In terms of a mixed bill selling I think that there is PR and there is also choice of ballets. ...
...just trying to make the point that a program could be put together what would sell with the right hook and a little PR push.
I also wonder if more could not be done to make these programs sell better and I was surprised not see more "fuss" whether in advertising or special features about an evening featuring premiers by the two choreographers usually considered the best classical ballet choreographers working today. Of course, it would have been good for ABT had the NYTimes, say, had a big Sunday feature on their "Premier" night. (I should add that it's entirely possible a Times writer or critic lobbied to do such a feature and was turned down by the editors.)
But I also think casting can work wonders, which Vipa also suggested. What about a classics to premiers evening that included "Other Dances" with Osipova-Halberg alternating with Vishneva-Gomez? That would be artistically substantial and a crowd-pleaser. Macaulay's own suggestion about pairing a short work with one of the shorter, two act "full length" works is also shrewd.
ABT's "audience" may be happy with the current Met seasons--but that does not mean they would not also be happy if the company developed its strengths in repertory programs (or, for that matter, improved the quality of their full length productions). By featuring just one repertory program for four performances in the middle of the week, it's as if the company is actively discouraging audience interest by showing its own lack of faith in that kind of program. The Met season is the company's "big" New York season so what they do there matters and there are a number of short works that, historically, have played there very well including ABT classics such as Rodeo and Fancy Free.
I don't think the ABT Met season need or even should radically change--far from it--and I hugely admire much of what Mckenzie has done. As the director of a ballet company only in fantasy, my job is a lot easier than his! Still, I can't help but think that at least a full week or week and a half could be managed of two different programs or varied mix and match repertory with shrewd audience-pleasing casting. I also suspect that having more repertory programing would generate more interest in that programming, as it would show audiences that these programs are an integral part of the season, and that the company itself has faith in what they are doing.
To say something a little more directly on topic: in one or two articles I have thought Macaulay sounded as if he simply wished ABT were a different company and for me as a reader those are not his most interesting moments, but in his review of the recent premier evening I did not think that was the case and he does seem to put his finger on something at least some ABT fans care about...which is part of the reason it has generated this discussion...