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RB's new Director announced


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#31 Simon G

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 05:27 AM

"But this is the problem, it's a company you don't know and given that a cheap seat in the Gods is now in the region of £70, a seat for a 3 acter easily in the £100+"

Where do you get these figures from, Simon? The maximum price for 'a seat in the Gods' may be £64 for next Autumn's Beauty but there are many seats available at far lower prices.

A full view seat "in the Gods" to see Beauty can be bought for as little as £24. For Jewels the prices range from £9 to £55. For mixed bills these seats range from £6 to £36. Obviously prices are higher lower down in the House but it is only for Beauty and Nutcracker that the top price seats come to £100+.

I would add that, if you don't mind a very slightly restricted view, it's possible to see multiple performances for your £100+. Personally, I never pay more than £15 for a full evening ballet or £6 for a mixed bill.



Seats in the Gods/amphi for Manon, Swan Lake, Alice centre were £70, £64 is still very much in the £70 region, this is what's now considered a "good" seat. At that height, that far from the stage I would call that a cheap seat. Once you get down into stalls or grand tier, to sit in a restricted view is upwards of £60, for one of the best seats for a three acter you are are looking at £100+. Yes, indeed mixed bills are cheaper, that's why there are fewer of them, you will never sit in front, centre stalls, grand tier for £36. The only time that ever happened in recent history is for McGregor's first mainstage commission.

To claim that the cheaper seats in the amphi, slips or restricted are approaching a great or uncluttered view of the stage or even affords a full view simply isn't true. The sight lines in the ROH are notoriously poor when compared to other great lyric theatres around the world. If you like those cheap seats that's great, they do my head in, not least because I paid what I considered a very large amount, £70 for what I consider a very mediocre seat for Alice.

Moreover, the prices for the next booking seasons have yet to be released, but given the 15% cut in public funding to the ROH the place this will immediately impact is in seat price throughout the theatre.

I don't agree though that the £10 three act and £6 mixed bill slip seats are worth buying, nor the standing restricted view seats.

#32 Jayne

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:30 PM

...the dancers drafted in have been dull and technically limited...One of the reasons Ross Stretton's tenure was so disastrous was that he recognized the weakness in the personnel and was taking steps to tackle the problem, thereby earning their hostility and the rest being history. The purge of rubbish dancers that I've been dreaming of for so long is unlikely to happen with that example existing as a warning to future directors.

Care to name names as to the "rubbish" dancers you would like to see made redundant?

#33 Mashinka

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:04 AM

...the dancers drafted in have been dull and technically limited...One of the reasons Ross Stretton's tenure was so disastrous was that he recognized the weakness in the personnel and was taking steps to tackle the problem, thereby earning their hostility and the rest being history. The purge of rubbish dancers that I've been dreaming of for so long is unlikely to happen with that example existing as a warning to future directors.

Care to name names as to the "rubbish" dancers you would like to see made redundant?


I've a feeling if I named them the post would be deleted.

#34 bart

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:25 AM

Ive a feeling if I named them the post would be deleted.

I'm speaking only for myself here, but opinions about dancers are posted on Ballet Alert all the time.

Tone, of course, has a great deal to do with what makes a good post for this particular Board. As ballet critics have known for generations, there are ways to express lack of preference for certain dancers without demeaning them or their fans.

One of the things I like about Ballet Alert is the general agreement that LIGHT (in the sense of enlightening others) is generally more useful than HEAT when it comes to expressing our opinions.

#35 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:48 AM

Ive a feeling if I named them the post would be deleted.

I'm speaking only for myself here, but opinions about dancers are posted on Ballet Alert all the time.

Tone, of course, has a great deal to do with what makes a good post for this particular Board. As ballet critics have known for generations, there are ways to express lack of preference for certain dancers without demeaning them or their fans.

One of the things I like about Ballet Alert is the general agreement that LIGHT (in the sense of enlightening others) is generally more useful than HEAT when it comes to expressing our opinions.


