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Simon G

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Everything posted by Simon G

  1. Perhaps I was being a tad facetious regarding writing to Dupont? Actually, as long as a smoker does not light up in your house, or in an enclosed space where you are it's none of your business where or when a smoker lights up, nor is it mine or anyone else's. Yes, a non smoker has the right to protect themself so they can either move, request the smoker leave their house (though most will indeed ask or not light up in someone's house at all.) It would never be appropriate to speak to Dupont on the subject as it isn't your business, again Dupont is NOT a role model to anyone. Indeed I find people who designate themselves to be role models more overbearing and unbearable than the air in a smokers' room. If Dupont wanted to hold a smokers party for smoking members of the Paris Opera Ballet, film it and release it on DVD, that would be her choice; and a very niche product. I sympathise absolutely with the pain of losing a loved one, but if someone smokes it's not wholly cigarettes' fault, it is their choice to have continued, their responsibility and every smoker must at the very least acknowledge that free will is a very real issue and their death is their own. I'm not being cruel, it's hard to quit, boy do I know it, I will always always be a smoker even though I no longer smoke and I will always crave a cigarette at my key times. I know certain people are able to smoke two or so at those trigger times during the day and no more, I couldn't do it. And the reason why I quit was health related and I do sympathise with the health issue, actually more than symapthise I stopped because of it. However, even when I did smoke I made sure not to inflict my smoke on others and certainly never around kids. I don't know what more there is to say about this, it's kind of come full circle some time ago.
  2. Well Le Riche clearly declines as he had just finished one of his own and is fearing the wrath of the stage manager for putting out another one on the stage flooring. That stuff isn't cheap! Maybe Jeune Homme is actually an allegory on the perils of smoking, with La Morte being death by smoking-related causes? The ballet is indeed way existential.
  3. Oh, my. Just curious: did you actually start smoking then? (When still a grade-schooler I remember drawing red circles with a felt-pen around the middle of my dad's cigarettes in an attmept to get him to stop. The anti-smoking ads of the late sixties showed someone doing that, so my little bros and I did it, too. Dad was furious. But, being a medical doctor, he finally decided he could not also be a hypocrit. So he quit.) -d- No, it wasn't quite that bad, I did go to dance school, first White Lodge, then London Contemporary Dance School where I started smoking at around 16/17, LCDS was very very stressful and it did contribute to my decision, also everyone else smoked so it just seemed natural to start - strangely I had been rabidly anti-smoking prior to that. Though I remember feeling sick to the gills for several weeks while I acclimatised to the air of Marlboro Country. There was tar in them there hills.
  4. In order to bring this convo full circle, here's a video of Marie Agnes Gillot puffing away like a chimney whilst onstage no less, albeit in Le Jeune homme et La Morte. It comes at the 8:20 mark, I looked closely and YES unlike Clinton she's inhaling. Impressively, unlike Aurelie Dupont, Nicolas Le Riche declines to join her.
  5. Bart, On the question of health costs it's actually a non brainer, the costs to the health services of smoking related ailments is actually a fraction of the revenue taken by the treasury from tax on tabacco, Government makes a lot from people dropping dead, far far far more than it does from caring for them, indeed if the treasury was to lose the income from tabacco tax they'd be in trouble. On the question of public approval, this is where I have a real problem, even though I'm no longer a smoker, smoking is a personal choice and the notion that the public must be so censorious or didactic makes me uneasy, if you don't smoke watching smokers won't make you start. I mean how far underground do you want to push it? what's next Smoking Speakeasys a la Chicago during prohibition? In which case I want to be the emphesemic Al Capone, the Godfather of Nicotine. I always thought I could make it big in organised crime, if someone here would like to be my moll?
