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Kathleen O'Connell

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About Kathleen O'Connell

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Member of the Audience
  • City**
    New York

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  1. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    For the record, I'm agnostic as to whether Stafford (or any member of the current interim team) should be appointed as the company's new AD. There are a number of viable candidates and I hope that they each get the consideration they deserve and that the situation warrants. That being said, it's time to make a decision and let the company move on. Based on my own professional experience — which wasn't in the arts, but was for a time in academia — co-leadership arrangements were fraught with peril, and never worked out as intended. (Per NYCB's 12/9/17 press press release, Stafford leads the team, i.e., it's not a co-directorship. I don't know how much actual decision-making authority he has or whether he could overrule the other members if he believed he needed to.) Bu my experience is only anecdata, and I'd expect the Board and its search committee to do some research on the potential benefits, perils, successes, and failures of such arrangements in other arts organizations before making a decision.
  2. Kathleen O'Connell

    Winter 2019

    OMG, yes. I have hated that shirt since forever. (OK, at first, in my earliest newbie days, I was mostly puzzled by it. "Why is that grown man dressed like Tsarevich Alexei?") I've assumed the costumes were a nod towards the kind of idealized peasant garb that's become so firmly embedded in productions of the 19th century classics that it's practically a uniform. I think that at some point (after Balanchine's death?) a sort of satiny peasant corset was added to the ballerina's bodice, which added to that impression. (Compare what today's NYCB ballerinas wear in the role to what McBride wears in the video with Baryshnikov.)
  3. Kathleen O'Connell

    Winter 2019

    I was just getting ready to post this. It's about time! The current costumes are just ... blah, especially the lead ballerina's, which appears to have faded into a, bland, nondescript, and very un-regal kinda pink, kinda peach. This looks gorgeous.
  4. Kathleen O'Connell

    Winter 2019

    Savannah Lowery performed the role a few seasons back.
  5. Argh! I can't believe I misspelled Giddens' name. She is one of my favorite artists.
  6. WNYC & the Metropolitan Opera have started jointly producing a new podcast called Aria Code, hosted by Rhiannon Gibbons of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame. Each episode examines a different (famous) aria in detail. The January 2 episode is about “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila. I've started listening, and it's pretty good. Here's a video of Elīna Garanča, who is featured in the episode, performing the aria at the Met. You can hear Rachvelishvili sing "Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix" on her new album.
  7. Kathleen O'Connell

    Winter 2019

    I really, really like the Met's production of Pelleas et Melisande, although I don't think it's universally beloved. I hope you enjoy the show! I last saw it on New Year's day in 2011; Simon Rattle was conducting and the great baritone Gerald Finely was Goloud. He stole the show, IMHO. That ticket was some of the best money I ever spent.
  8. I'm embarrassed to admit that I only stumbled across Anita Rachvelishvili the other day! (Via this NYT article.) A few seconds into my first clip I wanted to run, not walk, to the Met box office and throw all my money at them for tickets to her performances.
  9. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    Yes, and secure enough to neither take all the credit nor pass along all the blame.
  10. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    You can view and download the whole text of Cubism and Abstract Art on MoMA's website. (Amusingly, there are a ton of proofreader's marks in the copy MoMA has posted, which is from its own library. I don't know if these were Barr's own corrections intended for a later edition or if someone on the curatorial staff was being cheeky, but some of the corrections aren't wrong. 😉) As a Matisse and Kandinsky girl, I'm not entirely enthusiastic about the whole "It Started with Picasso" theory of modern art, but no one is going to take my word against Barr's! And yes, I'd love to see the Barr chart of ballet.
  11. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    I honestly don't know if Stafford is the best choice or not. It was simply my intention to point out that if experience doesn't matter, then the lack of prior experience alone wouldn't be an argument against his candidacy. (If he is indeed a candidate. He may not be interested.) Re gender: I'm sure I've lost track of this, but has anyone on the Board actually come out publicly and said they would prefer that the next AD be a woman? ETA: Sometimes the whole purpose of hiring a search firm — especially when it's done with some fanfare — is to give the in-house candidate legitimacy: "Well, we hired a search firm and carefully considered every candidate they brought us, and what do you know, it turns out that the perfect choice was right on our very own or chart all along!" I'm not saying that's what's going on here, but I've seen it done more than once.
  12. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    Respectfully, I think that sounds like a nightmare for both parties. How would the AD's duties be divided between them? Who would have the authority to make decisions regarding repertory, casting, hiring, promotions, and commissions? I can easily imagine the formation of Team Stafford and Team Whelan, with plenty of behind-the-scenes lobbying for influence undermining company cohesiveness, regardless of how amicably the two co-ADs tried to work together. It's my understanding that the "Co BalletMaster-in-Chief" arrangement between Martins and Robbins worked because Robbins was mostly interested in making and maintaining his own ballets, not running the company. In addition, it would be perfectly reasonable for either of them to look at the Board and say, "Wait a minute, why don't you trust me to do this job on my own? If you don't have faith in me, why should the dancers, the donors, and the audience?"
  13. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    Well, Jonathan Stafford certainly danced like a man of steady habits. (And I mean that mostly as a compliment. From the house at least, he looked like a terrific partner, but he also tended to look like the lead ballerina's Prime Minister rather than her Cavalier. ETA: But his droll Prince Ivan in The Firebird was *chef's kiss*. ) The institution NYCB mostly reminds me of is MoMA. It started out scrappy, and with a bold vision of the new, but now everyone shows up for the permanent collection.
  14. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    Both Kirstein and Robbins were alive and actively involved with both the company and the school when Martins assumed the role of "Co Ballet Master-in-Chief." Indeed, Robbins was the other Co Ballet Master-in-Chief and Kirstein was President of SAB. The current Board does not have that luxury. If prior experience leading an arts organization doesn't matter, why not just keep Jonathan Stafford and his team in place? A year on, this team does in fact have some experience and from the outside, at least, seem to be doing a fine job. By the way, I stumbled across this 1985 NYT article while I was confirming Kirstein's involvement with NYCB / SAB post-Balanchine: Art and Money in a Ballet Conflcit "The current conflict between Lincoln Kirstein's supporters and those who have recently challenged his authority in the School of American Ballet - which he and George Balanchine established before founding the New York City Ballet - has raised issues faced by arts groups throughout the nation. The concerns involve fund-raising versus directorial independence and the influence of major donors or board members on policy. Also involved is the clash between a corporate mentality brought into arts organizations by recently formed boards and the unorthodox spirit that guided pioneering arts enterprises such as the Balanchine-Kirstein ventures during the last 50 years." La plus ça change ...
  15. Kathleen O'Connell

    Job posting for artistic director

    Might? I'd say "probably." 😉
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