Ah bart, but a little drama here and there to spice things up a bit is always a nice touch, isn't it...? :FIREdevil:

#36 Rebeccadb

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 02:23 AM

"Everybody on the selection panel was impressed by Kevinís outstanding vision for building on Monicaís achievements over the last 10 years. Kevin has a fantastic track record as a dancer, and understands the importance of nurturing dancers at all levels of the Company. Since his appointment as Administrative Director he has been part of the team that has been instrumental in shaping The Royal Balletís future and securing its welfare, but also in breaking new boundaries and reaching out to new audiences. In 2009 he secured the Companyís historic tour to Cuba, which won rave reviews and featured in two TV documentaries both sides of the Atlantic. This year he led the Companyís latest venture, Romeo and Juliet at The O2 Arena bringing The Royal Ballet in touch with a whole new audience. Kevin possesses all the skills needed to become a visionary artistic director of the Company and we all look forward to working with him in the future."

This was part of the press release from Lord Hall about Kevin O'Hare's appointment as Director Of the RB & to me it says everything about why they chose him as he clearly interviewed impressively & has big bold plans for the future of the company. It also specifically mentions nurturing the dancers at all levels of the company as well as mentioning the groundbreaking work he has already achieved with the rest of the current team such as the Cuba tour & the O2 R&J's in order to secure new younger audiences away from ROH. He also happens to be a successful product of the RBS & an excellent dancer (saw him many times with SWRB & BRB) & he has danced a huge range of rep & is well placed to programme seasons innovatively.

My personal choice for the DoRB was Bruce Sansom, but I can see why the panel opted for O'Hare & he may well turn out to be an inspired choice. Its unlikely he will opt for "more of the same" as he is his own man & has his own tastes & will re-energise the company as he sees fit which should appeal to the naysayers. The important thing is that Mason still has 12 months as Director & audiences won't know what his plans are until March 2012 when the new details are printed & even then as with the OPera it will take a season or 2 for his programming to kick in given how far in advance plans have to be made. No Director past or present operates in isolation & as the press release makes clear he will be part of a team that includes house choreographers & support staff. To describe O'Hare's only abilities as being able to manage a spreadsheet is a gross underestimation of his capacities as he is very obviously an organiser who pushes the boundaries & makes them happen.

As for the RB not having a decent Director for 40 years I'd agree Ashton was rubbish & Anthony Dowell let the standard of dancing fall into the abyss (remember when he hired dancers from Central School of BAllet because the RBS grads could barely stand on 1 foot when Merle Park was in charge?). If the RB are staid & in decline I'd hate to think where that leaves companies such as ABT or NYCB who proved to be infinitely poorer than the RB in every department on their recent London tours.

As for the dancers themselves a number of them are reaching retirement age (& have spoken publicly of their plans) with the 2012 Olympics many will probably opt to go out on a high & it will be fascinating to see what promotions occur & who returns/ joins from abroad. I'd say that at least 4 of the principal ladies will go & 2 more that I can think of should have their contracts terminated & at least 5 men ranging from Principal to soloist are nearing the end including Acosta & Kobborg should depart before the bravos totally stop as neither receive them for the solos that they used to. Of course each viewer has different ideas about who they think should go...

Seat prices: irrelevant to the discussion; Mason & O'Hare don't set them personally, but the 02 is a step in the right direction for taking ballet back to the people at affordable prices.

#37 Mashinka

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:33 AM

Ashton was rubbish


Would you care to enlarge on that statement?

#38 leonid17

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:07 AM


Ashton was rubbish


Would you care to enlarge on that statement?


Briefly, I have been attending performances of the Royal Ballet since 1961.

The Royal Ballet under Sir Frederick Ashton received more international fame under his direction than under and other Artistic Director.

The dancers of the company were not only the most talented and respected artists the Royal Ballet ever had, Sir Frederick, was still creating masterworks.