  6. For kids smoking will always be associated with louche coolness, anti establishmentarianism and belonging to the in clique, which let's face it every kid wants, long term health isn't an issue. I'll never forget my terror on my very first day of kindergarten. Sensing my fear my mother pressed her pack of Marlboro reds and her zippo lighter into my chubby little hand and told me to wait until break and then share them out amongst all my new friends, she was right, I soon became the most popular pre schooler in juvenile detention. Her heart was in the right place, if nothing else, my dear mama.
  7. The thing is Drew Dupont, Gillot etc didn't ask to be role models, nor would they claim to be them. Sure one can say that they are de facto role models, but this is nothing more than an outside or third party reading. For these two Gallic luvverlies they probably thought no more of lighting up in that casual Frech sexy way than they would do walking down the Champs Elysees eating a croissant, singing Chanson D'Amour and pouting their lips sounding out "boff" to signal their disapproval of foreigners not sporting the latest haute couture. Not that I'm making a grossly contrived, vaguely xenophobic caricature of the French or anything. I suppose that's the only problem I have with the main content of the argument they smoke, it's a part of who they are for the present, their dancing is what makes them aspirational everything else is immaterial to anyone wanting to make them a role model or so they would argue. On the subject of Kirkland and snaffling down elephantine amounts of cocaine do you remember in 2005 the Cocaine Kate scandal? When Kate Moss was pictured tooting in a recording studio. The press was in umbrage saying how could a role model to this? But she wasn't a role model, she's never claimed to be anything other than just a model. I'm not for one minute saying that Moss is anything other than a rather silly woman, and Dupont & Gillot are indeed artists, but you've just got to accept that chaque une a son gout et C'est la vie, mon brave!
  8. Richard, Are you secretly Rob Reiner? The thing is cigs will never be illegal as long as tax revenue is there to be garnered and indeed why should it, people have been enjoying a tab for millennia in one form or another. Though if it were to be made illegal it'd just push it underground, it'd be just like the days of prohibition with Emphysema Speakeasys, with a troupe of wheezing hoofing iron lung flapper girls. What gets me is that sure the odd stray whiff can be annoying, but think of all those sleights small and large, petty infractions, annoyances and irritants that happen to one over the course of a lifetime, are any of those truly worth getting one's knickers into such an inordinate twist? Smoking is a choice and sooner or later every smoker decides to quit, and it's hard or continue. As tragic as the stories of loved ones dying are, Aurelie Dupont is not nanarina's father and should she continue to puff away till her lungs are black wizened lumps of tar rattling around in her rib cage it has absolutely no relation or bearing on anyone else's death or illness. With all the stresses, insecurities, injuries, hardships and worry a dancer has to face, will you really deny her the occasional cig, or not so occasional if that's what floats her boat?
  9. I used to smoke for years and I stopped, but by far my favourite holiday destination of choice remains Marlboro Country, with it's verdant rolling plains and snowy-topped mountain peaks, how I loved to wrangle cattle my Marlboro light glued with spit to my lower lip, a scaramouche trail of exhaled smoke filtering through the cracks of my careworn straw stetson - My beloved Marlboro country, I miss it all the more for being so long parted. In truth I think it's important not to be too precious regarding "my freedom stops etc etc", I mean it's estimated over 50% of methane gasses destroying the ozone layer is a result of livestock flatulence, those aren't my farts but they're slowly destroying the polar ice caps and irrevocably tipping the world to the brink of Armaggedon. As has been said there's more harm in the crap in the air from pollution, exhaust fumes etc than catching a whiff of second hand smoke. The history of smoking predates ballet, in regards to the original question one could ask instead of "why do dancers smoke", "why do smokers dance", it's actually an equally banal question either way to which the only real answer is "none of your business".
  10. Surely if Aurelie Dupont, Marie Agnes Gillot or any other dancer or indeed person wishes to smoke it's their business and theirs alone. But if you truly feel so strongly about it why not write to the POB and take it up with Dupont? I'm sure she'd be delighted. www.operadeparis.fr
  11. 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.
