The following are excerpts from a conversation in the Oregon Ballet Theater topic about Christopher Stowell's choice of taped music.
Dean Speer posted:
Crab department Okay, Mr. Stowell (and Ballet Board!) start with the live music! This was more than a little disappointment - to sit through ballets that could have been done live (Duo Fantasy was with live music). If the excuse is "money," then get over it! I say this because the danger is, as I see it, that if you allow everyone to get used to having no music for even a while due to the dollar excuse, this may be slippery slope that devolves to, "Well, we've gotten by for X years without it, why start now?!" -- even if they could afford it. My stong belief is that you cannot affort to be without. The live music component needs to build in tandem and parallel along with all other aspects of the ballet; technical, artistic, audience expectations, how the house "feels" when you come in, and more. The lighting, costumes, and dancing are done live; how much more then is music that we all claim to be the springboard for dancing in the first place?
Wow, I'm shocked!
Well I don't know what the "per service fee" in Portland is, but here in the SF Bay Area live music(meaning an orchestra in the pit) is $20 -$25K for each set of performances. So depending on our schedule thats $100-125K per season.
This is a much debated issue and we don't need to go in to it here. Just sharing some facts. If we had a policy of live music only, then there wouldn't be a Diablo Ballet. What to do?
Dean Speer responded:
In the context of OBT's opening and of its making a statement about its future, I stand by what I said. For its big "first" outing, they should have bucked up and had live music, otherwise, they are sending -- unintentionally or otherwise -- the message that taped music is okay. And it also tends to have the effect of apologizing and living up to a poor, self-image.
If, again, the goal was to send the message that OBT's image is changing and for the better and is well on its way to becoming a major West Coast ballet company (which I believe it is!), then they really, really should have had live music for its opening run. A better solution, to me, would have been to have used piano for all of the works, the Andrews' ballet aside. At least this would have said, "Okay, we're here, we're on the move, and we're trying to do it right. We cannot have an orchestra right now, so we are using piano to provide live accompaniment and are excited and happy that someday we will be able to realize our dream of utilizing an orchestra, when orchestral instrumention is called for."
Others have any thoughts?