The company received universal critical approval and it was recognised as a major international export of art and a great attraction for tourists to London.

The tragedy of Sir Frederick was that he was undermined by Dame Ninette who wanted her malleable animal,"Kenneth MacMillan" to take over and her politicking (and some have said her jealousy)got the removal of Sir Frederick and Macmillan proved a disaster as an AD and the Royal Ballet School stopped producing really talented dancers in any number.

The tragedy was compounded by a series of disastrous Artistic Directors until Monica Mason's firm hand brought about a revival of the company's status which is diminishing once again with second rate choreography being staged by second rate choreographers.

As to the new AD to my mind, he lacks suitable status and observing him in the theatre he appears to lack charisma. One hopes that Dame Monica's steady hand will skillfully guide him in his new role.

Few people today will know the absolute truth about the history of the 1960's but certainly it was not that Sir Frederick failed in any manner as Artistic Director as far as the audience was concerned.

#39 Mashinka

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:26 AM

Briefly, I have been attending performances of the Royal Ballet since 1961.

The Royal Ballet under Sir Frederick Ashton received more international fame under his direction than under and other Artistic Director.

The dancers of the company were not only the most talented and respected artists the Royal Ballet ever had, Sir Frederick, was still creating masterworks.

The company received universal critical approval and it was recognised as a major international export of art and a great attraction for tourists to London.


My regular ballet going started only a couple of years after yours Leonid, and I totally concur with the above remembering the 60's as a golden age of ballet under Frederick Ashton's leadership.

As to the politics of his leaving the post, I wasn't at that time privvy to any insider information but it is widely known through his biographers that he was unhappy at having to relinquish his directorship.

I am less enthusiastic about Monica Mason's tenure as I've been unhappy about repertory choices and the odd assortment of imported dancers that she has been responsible for. Sylvie Guillem's treatment by Ms Mason alienated a large section of the audience, still smarting at their favourite's departure. I cross my fingers regarding Kevin O'Hare and hope that he springs some surprises but I won't hold my breath.

#40 Helene

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:26 AM



The press release also mentioned Wheeldon will be part of RB's articstic team, any further detail on that? Will Wheeldon join RB as resident choreograher in additon to Wayne McGregor?


There's no more information so far - it will be interesting to see if McGregor retains his current title and responsiblities, and if so how Wheeldon fits in. But I'd guess we won't hear about the details just yet.

Still no details. PNB just sent out an email to announce that Wheeldon will be in Seattle to rehearse the works on the "All Wheeldon" program, which debuts in a couple of weeks, and to host a preview of the, and only described him as "newly appointed to the artistic team of Londonís Royal Ballet". There's always an introduction and usually a Q&A: perhaps if nothing has been announced before then, there may be some info at the preview and/or from local press in preview articles about the program.

#41 Jayne

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:53 PM

If the change-over happens in 2012, then perhaps Wheeldon has freedom in his schedule through 2011?

#42 Helene

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:16 AM

Ismene Brown's article on the 2012-13 season was posted in today's Links. In her opinion, the season, which will suffer financially from post-Olympic season budget cuts, is "a phasing out of the "curator" approach of Monica Mason and considerably more vibrant creativity from O'Hare, in his tripartite association with new "artistic associates" Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon."

There will be the company premiere of Liam Scarlett's "Viscera", created for Miami City Ballet, on a triple bill with McGregor's "Infra" and Wheeldon's "Fool's Paradise" in November, the company premiere of Macmillan's "Las Hermanas" on a Macmillan triple bill in November-December, a new Wheeldon and a new Ratmansky along with "Apollo" on a triple bill in February March, and a new McGregor with "Symphony in C" in May-June. There's also a new Scarlett to be performed in the Linbury Studio Theatre in May and a revival of "Metamorphosis" in March.