  12. Hey Bart, J has it slightly wrong, the candidates whose names were confirmed are Bruce Sansom, the duo of Michael Nunn & William Trevitt, Alastair Marriott, Ashley Page, Wayne Eagling. Ashley Wheater says he was approached, and rumoured to be on the list were Kobborg, Rojo and possibly Guillem. O'Hare was the rank outsider. Alexander Campbell is a very nice dancer with a solid technique who is a first soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet who's decided to take his chances with a demotion and move to the RB at Covent Garden, which is brave within the smaller, parochial BRB he's really shone. BRB have a very different repertory and ethos to the RB, they do many three act ballets by David Bintley which are financial if not artistically sound and a very reduced approach to the classics. Though they do have Peter Wrights lovely versions of Sleeping Beauty, Giselle which they share with the RB. They also have a slightly truncated version of Romeo & Juliet, which is probably no bad thing. The problem BRB has always faced is attracting star ballerinas to its company, they have some lovely dancers to be sure and it's very much an entity in its own right. Many dancers from Covent Garden who've languished or stagnated make a move to BRB and their careers take off, with the increased opportunities to perform and a wider more commercial rep. Natasha Oughtred moved to BRB to first soloist and then principal, Jamie Bond moved after a couple of years at Covent Garden in the corps and is now a principal. Moving the other way is risky. Campbell goes from first soloist with a wide principal rep, to soloist. At Covent Garden he'll be up against a much bigger talent pool and jostling for parts as well as far fewer performances. Also at Covent Garden because so few RBS trained dancers ever get to perform principal roles the first soloists and established soloists really guard their roles.
  13. Well, from the shortlisted candidates, if you wanted to go down the "traditional" route of one AD I agree with Mashinka that Bruce Sansom would have been a very good decision, bringing to the RB much of what Hubbe is bringing to RDB. He has all the attributes of O'Hare only better. One of the best male principals of the RB from the past 25 years and a product of the RBS, he has an innate understanding of the rep and the company and a great knowledge of the Ashton rep which is the cornerstone of the Royal Ballet's greatness. Once his dance career ended he interned at SFB, Rambert as trainee AD - he has a wide and varied experience of programming on an international level and from a contemporary perspective. And this is crucial as the cross bleed of modern ballet into traditional reps is very much a part of the modern ballet landscape, but unlike the RB who are in the throes of this continuing love affair with Wayne McGregor Sansom has actually worked with a wide selection of modern choreographers and companies. Samsom is also very much his own man, he has some swagger to him and attitude and that's a good thing, he has strong opinions and voices them. In interview he comes across as opinionated, passionate he's not a smiling yes man. Most crucially through his experience directing within dance schools he has an intense awareness of the crucial nature of nurturing, finding and teaching young talent. The RB is blighted by the policy of importing star principals, ignoring its heritage and the school and letting talent languish within the lower ranks, sometimes for their entire careers. This isn't the schools fault entirely, the school is not state run or subsidised and the cost of full training is astronomical, putting ballet far out of the reach of families and talented children from working class or even comfortable middle class families. Dance is the prerogative of the affluent often because they're the only ones who can afford to train their children. For a potentially incredible pairing I think the wild cards of Michael Nunn & William Trevitt working as co directors could have been stellar and I've already spoken about them at length. Their position within the UK ballet world is pretty much unique. I do agree that a "star" dancer such as Kobborg or Guillem might have been disastrous. But Guillem has a great track record of working with second tier companies, getting them onto world stages and really inspiring them. She also has a great and healthy respect for the classical repertory and has been extremely censorious of the damaging effects on dancers bodies of working in both classical & contemporary mediums within one season. Another thing I really agree with Mashinka on is that Stretton, for all his shortcomings, was right in his appraisal of certain dancers, there were some pretty poor dancers who coasted. He angered people greatly by immediately sidelining them and it wasn't exactly subtle, but he had a point. For all his shortccomings he immediately identified talented, young dancers who were languishing and brought them to the fore. Putrov & Nunez were greatly underused under Dowell. You need people for the role who are not afraid to be disliked, hated even but who can get results and the RB does need to be shaken up.
