CriticalDance Forum

Managing the ROH - past and present
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Sep 09, 2000 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Managing the ROH - past and present

It's broadside time at the Daily Telegraph and its Jeremy Isaacs, former top man at the ROH, who is is firmly in the firing line. Norman Lebrecht, the paper's Opera correspondent, is publishing a book, 'Covent Garden', and over the next 3 days extracts are being published in 'The Daily Telegraph'.<P>The most interesting part of the first day's sections are about the resignation of Genista Mackintosh, which has always been shrouded in mystery. We learn for the first time, <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>McIntosh had gone to Sadler's Wells to finalise the rental contracts with its manager Ian Albery, an ex-West End man with a strong public ethos. Albery knew McIntosh from the National and considered her "totally honest, totally skilled". She arrived in Islington to find two ROH board members awaiting her - Chadlington and James Butler, a director of accountants KPMG and a close associate of Vivien Duffield..... <P>Overcoming her surprise at being shadowed, McIntosh went into the meeting with two directors in tow. Barely had she begun to speak than Chadlington jumped in, telling Albery: "You're negotiating with me now." McIntosh dropped her head and said nothing for the rest of the meeting. Albery, incensed at her humiliation, exacted tough terms, some £300,000 more than he expected to charge. When McIntosh returned days later to sign the contracts she told him: "Ian, you know I would never have agreed to this deal."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Now read on in 4 segments:<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>How the Garden lost its glory</B></A><P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>The humiliation that forced Genista to resign</B></A><P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Backstage, the death of a genius [MacMillan]</B></A><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Three costly tenors</B></A><P>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited September 09, 2000).]<p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited September 28, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Sep 10, 2000 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

The second part of Norman Lebrecht's ROH saga:<P>Nureyev's defection and its impact on the career of Fonteyn. There's some idle speculation about whether they were lovers. A number of the interviewees seem to ignore several examples of gay men finding very close loving relationships with women who were not their sexual. More interesting is the discussion about the impact of Nureyev on the men in the RB. I'm sure he did have a dynamic effect on the vacuum that seems to have followed the retirement of great dancers like Michael Soames and Alexander Grant.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>For Madam [Ninette de Valois], Nureyev brought a form of liberation. Anxious about the effortless superiority of Russian ballet and the high-octane energy of American upstarts, she knew that her male dancers lacked training, technique and hunger for success. With Nureyev's arrival, her troubles were over. "Until Rudi came along," said one young company male, "all a man had to do to get into the Royal Ballet was, more or less, turn up and show willing. Nureyev completely changed the pace. He engaged with female dancers, manhandled them. It was exciting, virile."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Fonteyn and Nureyev</B></A><P><BR>Arrangements for a special government pension for Fonteyn. Difficult to feel that there is any injustice in this:<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Fonteyn's pension</B></A><P><BR>Lebrecht recounts Diana's love of the Royal Ballet. Very sad as he claims that Charles found her carefully rehearsed duo with Wayne Sleep 'undignified' and told her off. In addition, when the divorce settlement went through she never went back to the <u>Royal</u> Opera House, but devoted her time to ENB.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Diana and the ROH</B></A><P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited September 11, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Sep 11, 2000 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

The third and final part of Lebrecht's ROH revelations.<P>Some information about the departure of Kaiser, but not a lot of back-up. So close to the events, I guess everyone is keeping quiet. However, it bears a resemblance to the problems of his predecessor Genista Mackintosh. The general feeling here is that kaiser is a great loss and there is a concern that the ROH could easily slip back into its old bad habits. There is also a bit about a conflict of interest back in the 50s and 60s between the Arts Council and the ROH. On its own it doesn't tell us much. Maybe it has a better context in the book.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>The departure of Kaiser</A><P><BR>In this section he taks about how the ROH nobbled the Editor of 'Opera' magazine. Don't really see why the man's extreme ugliness is relevant.<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Unbiassed commentary?</A><P><BR>This story shows how a homophobic ROH story reared its head in the 50s London press, but was suppressed by the press barons.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>The ROH and homophobia</A> <P><BR>If you have comments about any of these stories, then please share them with us.<P><BR>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Sep 12, 2000 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

Norman Lebrecht uses the problems of the Dome to put forward his ideas for te future of the ROH. His central theme is that the link with the State needs to be severed. His method is to give the ROH a State endowment of £125m doubled (just like that) to allow it to sail off into the sunset with everything hunky-dory.<P>I just can't see how this would work. Firstly, an endowment of £250m will only generate some £16m pa in this time of high interest rates, which would decline rapidly if rates fall. Given that the ROH gets a grant currently of around £20m pa, I fail to understand how they could balance the books now. In addition they would run a great risk of bankruptcy if rates fall. <P>Secondly, an independent ROH could pull up the drawbridge and become a truly elite organisation for the rich and the famous, if it so chose. Given the recent very high level of ticket sales, much of it for corporate entertaining, how long would it be before a privitised ROH raised prices to balance supply and demand? Would that be a good way to spend £125m of tax-payers money? <P>'The case for privatising is incontrovertible...', I'm afraid not Mr Lebrecht - back to the drawing board.<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Lebrecht's blueprint for the ROH</B></A><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited September 13, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Sep 13, 2000 10:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

