Clue. :dunno:

8) The Swamp Thing -- Supernatural being given to displays of evil and malice. :wub:


Ballet Talkers are free to add their own suspects and, unlike regular Clue, have -- Murder On the Orient Express-style -- multiple culprits. The "how" and the "where" are not crucial for the game's purposes but, if you want to keep to the spirit of the original board game, you can add those elements. Here are examples from the original game and our game as guides:

Original: It was Miss Scarlet with the wrench in the Billiard Room.

Ours: It was Antony Tudor with perverse neglect at Lincoln Center.

Obviously, I'm being more than a little tongue-in-cheek with this. But I'm hoping the sleuths on this board can put together some reasoned deductions as to how this great work got to the point of being lost and who -- if anyone -- is to blame. (And if you can't get into the spirit of the game -- DON'T PLAY!!!)

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:44 PM

It was Mikhail Baryshnikov with cronyism at 23rd St.

#3 LiLing

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:48 PM

Martha Hill....distracted him with a teaching job when he should have be supervising a revival.

#4 bart

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 06:14 PM

I go with the multiple-perpetrator model from Orient Express.

Major responsibility: ABT (Baryshnikov and McKenzie) with Other Priorities -- in the America's Super-Star Company Competition.

"The Usual Suspects":

-- Balanchine Trust with Failure to Promoter Other Choreographers -- a great crime indeed! -- in theaters all over the world.

-- Peter Martins Some people blame him for everything, so there's no need to specify a weapon or crime scene. Please note that he has given a job to the Swamp Thing (Suspect #8) in his version of Swan Lake. A case of putting someone on the payroll to shut him up? Also, Martin's decision to mount his own R&J -- only 60 years after Tudor's -- is very suspicious.

-- Frederick Delius: with a Score NOT by Prokofiev -- in the Orchestra Pit.

-- Audiences: with Philistinism -- at the Box Office.

#5 miliosr

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 06:31 PM

Brilliant so far. Keep them coming -- Police Commissioner Denby and Lieutenant Croce are anxious for the results of this investigation! :(

#6 drb

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 07:10 PM

Well, what if it isn't lost?
Then, according to Mr. McKenzie's opening remarks it would be very expensive to remount. I suppose some risk/reward analysis would come into play. It was not particularly popular in its time, and has been replaced by a cash cow. On the other hand that was then, and now Tudor is seeming to be well-received.
So, what if it isn't lost? Last Feb 8, at the post-performance discussion at the NYTB Tudor show there was a lot of talk about R + J. From the stage, not very encouraging at first, but many in audience seemed to know (or know of) this part, that part and so on, until a consensus seemed to develop this might really be recoverable, at least in major part. Now all these folk looked like experts, seemed trustworthy, appeared to know each other,... So maybe this thread is asking the wrong question. If everyone got together, perhaps NYTB is the place to support in an effort to bring it back. What I saw of Tudor there was as valuable as Tudor at ABT. And probably might cost them a penny on ABT's dollar. Even I. Even now. Could contribute to such a cause.
OK, I'll go hide, don't want to be a party-pooper!

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 07:25 PM

I'm not positive it's lost, but what killed it was the Great Change in ABT's Aesthetic, turning it from a company whose repertories were built on triple bills -- of mostly created works -- into a a company that concentrated on 19th century classics. At the time there were remarks made about "having to compete" with the Royal Ballet. I remember there was talk about discussions about what to do about "Romeo and Juliet." They recognized that this was a rare work and didn't want to lose it, but it was out of fashion. (If I had to finger anyone, I'd pick The Board.)

#8 Amy Reusch

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:23 PM

Could we evoke National Treasure and bring in the Library of Congress? Or at least Nicholas Cage?

#9 leonid17

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 12:51 AM

I'm not positive it's lost, but what killed it was the Great Change in ABT's Aesthetic, turning it from a company whose repertories were built on triple bills -- of mostly created works -- into a a company that concentrated on 19th century classics. At the time there were remarks made about "having to compete" with the Royal Ballet. I remember there was talk about discussions about what to do about "Romeo and Juliet." They recognized that this was a rare work and didn't want to lose it, but it was out of fashion. (If I had to finger anyone, I'd pick The Board.)


From what I read some years ago, the Dance Notation Bureau had an almost complete notated score for Tudor’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Perhaps it is now completed?
As to revival, administrations across the world have lost faith in reviving a good number of old ballets for fear of their reception by modern audiences, as alluded to above by Alexandra.

#10 miliosr

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:58 PM

Interesting theories. Here's the tally so far:

Mikhail Baryshnikov = 2
ABT Board = 1
cowardly administrators = 1
Martha Hill = 1
Kevin McKenzie = 1
The Corpse Isn't Dead! = 1

(bart -- I went w/ your major suspects.)