  14. How on earth should I know I wasn't there? You like O'Hare, fine, well he's got the job. And I'm sure ten years down the line under him the company will be pretty much as it is now, which is why they hired him. I don't think that's anything to look forward to or be proud of, though he'd better start casting his net to attract or find ready-made star principals because those in the RB are coming to the end of their shelf lives and the RB seems adamant in its policy to not promote talent within the ranks or from the school. And the company will be foreign principals, homogenised generic ballet, indifferent unmotivated corps dancing 80% warhorses, a McGregor or two every year, a Wheeldon every year, ticket prices increasing (though that 15% cut this year is a bit of a red herring as over the next three years the funding will increase to the levels it's currently at before the cut). The tickets are currently the most expensive for any lyric theatre in the world, and I don't mind paying top dollar for something worth the price, sadly what's on stage isn't worth £107 for a good seat for a three acter, or £70 to sit in the gods. There's no reason for the RB to be so mediocre, but to not be mediocre takes guts and a risk of failure, they'd rather a mediocre AD to preserve a mediocre status quo. And that's all this issue is, there were candidates who could potentially have been incredible, there hasn't been an incredible AD at the helm for thirty years. The fact that now when they had a real chance to change this trend they didn't is what's so depressing, disheartening and really really doesn't bode well for the future of the Royal Ballet as any kind of valid, artistically vital ballet company, which it once most definitely was.
  15. I was suggesting nothing of the sort. I was saying that a board and panel comprised of professionals to find an artistic director for one of the major world companies should have had more than one dance professional on it. Moreover, since as you say Wright and O'Hare have such a long history perhaps it would have been better to include a wider ballet demographic to avoid the suggestion of favouritism and bias against other better qualified candidates.
  16. Leigh, That's the crux of this issue and one that's been discussed at length in the media regarding this appointment. The RB has been treading water for a decade or more and that this was a chance for several artists who'd spent the intervening years since leaving RB to establish themselves within the wider world of dance to take the reins. Mashinka mentioned Sansom who it would appear was the closest contender to O'Hare. Sansom is a forthright, artistically minded individual with a huge scope and range of ballet from being a great exponent of Ashton at the RB as principal to assistant directing and administration around the world and leading artistic initiatives and programmes within the wider world of dance. He's also got an edge, a real edge which isn't about being an iconoclaust in the Nureyev mould, it's about being someone who could bring something new, refreshing and more catholic in approach. The real wildcards would have been Nunn/Trevitt who've done more than any other individuals within the UK to establish ballet in a wider media. They actually managed to get programmes about contemporary ballet and their company on terrestrial prime teatime television on Channel 4. Moreover the respect they've garnered as principals and leaders of their own company within the UK is huge. The list of choreographers they've brought in to choreograph for them is deeply impressive and their initiatives to establish a younger, fresher appeal to contemporary ballet at major venues around the UK and abroad is the kind of remit the ROH states it wishes for its own endeavours. They even managed to get Michael Clark to choreograph for them, a coup which could have directly impacted on a tenure as AD at the RB, as Clark is probably the only dance artist working within ballet who has a huge, broad cross spectrum and fanbase outside of ballet who come to watch his work wherever he presents it. A fanbase that the likes of McGregor can only dream about. It's not that there aren't better much better candidates out there for this prime position. You'll see the same dismay at this appointment throughout the media, the same names being trotted out as better ADs. What is dismaying is how out of touch the board of the ROH and the panel were to ballet.