The full-lengths are: "Swan Lake" (Dowell), "Nutcracker" (Wright), "Onegin" (Cranko), "La Bayadere" (Makarova), "Mayerling" (Macmillan), and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (Wheeldon).

A strong triple bill is the Folkine "Firebird", Robbins' "In the Night", and Nureyev's "Raymonda, Act III". (I dislike the Nureyev, but many like his choreography a lot.)

Brown also noted the robust uses of the Linbury Studio Theatre, and along with the Scarlett will be Headspace, Bern: Ballett, a program of choreography by Royal Ballet Dancers, Danish Dance Theatre, Tuckett's "The Wind in the Willows", Phoenix Dance Theatre, and Wayne McGregor Random Dance. Most of the companies have ties with current and former Royal Ballet and Northern Ballet company members.

#43 Drew

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:44 AM

Helene: your summary of next season did not mention any Ashton at all...I understand they are moving away from "curatorial' and one could do worse with new choreography than Wheeldon, Ratmansky, and McGregor (well, the last named obviously will be somewhat controversial) and trying to develop Scarlett makes sense too -- but no Ashton at all?

NB When Leigh Witchell saw the Royal dance Symphony in C a few years he was so dismayed he commented it would be better if they did not dance it at all -- I saw it roughly a week or so after he did and reacted identically to the first two movements -- it was pose/pose/pose as opposed to movement--literally could not have been less like Balancine--...I thought it picked up with Morera leading the third movement, her dance sense and energy seemed to spark the corps a bit and perhaps even just the speed of the music got everyone moving more through the movement. But I was reminded of Balanchine's very snyde remark from many decades back that in England if you "move" then "already it's vulgar." I am all for the company developing their ability to dance Balanchine, but I would be even more in favor of an Ashton or two.

(The Royal's historic neglect of Ashton--corrected by Monica Mason fortunately--is one reason I have never been as outraged by Peter Martins at NYCB as others: uh...he may cast Balancine wierdly, not hire the coaches fans think he should hire, let certain details slide, but the ballets are THERE and done often enough and well enough that they can come to life and periodically do come to very beautiful life.)

#44 ksk04

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

Helene: your summary of next season did not mention any Ashton at all...I understand they are moving away from "curatorial' and one could do worse with new choreography than Wheeldon, Ratmansky, and McGregor (well, the last named obviously will be somewhat controversial) and trying to develop Scarlett makes sense too -- but no Ashton at all?

NB When Leigh Witchell saw the Royal dance Symphony in C a few years he was so dismayed he commented it would be better if they did not dance it at all -- I saw it roughly a week or so after he did and reacted identically to the first two movements -- it was pose/pose/pose as opposed to movement--literally could not have been less like Balancine--...I thought it picked up with Morera leading the third movement, her dance sense and energy seemed to spark the corps a bit and perhaps even just the speed of the music got everyone moving more through the movement. But I was reminded of Balanchine's very snyde remark from many decades back that in England if you "move" then "already it's vulgar." I am all for the company developing their ability to dance Balanchine, but I would be even more in favor of an Ashton or two.

(The Royal's historic neglect of Ashton--corrected by Monica Mason fortunately--is one reason I have never been as outraged by Peter Martins at NYCB as others: uh...he may cast Balancine wierdly, not hire the coaches fans think he should hire, let certain details slide, but the ballets are THERE and done often enough and well enough that they can come to life and periodically do come to very beautiful life.)


Drew, there is an Ashton bill. La Valse/Thais/Voices of Spring/Monotones I and II/Marguerite and Armand. There is also a Macmillan bill with Concerto/Las Hermanas/Requiem.

#45 Helene

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:55 AM

I apologize for leaving off the Ashton program. I was thinking that it was interesting to group all of the Ashton and all of the Macmillan into separate programs instead of mixing the metaphor and sandwiching "Monotones I and II" between "Infra" and "Raymonda Act III", but I left out the thought.


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