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 Post subject: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2001 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Having read of the contretemps betwixt the ballet and the opera that is occurring over the renovation of Lincoln Center, and as I understand it, at the Bolshoi, the Maryinsky, and the Royal Opera House, sometimes I wonder if these two art forms can ever get along.<P>Should they get along? (I happen to love both) Are their needs too different to share one house? <P> Should their input into management decisions be based on their house receipts. That could be a vicious circle. Or should the box office returns be shared? <P>Why does it seem that the ballet always takes a second seat to the opera? Or is this simply an illusion?


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 Post subject: Re: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2001 3:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I can only speak of the ROH. Few doubt that the Royal Ballet has been treated as second best there for most of the past 20 years. To his credit, this was less evident under Michael Kaiser. Why should this be the case?<P>There is greater demand for opera in the UK and top opera singers are seriously expensive. Thus although seats for opera are about double that for ballet there is greater demand for them:<P>- You can get to know opera at home with high quality CDs, whereas videos of ballet are Ok, but not stunning.<P>- Opera has more cache and you can take non-arty corporate customers to the Opera and if they recognise a couple of tunes they can kid themselves that they have had a good time.<P>When you call the place The Royal Opera House it's amazing how often the media nas somtimes the Senior Execs forget to mention that ballet goes on there as well. I wonder if it's just a coincidence that after spending £211m on a rebuild, it is still the worst theatre in the UK for dance.<P>With Kaiser things were changing because he was the first Chiek Exec. in a long time who actualy enjoyed ballet. His replacement admits that he has never been to see a ballet in his life. I can't believe that this is a good start! <P>I don't think ballet needs as big a budget as Opera, but it does need stage time etc and the two forms should have equal status on that and similar technical resource issues. I'd be interested to hear how it works with Paris Opera Ballet as they seem to do very well, but maybe even there opera does better.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Do you think that because the ballet is seen as something physical that it is seen, subconsciously, as something less worthy?<P>At one time, the ballet was an intermission divertissement for the opera, while I don't know that opera has ever been a "trifle" on the program for ballet. Do you think that this mindset lingers today? <P>Certainly, the "rats" of the ballet in Paris (the young dancers) were seen as the playthings of a portion of the male contingent of the audience. The salon de la danse was used to this effect. Does this aroma of "trifling" (and therefore denigration) have a lingering effect? <P>I know that opera is physical work for singers - but it's not quite as obvious as for dancers. And is physical work seen as denigrating? <P>And opera singers look a great deal more substantial than do dancers. Perhaps because dancers tend to be younger, and therefore not as important? <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2001 5:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
stuart:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>His replacement admits that he has never been to see a ballet in his life.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>are you serious!?! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2001 6:19 am 
Grace, I read that too from somewhere. Welcome back by the way from your holiday.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Cousins, Seemingly Always at War
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2001 7:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
What really surprises me - silly me - is that this is true in Russia too. In my opinion, in the West we are more aware of the Russian Ballet than Russian Opera. To most of us (am I wrong here?) "Bolshoi" means ballet (yes, I know it really means 'big'). <P>I have heard so many times when foreigners travel to Russia they are taken to see the ballet - and yet, even in Russia the theater management tilts toward the opera.


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