  17. Why bother going to ballet anymore? A question that is rife among these boards as people passionate about ballet and their home companies, some of whom have been watching the Royal, NYCB, Mariinsky etc for decades continually ask themselves as they've seen the state of ballet and the art they love greatly deteriorate, as companies they love have been shadows of what they once were. I never damned Campbell with faint praise. I think he's a very good dancer, with a great deal of charm, technically able, BUT one thing which has saddened many avid RB goers over the years is the lack of promotion to some very very good dancers by the ADs in charge, while many lesser dancers have been promoted. Pennefather, Makhateli and to a lesser extent Watson's climbs to principal status despite the fact that they have poor classical techniques being cases in point. The languishing of Xander Parish at the lowest level of corps for six years before becoming the first British dancer to ever be offered a contract with the Mariinksy where he has now been promoted to junior soloist/coryphee and dancers principal roles being another. Campbell may very well rue this change when he finds that the abundance of performance opportunities BRB offered him dwindle in the face of fewer performances, smaller roles and far more principals and first soloists clamouring for those parts he once considered his right to dance at BRB. You hope I "eat my words" regarding O'Hare? But I won't, because it's painfully obvious what he's there for and also what's in store with this tenureship. Mashinka wanted Sansom, who would have been an equally adept choice in terms of dance admin background, he was also a far better and more accomplished artist than O'Hare and to top it off he's got a definite edge to him. An edge which I dare say when push came to shove the board choosing the new AD thought perhaps they may be able to control, that he was nowere near as malleable as the charming, well liked and rather anodyne O'Hare. Or if they'd wanted to really shake things up a diumverate of Nunn/Trevitt might have been sensational, for no other reason than with their cutting edge approach to classicism, their media savvy and contacts and their relations with artists, real classicists of stunning talent such as Michael Clark, Maliphant, Guillem coupled with their huge shared histories in the RB and classical ballet could have possibly been sensational. But they wouldn't have been safe. This appointment is safe, it's unremarkable and it's shocking in how completely unchallenging to ballet as an art it is. And believe me the RB needs to be challenged, and the fact that I find so much about the present state of the company mediocre, banal and poor won't stop me from going to ballet, because I love ballet deeply. I love dance passionately and whatever else I may think or feel I still always hope that something will get better. And so when I pay £70 to sit in the gods to watch Alice, it doesn't fill me with schadenfreude or waves of joy to see something so poor, mediocre and flimsy it makes me sad, but I'll still go back and watch a triple bill with two works I don't want to see in order to watch Scenes De Ballet, because I love Ashton. Though judging by the way he's treated by the RB I wonder if they do. I also feel the prices at the RB are exorbitent, obscene and will only get much worse in the face of the recent cuts in funding. Like I said unless you have £70 odd to spare to sit in the top amphitheatre, added to train travel, possible overnight stay if you miss your last train, food, etc you might want to rethink those frequent trips to London to see Campbell. If you want to sit closer to the stage especially for a 3 act, you'll now need around £110+ for a good seat. This is is the kind of thing I'm talking about when I express dismay at the state of the ROH, the direction and the future of the RB. Fine I'll stop damning with faint praise. O'Hare is the wrong man for the job. No ballet company and the RB was once one of the greatest in the world, that cares about being at the cutting edge of dance would make an appointment such as O'Hare. He's a puppet for upper management and whatever management consultant was brought in to advise on how to get more money out of the corporate crowd. He's a smiling yes man who will be happy to carry on a tradition of mediocrity.
  18. 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+ which will be going up given the 15% cut in funding to the ROH would you want to travel to London for a single performance? No one is being harsh, no one is dissing O'Hare or being rude or offensive or derogatory, but this hiring is deeply problematical, not least because you can see the spectre of a boardroom spreadsheet looming behind every decision to come. He was a good basic dancer, then a good administrator a great AD needs an artisitc direction which is dynamic and exciting. You say give him a couple of seasons, well we know what those seasons are going to bring. It's been outlined already, more McGregor, more Wheeldon, more three acters and more outside hiring. That's not artistic direction, that's the same old same old.
  19. Why? I've said absolutely nothing offensive whatsoever. Kevin O'Hare is a nice man, not an AD. Campbell is a nice dancer, but in the RB where one of the biggest criticisms being that many talented soloist level dancers are never given opportunities is this cross-hiring necessary? There's absolutely nothing to be offended about in passionate arguments.