In The Daily Telegraph today there is a letter replying to Norman Lebrecht's ROH privitisation article. Go to the link below and scroll down to 'A Song and Dance'. <P>It has a lot of similarities to my comments above and is from someone called Stuart Sweeney.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Link to a smug b*****d's letter</A><BR>

Author:  grace [ Thu Sep 14, 2000 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

congrats on your letter being published, SB. Image<P>only bit i don't understand is this bit: "Given the recent very high level of ticket sales," - do you mean tickets have been selling well, i.e. full houses? sorry, to be such a dummy.....<P>have lebrecht's articles instigated other responses from readers? and is the book out already?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Sep 26, 2000 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

Sorry i missed your points earlier grace. Yes, the ROH has been running at capacity for all opera (sigh) and nearly capacity for ballet for most of the year.

As far as I know there wern't any other letters and there was no discussion on rather surprisingly.

As you know now, the book is available from Dance Books. Here is the link to the relevant topic in Miscellaneous.;f=11;t=000212

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 18:23: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Oct 04, 2000 12:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

A Times review of Norman Lebrecht's book about the ROH, 'Covent Garden -The Untold Story'. One interesting point is that where the reviewer, Margaret Reynolds, has checked the facts, she finds Lebrecht to be accurate.

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 18:23: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Nov 23, 2000 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

'The job that can't be done' Norman Lebrecht brings the search for a successor to Michael Kaiser up to date.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>the telegraph article</A> <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited November 23, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Dec 01, 2000 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

Andrew Clark, the FT Opera critic voices his views on the current position in the Royal Opera House. Some of his comments surprise me. <P>- He criticises the fact that Kaiser is primarily an Arts Administrator and seems to suggest that this is a change from the past. However, the three most recent holders of the position - Mary Allen, Genista Mackintosh and Jeremy Isaacs - fall into the same category. <P>- He suggests that there are still major problems with the scenery shifting, 'One year after the Royal Opera House re-opened, little has changed.' My impression is that a major initial problem has now been reduced to an occasional one.<P>He also says, 'All this is a recipe for board interference.' Although we do not see what goes on behind the scenes, this does ring true.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Andrew Clark on the ROH</B></A><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 02, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Dec 11, 2000 1:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

'BBC chief is top choice for Royal Opera' Richard Brooks, Arts Editor of The Sunday Times surveys the field: <P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Dec 11, 2000 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

'BBC chief in running for Royal Opera job.' by David Lister for The Independent:<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><BR>Theatre/Opera/2000-12/opera111200.shtml</A> <P>'BBC news chief on shortlist for top Covent Garden job Surprise contender for post of Royal Opera House executive director.' by Tania Branigan and Matt Wells for The Guardian:<P> <A HREF=",7493,409758,00.html" TARGET=_blank><BR>broadcast/story/0,7493,409758,00.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited January 18, 2001).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

It looks as though Tony Hall, the head of news and current affairs at the BBC, has got the top job at the ROH. Apart from his managing/admin experience at BBC News he has no background in the Arts. At the least I can only think that this will leave him vulnerable in debates when other senior members of the ROH team oppose his ideas. It certainly shows the extent to which this job has become a poisoned chalice. <P>He is described as an opera lover and no mention of ballet has been made in any of the articles about him. Let's see what happens, but for the time being I can't get excited about this potential appointment. <P><BR> <A HREF="Http://" TARGET=_blank>Http://<BR>/Theatre/Opera/2000-12/opera151200.shtml</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited January 12, 2001).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 16, 2000 2:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

Swansong for Michael Kaiser - as he leaves for the Kennedy Centre, he has a final photo shoot and interview for the Evening Standard.<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><BR>?in_review_id=343841&in_review_text_id=287378</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 16, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Jan 12, 2001 12:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Managing the ROH - past and present

Image <P>Tony Hall<P>It's official! Tony Hall, the Director of BBC News, is taking over from Michael Kaiser and will join the organisation in April. He seems to have made a big impact at the BBC and my guess is that there may well be some feathers flying at the ROH over the next year and no bad thing.<P>His credentials as an opera lover are paraded, but, as the Media frequently forget, there is some dancing that takes place at the ROH as well. I hope that he confirms the parity of status of the two art forms as Kaiser did at an early stage and goes to see 3rd and 4th casts as well as the stars. In his first weeks Kaiser made a real impression on the RB by doing this. <P>Here is the ROH press release:<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P><BR>And a detailed biography:<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P><BR>'BBC chief takes £120,000 pay cut to head Royal Opera House.' Fiachra Gibbons, arts correspondent of The Guardian reports:<BR> <A HREF="Http://,4273,4116110,00.html" TARGET=_blank>Http://<BR>Archive/Article/0,4273,4116110,00.html</A> <P><BR>'Head of BBC News takes Royal Opera job.' By Nigel Reynolds for the Telegraph.<P> <A HREF="Http://" TARGET=_blank>Http://<BR>eqp&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/01/1/12/nhall12.html</A> <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited January 18, 2001).]

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