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 Post subject: Death of Norman Morrice
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1640
Location: London UK
I heard from a friend last night that Norman Morris, noted choreographer and former director of both Ballet Rambert and the Royal Ballet, had died. This morning I discovered this anonymous and highly opinionated obituary in The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... db1502.xml

My memories of Norman Morris go back a long way and I remember him best as a choreographer at home with both narrative and non-narrative works. Personally I was not happy that he ceased creating ballets after becoming RB director.

Quote:
the received view that Morrice was a failure as a Royal Ballet director - and he tended to be swept behind more famous directors (Kenneth MacMillan and Anthony Dowell) on either side of him -


I don't understand this 'received view' certainly his appointment came as a surprise to most people as we rather thought Nureyev would succeed MacMillan (though some company members favoured Fonteyn for the role) but there was such hostility towards MacMillan in so many quarters that I think it was a bit of a relief when Morrice took over.

As my own interest is primarily in choreography I look back at Morrice's directorship as something of a golden age when new work of quality still appeared on a regular basis. Norman Morrice also encouraged British dancers by his no guest artist policy wich hugely benefitted artists such as Lesley Collier, Jennifer Penney, Wayne Eagling, Stephen Jefferies, Derek Deane and others.

I would give a lot to see Morrice's 'safe' version of swan Lake back at the RB again as there have been too many sub-standard (and expensive) productions foisted on the public since Morrice's tenure as director; at least in this obit he is given credit for his enthusiastic encouragement of young choreographic talent.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Thank you for the "real world" opinion on Mr. Morrice. I'm glad to have a different perspective from the paper's.


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 Post subject: The Times gets it right
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1640
Location: London UK
Now here is the obituary that Norman Morrice deserves:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 192233.ece

A first rate piece of writing that gives due appreciation to Norman Morrice's work together with photographs of the man himself and one of his ballets.

The only fact I would query here is the assertion that:

Quote:
he dispensed with the services of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, who had hitherto dominated the cast lists.


In 1977 when Morrice became director Fonteyn was getting on for 60 and Nureyev 39. As Fonteyn was winding down her appearances because of age and Nureyev's erratic performances were becoming embarrassing it was hardly a controversial decision. When Fonteyn reached 60 and officially retired Morrice staged a memorable (not a dry eye in the house) farewell gala for her, which if I remember rightly Nureyev chose not to attend.

I was greatly saddened to discover that Morrice had been forced to restrict his social activities after being mugged near his home. I was also attacked just yards from my front door a couple of years ago and appreciate what an ordeal venturing out alone can be.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Yes, that's much better. Very informative.


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