  20. I really have to disagree. Great ADs aren't administrators. The biggest mistake of the post Stretton era was extending Mason's contract from caretaker, which was necessary in the immediate aftermath, to AD lasting 11 years. In that time RB has lost all sense of direction, not just as a producing theatre, but in terms of its identity and purpose. Under Mason seat prices soared, the onus on three act classics became the dominant force, audiences dwindled in terms of ballet fans and the corporate sector was pursued at every other expense. The style of the RB became a homogenised mulch and the starry brought in principals hid the poor state of the school, the increasingly ragged corps, the almost zero chance of promotion and a company that looked, much of the time, as if it were phoning in their performances. When Dowell got it right he really got it right, The Stravinsky Triple Bill, being a case in point, he also saw the benefit that one or two permanent guests could bring to the general level of technique, he also actively nurtured talent from within the ranks, which made the defections in the late 90s such a bitter blow for him. I'm certainly not saying he was brilliant, he wasn't, but he still saw that the identity of a company was intrinsic to its artistic purpose and direction. We know what's happening in the coming seasons, another couple of McGregors, maybe another Wheeldon, 80% classics. There are going to be problems as the lions share of the princ.ipals are really reaching retirement, several have gone on too long. And then what's he going to do? He's answerable to the board, and the board aren't going to sanction rapid promotion to unknowns of talent from the lower ranks to three act evening length works where ticket prices now top $200 for a single seat. The RB isn't an artistic vehicle it's a star vehicle or a business vehicle Saying that "an iconoclast would be welcome" isn't the point. What is an "iconoclast" anyway? What is needed is a strong, forceful, dynamic person capable of pushing a tired institution into a definite and thrilling direction. Look at Hubbe at RDB, Boal at PNB, even Eagling at ENB has dragged an incredibly beleaguered financially company, into a coherent, exciting body of dancers who when challenged really bring out the dancing goods. Mashinka is right, the RB is mediocre, sure it has some great stars, and great dancers who are never given opportunities, but as an artistic institution it's mediocre and pretty directionless, or rather all directions lead to the boardroom. Where O'Hare, I'm sure looks very nice on a spreadsheet. Only one ballet professional, Peter Wright was on the selection panel hiring the next AD. With this appointment it really shows.
  21. This is another one of those bizarre transitions that the RB likes doing. Alexander Campbell is a nice dancer to be sure, but there's no shortage of nice, functional dancers with a bit of swagger in artist or first artist rank who are ripe for promotion. They'd have been far better off trying to poach Vadim Muntagirov from ENB for first soloist that would have been money well spent as Muntagirov has if nothing else a virtuosity very much lacking in the RB ranks of men.
  22. And so are bad ones. Being a ruthless jackass isn't a mark of artistic genius. It only signifies the intention to wield power. That's true Leigh, but the point is that I'm not talking about a ruthless intention to wield power, nor do I think that being power crazed is the mark of a good or bad AD, nor even the mark of a bastard, moreover being a bastard isn't necessarily a bad thing. But one thing a great AD isn't, and the RB needs a great AD, it hasn't had one in forty years, but great ADs aren't nice men in admin roles who've bizarrely been elevated to top dog position when other better qualified and more exciting candidates were rejected. Rock asks how can one know so much about him before he's done anything? And that's just it, one doesn't know anything about him except that everyone thinks he's a "good bloke", he's very good at organising a spread sheet and there's a certain partisan zeal (and understandably) from the old BRB audience who are delighted that one of their favourite dancers who went into middle management is now bizarrely AD. If you look at O'Hare's "outline" of what he intends doing for the RB, it's basically a carbon copy of Mason, who while she has given a certain stability to the RB by turning it into a carbon copy of the ABT model, erosion of company style, stagnation of promoting home talent in favour of starry imports, political home promotions, overwhelming onus on three act moneyspinning classics, reduced performances, increased prices etc Basically turning the RB into a business model rather than a force of artistic direction. Okay, I get that times are hard, but there's no way that the RB can be classed as a world-class company anymore when it had phenomenal home grown talent dancing, choreographing. Though to their credit ABT know in Ratmansky that they have an artistic force who's the real deal. I've no doubt that O'Hare's fans of which there are many are delighted, and that's cool, I'm not attacking him as a person nor am I attacking his BRB fans. But this is a truly depressing appointment because you know what you're going to get a caretaker, not an AD, who will carry on the same old same old for another 10/15 years. Nice man, doing what he's told, putting his spreadsheets and board meetings and directives before artistic direction. He's not an AD he's an administator, so let him administrate.