#11 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 06:44 PM

The Swamp Thing -- Supernatural being given to displays of evil and malice. :wink:

:pinch:

#12 vipa

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 07:47 PM

Well, what if it isn't lost?
Then, according to Mr. McKenzie's opening remarks it would be very expensive to remount. I suppose some risk/reward analysis would come into play. It was not particularly popular in its time, and has been replaced by a cash cow. On the other hand that was then, and now Tudor is seeming to be well-received.


Forgive my ignorance but I don't see how it could possibly be lost. I am old enough to have seen it in its last ABT performances. Surely there are still enough people around who performed it.

Also, again forgive my ignorance, why would it be such an expensive project? It can't possibly compare to the cost of some other projects (I'm thinking of that work in which Carmina Burana was coupled with another piece ...).

I would love to see Tudor's R&J again. This City Center season was pretty sold out, as far as I could see. Perhaps there is an audience for it. I would love a longer City Center season for ABT, but that is a different topic.

#13 drb

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:05 PM

...
Forgive my ignorance but I don't see how it could possibly be lost. I am old enough to have seen it in its last ABT performances. Surely there are still enough people around who performed it.

Also, again forgive my ignorance, why would it be such an expensive project? It can't possibly compare to the cost of some other projects (I'm thinking of that work in which Carmina Burana was coupled with another piece ...).

I would love to see Tudor's R&J again. This City Center season was pretty sold out, as far as I could see. Perhaps there is an audience for it. I would love a longer City Center season for ABT, but that is a different topic.


Agree, Vipa. But Joan Acocella (see Nov. 10 Links) did get some answers:

... One’s first thought on looking at this duet is: Why can’t A.B.T. revive the whole ballet? When I put that question to Kevin McKenzie, the company’s artistic director, he answered that he would love to. Not long after he took over the company, in 1992, he said, he hired someone to research the possibility of remounting the ballet. The report he got was that, while most of the choreography was recoverable (there is a lot of early film, and also notation, of the ballet), the cost of re-creating Berman’s opulent sets and costumes would be prohibitive—well over two million dollars today.



#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:49 PM

...
Forgive my ignorance but I don't see how it could possibly be lost. I am old enough to have seen it in its last ABT performances. Surely there are still enough people around who performed it.

Also, again forgive my ignorance, why would it be such an expensive project? It can't possibly compare to the cost of some other projects (I'm thinking of that work in which Carmina Burana was coupled with another piece ...).

I would love to see Tudor's R&J again. This City Center season was pretty sold out, as far as I could see. Perhaps there is an audience for it. I would love a longer City Center season for ABT, but that is a different topic.


Agree, Vipa. But Joan Acocella (see Nov. 10 Links) did get some answers:

... One’s first thought on looking at this duet is: Why can’t A.B.T. revive the whole ballet? When I put that question to Kevin McKenzie, the company’s artistic director, he answered that he would love to. Not long after he took over the company, in 1992, he said, he hired someone to research the possibility of remounting the ballet. The report he got was that, while most of the choreography was recoverable (there is a lot of early film, and also notation, of the ballet), the cost of re-creating Berman’s opulent sets and costumes would be prohibitive—well over two million dollars today.

Ummm :pinch: I wonder how much was the overall cost of the presidential campaigns.. :wink:

#15 papeetepatrick

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:17 PM

...
Forgive my ignorance but I don't see how it could possibly be lost. I am old enough to have seen it in its last ABT performances. Surely there are still enough people around who performed it.

Also, again forgive my ignorance, why would it be such an expensive project? It can't possibly compare to the cost of some other projects (I'm thinking of that work in which Carmina Burana was coupled with another piece ...).

I would love to see Tudor's R&J again. This City Center season was pretty sold out, as far as I could see. Perhaps there is an audience for it. I would love a longer City Center season for ABT, but that is a different topic.

:wink:
Agree, Vipa. But Joan Acocella (see Nov. 10 Links) did get some answers:

... One’s first thought on looking at this duet is: Why can’t A.B.T. revive the whole ballet? When I put that question to Kevin McKenzie, the company’s artistic director, he answered that he would love to. Not long after he took over the company, in 1992, he said, he hired someone to research the possibility of remounting the ballet. The report he got was that, while most of the choreography was recoverable (there is a lot of early film, and also notation, of the ballet), the cost of re-creating Berman’s opulent sets and costumes would be prohibitive—well over two million dollars today.

:pinch: :off topic: I wonder how much was the overall cost of the presidential campaigns..

:off topic: I'll say.... :rofl: If this is too far from the spirit of the game, just delete mine, please. I couldn't resist Cristian's l'attitude and think that had something to do with it too.


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