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Kathleen O'Connell

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Everything posted by Kathleen O'Connell

  1. I hate to be that "well, actually ... " person, but I believe the women only dance barefoot in Elégie. But yeah, it's an awful lot of minutes of unbound hair and swirling tulle cocktail dresses to sit through until we get to T&V. If they had to televise a movement other than T&V, Elégie is definitely the one.
  2. I too prefer whole ballets to excerpts. That being said, Balanchine himself elected to present excerpts from his ballets for the Dance in America series featuring his choreography. There was no Jewels in its entirety, only excerpts from Emeralds and Diamonds. (And not even the entirety of those two ballets, either, just excerpts.) Only excerpts from Chaconne. Only the Andante from Divertimento No. 15. Only Elégie from Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3. I have no idea why Balanchine chose to have only excerpts of those ballets televised, but he did.
  3. A video of Natural History, a new ballet choreographed in the time of Covid by Troy Schumacher, for his company, Ballet Collective, performed on an outdoor stage at The Mashomack Fish & Game Preserve Club in upstate New York. Brian Seibert's New York Times review: City Dancers Unleashed in the Wild. There are eight dancers, six from NYCB and two from the Martha Graham Company: Devin Alberda, Anthony Huxley, Ashley Laracey, Lorenzo Pagano, Erica Pereira, Davide Riccardo, and Leslie Andrea Williams. Per Seibert's Times review, they quarantined together nearby and rehearsed on a local school's basketball court. Today (9/13/20) may be the last day that the stream will be available, so check it out if you are interested.
  4. As far as I'm concerned, the announcement of Ahn, Bell, Brandt, Forster, Royal, Shayer, and Trenary's promotions is a ray of sunshine in a dark time. It's heartening to see a U.S. arts organization embrace its future in the face of so much uncertainty. I've enjoyed watching each of these dancers perform and have gone out of my way to catch some of them when they've been cast in featured roles, so I'm delighted to see their careers advance.
  5. That is great news! I'm rarely in a position to consume a live stream from start to finish, so being able to dip in and out over the course of a few days is a real gift.
  6. I too would prefer whole ballets to excerpts, but I am also delighted that NYCB has decided to make their digital season free and available on whatever screen the audience has available to them. I'm not inclined to watch ballet on my phone while I'm waiting in line at the grocery store, but someone else might be and I think it's a fine thing that they can. I absolutely agree about the need to tailor the content to the platform so that the art on offer is shown to its best advantage. I'd be shocked if NYCB doesn't have pretty robust data from its digital spring season regarding which programs got the most views, which got the most repeat views, which platforms—e.g., Facebook, YouTube, etc—the audience used most often, and what devices the audience used to watch. (And if they don't have this data, they need to bring the right talent onto the team.) The percentage of the audience that watches via YouTube on a laptop, vs the percentage that watches via their phone on FB, vs the percentage that watches it on their TV via the YouTube app on their Amazon Fire Stick may help them think about what will best showcase the company's rep and its dancers. Another thing that might be driving the use of excerpts: the ability to showcase as many dancers as possible in roles that suit them best. And we've all been to enough performances to know that on any given night for any given ballet you might get an absolutely world-beating performance by half of the cast while the other half looks like they're dancing it for the first time to music they've never heard before. Excerpts allow the company to shine a light where they need to and tactfully tuck the rest of the tape away in the farthest reaches of the archive.
  7. More out-of-the-ordinary opera, this time from Bard College's Fisher Center Upstreaming project. The Bard Music Festival and Summerscape programs are always inventive and very well produced. (It helps when your college president—in this case Leon Botstein—is also a very well-regarded conductor and musicologist.) Richard Strauss - Die Liebe der Danae Antonin Dvořák - Dimitrij Emmanuel Chabrier - Le roi malgré lui Ethel Smyth - The Wreckers Carl Maria von Weber - Euryanthe Sergey Taneyev - Oresteia Anton Rubinstein - Demon Erich Wolfgang Korngold - The Miracle Of Heliane All well-produced video, with subtitles and downloadable programs. Upstreaming's non-opera offerings are worth exploring, too, including choreography by Beth Gill, Tere O'Connor, and Pam Tanowitz. I don't know how long these programs will remain online.
  8. Is this where we put Opera? Not covid-19 motivated streaming, but free streaming nonetheless: OperaVision, sponsored by the EU and under the editorial supervision of Opera Europa, the European association of opera companies and festivals. These are well-produced videos of live performances from a variety of European opera houses and festivals. The videos are available for viewing for between three to six months after they've been posted. They are subtitled and come with some nice ancillary materials. There are some popular favorites—e.g., Tosca or The Marriage of Figaro—but many, many more less well known and / or infrequently performed works, such as Frank Martin's version of the Tristan and Isolde story Le Vin herbé or Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Right now I'm working my way through Mozart's Lucio Silla in a performance at Brussels' La Monnaie. Yeah, the production is vaguely eurotrashy (it's La Monnaie after all), but it features the very wonderful mezzo Anna Bonitatibus as Cecilio, and is worth it for that alone. A few of the operas on offer come down in a few of days (Halévy's La Juive, Korngold's Violanta) so if you are interested in either, don't delay. Note: the dates are shown as they are in Europe and elsewhere: day-month-year. PS: OperaVision is where Close, posted a few messages above, is from
  9. Perhaps the hope was that hydroxychloroquine would mediate the immune system's potentially deadly inflammatory response to the virus—the now infamous "cytokine storm"—rather than target the virus itself. I think that's why the drug is given to patients with certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  10. In deference to Wagner's intentions and in defiance of human biology, The Metropolitan Opera stages Die Fliegende Hollander and Das Rheingold without intermissions. (The operas are each about two-and-one-half hours long.) Lots of critics and scholars have tried to justify this on the theory that the resulting continuity from beginning to end is a better musical and theatrical experience. Of course, it's a pretty lousy musical and theatrical experience when one's bladder or one's back—or both—are clamoring for your immediate attention RIGHT NOW barely two-thirds of the way through, and this has apparently never occurred to the opera powers that be.
