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Tracey

Change in programming for 2002/3

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Following the appointment of Monica Mason as Acting Director she's made some changes to the forthcoming season.

ROH website

There is a note from Deborah MacMillan near the bottom above Romeo & Juliet - read between the lines.......

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Thanks very much for posting that link, Tracey.

Reading between those lines, and patching together other fragments, the seemingly-conflicting stories can be made to fit. IF Lady M proposed changing the schedule, and IF Stretton did not wish to do so and IF he was pushed by the board to make the change and IF he said he would resign if he did not have authority and then did -- realizing that these are all IFs that have been in British news articles and that I do not know what happened, then I think Stretton was right to resign and I admire him for doing so.

This scenario also explains the statements by several Most Likelys for the job that they would not take it unless it were absolutely clear what the board wanted and that the board would back the new AD's policies.

I don't think he was the right man for the job. I thought he made several injudicious and inappropriate remarks. I think the stories from the dancers indicated there were problems. As a civilian, not a critic, I would not willingly sit thorugh Prince of the Pagodas again. However, the Artistic Director needs to be able to set his repertory.

Now that the changes have been made :( I think the triple bill is a good idea, as is the tribute to Nureyev. It's so lovely that one is his most noted roles, "a solo from In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" is to be included. Ms. Guillem and Nureyev were not particularly chums, but there you go. The living always win, in these situations :)

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Well, one could argue that "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" is one of the few works created for the POB during Nureyev's directorship which are still very active in the repertory- but indeed it is a rather bizarre idea (and probably Guillem included it mostly because she premiered it and wanted to dance it herself?) I can't find a reason for the inclusion of Pierre Darde's solo (Darde is one of the senior POB sujets, he's done a few choreographies, including "Orison" premiered by the POB a few seasons ago which I had found quite disappointing).

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I wondered about the Darde, too. I'm not familiar with it, and thought it may have been The Very Last Solo created for Nureyev, or something like that. Yes, In the Middle was acquired for POB during Nureyev's directorship -- and he may well have adored it -- but that has nothing to do with his career at the Royal, and there are dozens of ballets that do. It sounds more like a Celebrate Sylvie evening than Remembering Rudolf. :(

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I don't know what Nureyev thought about "In the Middle", but probably he was interested in Forsythe, as he had asked him to create another work "France-Dance" earlier, in a period when Forsythe wasn't well known... Anyway, you're right that it has little to do with the Royal Ballet! Perhaps they could have revived "Paradis Perdu", to know if it looked as bad now as when it was premiered :(

I've tried to find some information about the Darde solo with google, and all what I could find was in Italian, from various sites of summer festivals in Italy; it was included in some performances of Guillem and Hilaire (it seems to be a male solo but I'm not sure). Well, that sounds like a "me, me" program...

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I'd like to see Paradis Perdu -- and it would be interesting if the Royal would revive it, actually. A good reminder that in its heyday, the Royal did commission experimental works. Paradis Perdu may look like it's by the hand of Aristotle himself, in these troubled times :(

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To be fair, the press release does say they're celebrating Nureyev, not his connection with the RB. At least no-one can accuse them of being parochial. And of course one of the ways in which Nureyev influenced the RB was by introducing Guillem to the company and to us. I should think Guillem's take on him will be fascinating.

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Well, it would be nice if it were just a tribute to Nureyev, period, as opposed to "Guillem's Nureyev," but I guess it's a quibble. Didn't Ashton do a solo for him when he first started appearing with the Royal? That would be interesting to see, if revivable.

Keith Money took some evocative pictures of Paradise Lost, and although I'm sure it was interesting with F&N, it's hard to say how it would look on anyone else. I think it would be worth seeing although of course it's a moot point as far as I'm concerned, unfortunately. :(

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I think they tried to revive the Ashton solo for Nureyev (Poem Tragique, I think -- to Scriabin) for a gala honoring Ashton when Ashton "retired" from the Royal and Nureyev couldn't remember it, so I think it's lost, unfortunately. But why isn't Ashton represented? He had a lot more to do with Nureyev's career than MacMillan, and M&A is conveniently in repertory.

I don't see what In the Middle and the Darde solo have to do with Nureyev, no matter how they're celebrating him.

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They don't, actually. I was trying to be nice, since I hammered Ms. Guillem so hard over the Vogue cover. :(

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How about reviving the Fridays Child pas de deux from Jazz Calendar which Ashton created for Nureyev and Antoinette Sibley?

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Granted, the choices were probably not made with very subtle logic, but in a roundabout way, I think one can make a case for the inclusion of In the Middle as it says something about Nureyev as a director, which is something that deserves to be studied and looked at in retrospect. I'm a little more nervous of celebrating Nureyev as a choreographer.

Nureyev in Apollo must have also been a very interesting thing. I know John Percival writes of it very highly; was there a variety of opinions on that? I've seen tapes of Nureyev in Bournonville; he's never bad in it, but it generally doesn't look like Bournonville. Does Balanchine look like Balanchine when Nureyev danced it?

On the Macmillan programs, I'd have to say The Judas Tree is not anywhere near the top of the list of one-act Macmillan ballets I'd like to see revived or even preserved in this case. But then, ballets where the central action is the gang rape of the heroine are not ballets I would rush off to buy tickets to. And unfortunately, one could do an entire gala evening of "Kenneth Macmillan celebrates violent sex." Well, it's either a gala evening or a doctoral thesis.

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About Nureyev's Apollo, I remember John Taras saying at a conference once that he thought it was one of the best he had seen, that Nureyev gave it a demi-charactere approach that Taras thought appropriate. (I also remember Peter Martins saying that Balanchine said Apollo was demi-character.) I think it is wonderful that the Royal Ballet is doing Raymonda, too. All those solos should be good practice for the Sleeping Beauty, and the music is so wonderful.

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I saw Nureyev's Apollo during his Mid-Creaky Period. I adored Nureyev, but I think everything looked like Nureyev, not like Balanchine, Ashton, Bournonville, or whoever. Not that it wasn't interesting and wonderful! It just looked...different. What I do remember is his absolute commitment to it. Whatever he was doing, he believed in it.

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Nureyev in Aureole. Somehow he managed to find a way to make a weighted rhythm an equivalent of the low center of gravity of a modern dancer. And his belief in the material, and himself.

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I saw photographs of him in Appalachian Spring. Always wondered what that performance must have been like.

It's too bad the Nureyev/Apollo relationship had a sad ending, with the Balanchine Trust taking the rights away from him -- age was taking its toll on his performances. Barbara Horgan was quoted as saying they were very sorry to have to do it, but "it just couldn't go on like that."

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Sad to say the Balanchine Trust was right to stop Nureyev dancing Apollo. His late performances did little honour either to the ballet or the dancer. But when he first danced the role it was amazing. Certainly a very demi-caractere approach and quite different to the way NYCB dances it today. But Wow! All at once you realised the story those steps and gestures had originally conveyed. What was also rather touching was that he was clearly trying to cool down the temperament. The result was rather like a boiler with the pressure valve screwed down....

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