  23. Well, actually, I think that's exactly what they do have in O'Hare. A pleasent, unremarkable, efficient administrator who will do exactly what the board made up of executives tell him to do. This isn't artistic direction, this is flaccid status quo being preserved. Kevin O'Hare seems like a nice man. Who is happy to keep the huge onus on three act money spinners danced indifferently, an influx of foreign stars, the odd political promotion of a mediocre RBS product, the egregious wobblings of Mcgregor with a couple of nods to classicism with Wheeldon every other season. The RB hasn't had a clear artistic goal or purpose in decades, what Mason has done is give some stability in what has been a fairly staid and artistically directionless tenure. What she has done is make the RB a nice place to go, with astronomical prices, which the corporate crowd is happy to pay because it's a "nice" night out, in a "nice" place to go and isn't ballet... "nice". ADs, good ADs are bastards, they're uncompromising, they have clear vision, they revolutionise companies, their appointment causes excitement and most importantly they make the companies they head places to be, they rejuvenate and galvanise. This appointment is just terrible, Sansom could have been interesting, Nunn & Trevitt would have been extremely interesting, Ratmansky would never have stayed, though he would have been brilliant. O'Hare is just a man in a grey suit doing what the men in grey suits tell him to do.
  24. Dirac, I think in this case you can assume that the ROH is catering directly to its core subscribers/individuals. In the UK we have several Dowager Marchionesses, which is a title in itself. So when the current Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, Bute, Queensbury, Lansdowne etc etc etc books her tickets online (or has some flunky do it for her) she'll get a lil frisson of delight to see that the ROH subscriptions department has catered precisely to her title. Now that's customer service. Thanks. But I believe "Dowager" also applies as a title in itself to others? There's a Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, for example, although I don't recall that she's much of a balletgoer. Why marchionesses and not duchesses? Unless you mean by core subscribers exactly that - individuals whose names are on the list. My apologies if I'm being dense. Yeah, that's what I meant. They've obviously compiled this list from their core demographic, subscription list, friend list or database. Though I can't imagine they'd be billing Queen Elizabeth for her box. The ridiculousness of it aside, as Helene said at Bayreuth you get Herr or Frau, it's kind of crass. Bear in mind too that the ROH & all its enterprises is funded greatly from taxpayers money, the ROH receives more than any other arts institution in the UK despite the fact that the companies never tour the UK, the venue caters to a tiny percentage of the population who indeed fund it, nor want it nor use it, or indeed feel excluded by the nature of high art - and you get a really nasty taste in one's mouth. That pull down list of the social elite which the ROH so tactfully and tastefully wants you to know makes up its core demographic are essentially sitting in seats partly subsidised by the taxes of the hoi polloi and unwashed masses who don't have the benefit of significant tax breaks, havens or skilled accountants well versed in the art of legal tax dodgery. The same cant be said for those on the pull down list. Meh. I think the ROH can knock their protestations that they're serving the whole of GB and high art is for all bunk, which they trot out regularly that's the egregious part how disingenuous it all is. Not least because the RB started out as a socialist ideal, bringing ballet to arts' deprived Britain in the Old sadlers Wells for a few shillings a ticket.
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