  11. Many of the organizations that fund dance-related non-profits are making efforts to address the impact of Covid-19, either by providing additional funding or by allowing their grantees to use their grant money to meet general operating expenses rather than for the artistic projects they'd hoped to pursue in 2020. At the moment, funders may see their immediate mission to be trying to keep their grantees afloat in the short term, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was heightened receptiveness to matters like resiliency or cultivating digital audiences going forward.
  12. Thanks for the heads up! The interview is also available via The Drawing Room's podcast, so I'll be able to give it a listen while I attend to some chores.
  13. I found this prominently displayed at the bottom of SFO's page for today's The Makropulos Case stream, which suggests that they secured buy-in from every union involved in making opera seasons happen, including the Box Office and Front of House Employees Union: San Francisco Opera extends its gratitude and appreciation to the following labor organizations whose members, artists, craftsmen, and craftswomen greatly contribute to our performances: American Federation of Musicians, Local 6 American Guild of Musical Artists, Inc. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 16 Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 784, I.A.T.S.E. Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Union, Local 706, I.A.T.S.E. The Art Directors Guild & Scenic, Title and Graphics Artists, Local 800 United Scenic Artists Local USA – 829, I.A.T.S.E. Box Office and Front of House Employees Union, Local B-18 In addition to the text above, they've also included three of the unions' logos, much as arts nonprofits often prominently display the logos of the foundations and governmental agencies that support them. Good for SFO. Their pitch for making a membership-level donation to gain access to their past streams is clear and persuasive. The Makropulos Case is one of my favorite operas, so I'm definitely tuning in.
  14. I also think that it would be perfectly legit for ABT to reserve the video to those donors who elected to give at some specified level, e.g., the member minimum of $100. There aren't very many perks they can offer their members right now, and offering a special video as a thank-you isn't on the face of it out of line.
  15. Nope. I don't subscribe, but I do buy at least a ticket or two for most NYC seasons — and that's usually full-price orchestra tickets for the Met and first ring tickets for The Theater Formerly Known as State. If they can't figure out that I'd be a likely target for some Crisis Relief Fund digital content they need to bring some new talent into their marketing and development departments. Oh, and get a few board members and / or a foundation to fund a targeted engagement of a law firm specializing in digital rights negotiation and management.
  16. Was it announced to existing donors only? I can't seem to find a public facing announcement.
  17. I think it's perfectly legit for performing arts companies to ask for a donation in exchange for access to material video content, especially full-length performance videos or "gala evenings" assembled from archival video footage not otherwise available. The companies need to raise money and they will also likely need to pay something to the various rights holders (and other stakeholders) out of their proceeds in any event. And, if they didn't secure the right array of digital and broadcast rights when they made the video, they're going to have to pay their lawyers to negotiate for them after the fact. A performing arts organization may secure the rights to make a video for archival / training purposes when they license a work, but not the rights to broadcast or otherwise disseminate the video. If they want to make that footage public, they need to get permission first.
  18. So, of course I had to google them. I watched their little video, which promises "Strength, Discipline, Agility, Friendship" — that and a wall of mirrors would seem to accommodate both a dojo and a ballet studio. Alas, there's no ballet in evidence on their website.
  19. On a slightly different tack: data on which US businesses and non-profits received Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loans is now publicly available and ready for review and analysis. (This is why there's been a sudden flurry of "PPP Shaming" in the press and on social media. Whether it was appropriate for certain kinds of businesses and non-profits to receive PPP funds and whether they should be shamed for it is certainly worth of debate, but I'm not going to go into that here.) Propublica has put together a very nice tool to search for loans over $150,000. You can search by organization name, lender, zip code and business type. If you want to see which ballet companies received loans over $150K, you can start by typing "ballet" into the search field. If the company's name contains "ballet" and if it received a loan over $150,000, its name should show up on the list. By way of example, here's the result for PNB: PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET ASSOCIATION Loan Amount $2-5 million Location Seattle, WA Industry Dance Companies Business Type Non-Profit Organization Jobs Retained 264 Lender U.S. Bank, National Association Date Approved April 13, 2020 Looking for loans UNDER $150,000 is a more challenging task. You can download a CSV file for recipients of loans under $150K by state from the Small Business Administration, but the files are huge. Depending on the computing resources available to you, it might take a long time to download, open, and parse the file for the states you're interested in. Have fun!
  20. Alas, some (many?) of the most vulnerable—members of Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities as well as members of the precariat generally—won't be able to remain in quarantine. They will have to work outside the home, irregardless of the risk to their own health and the health of their families and loved ones. Someone has to work in the cafeterias that feed all those college students, and it's likely to be an older service worker making minimum wage with a cluster of risk factors setting them up for infection. If the arc of history were truly bending towards justice, these very essential workers—people who drive the economic engine just as much as a hedge fund manager or a silicon valley billionaire or a sportsball player—would be be at the front of the vaccine line along with medical personnel.
  21. New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs budget for the coming fiscal year has been reduced by just under 11% to $189 million. (It was $212 million last year.) Frankly, I'm surprised the cuts weren't more drastic given the city's current and anticipated revenue shortfall and the need to re-direct funding to help those communities that have been hardest hit by covid-19.
  22. It was a pleasure to revisit the company more or less as it was when I first started attending NYCB performances regularly w-a-a-a-y back in my salad days. I was particularly glad to see the Heather Watts I like to remember.
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