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What will Kevin O'Hare's 2020 Season look like?


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Kevin O 'Hare said at the time that he announced his ambitious scheme for the creation of new works for the company that he hoped by 2020  to be able to programme a whole season consisting of works created during his tenure as Artistic Director. I am not quoting him directly but that seemed to be the gist of the announcement. I know that 2020 seems a long way off  but the 2020-2021 season is not that far off. I thought it might be rather fun to start thinking about which of the new works are ones to keep and which should be consigned to oblivion.

 

I have no idea whether he will achieve his ambition or not. He might be lucky and have more good ballets than he needs to fill the programme for a whole year but there again he might be short of new repertory for a whole season.Only time will tell.

 

 It seems to me that if we don't start keeping track now we may manage to forget some of the new works that might be in contention as only fit for oblivion as season succeeds season. My suggestion is that we start now and just before the season 2020-2021 season is announced we construct two separate programmes for that season one consisting of the best of the new works and the other made up of the turkeys.

 

I will begin by identifying Woolf Works, Winter's Tale, Alice and making a wild guess include Acosta's Don Q as being programmed in 2020-2021. I somehow think that new works will turn out to include new productions. I imagine that the A.D. won't be that unhappy if he does not have to programme that many mixed bills. I wonder whether he has got Lady M's permission not to perform one of her late husband's three act works in that season? 

Edited by FLOSS
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Not interested in 2020.

 

What I want to know ASAP is what he plans for the year before, 2019, the hundred year anniversary of Margot Fonteyn's birth. Nothing other than a year long celebration will satisfy me.

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Not interested in 2020.

 

What I want to know ASAP is what he plans for the year before, 2019, the hundred year anniversary of Margot Fonteyn's birth. Nothing other than a year long celebration will satisfy me.

Given the response to Ashton's centenary, you might want to steel yourself for disappointment (yes, I know it was a different AD then, but still).

 

As for 2020, I presume we can rule out Elizabeth since Acosta has retired and Yanowsky will be mid-40s (and probably also retired), unless they have another cast in mind.

Edited by Melody
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I will begin by identifying Woolf Works, Winter's Tale, Alice and making a wild guess include Acosta's Don Q as being programmed in 2020-2021. I somehow think that new works will turn out to include new productions. I imagine that the A.D. won't be that unhappy if he does not have to programme that many mixed bills. I wonder whether he has got Lady M's permission not to perform one of her late husband's three act works in that season? 

 

Frankly, I find the idea of a whole season with nothing older than 8 years a very depressing thought.   The only work from the list above that I have seen is Woolf Works, and while I enjoyed it I am not sure I would want to see it again.  Not as a 3 act ballet, anyway, although I would be interested to see one of the acts (maybe the first or last) as part of a triple bill. 

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I wonder whether he has got Lady M's permission not to perform one of her late husband's three act works in that season? 

 

I am not sure whether she would be that worried, but I think KOH may have clarified that this plan could relate to calendar year 2020 rather than a whole season; so it could be the last six or seven months of the 2019/20 season and the first four months of the 2020/21 season and so avoid issues with what some might feel would be a very unbalanced season.

 

I haven't looked back at records of what KOH actually said, but if it is the case that this would be limited to works created while he has been AD I am not sure Alice should be on your list. 

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Given the response to Ashton's centenary, you might want to steel yourself for disappointment (yes, I know it was a different AD then, but still).

 

 

I was surprised by this comment as I'd remembered a season full of Ashton works in his centenary year (2004/5).  I've just checked and found that the following ballets were performed that season:

 

Wedding Bouquet

Sylvia

Scènes de ballet

Diverts: Awakening pdd, Thaïs pdd, 2 variations from Devil's Holiday, 5 Brahms Waltzes, Voices of Spring pdd

Daphnis and Chloë

Cinderella

La Fille Mal Gardée

Rhapsody

Marguerite and Armand

Enigma Variations

The Dream

Ondine

Symphonic Variations

A Month in the Country

 

I, for one,  wasn't disappointed by that selection. 

 

Edited to provide my source which was the following press release (which was reproduced on the Critical Dance website ):

 

 

 

Monica Mason

Director of The Royal Ballet

 

People often ask, 'what is the English style and where did it come from?' Without doubt the

foundation of this style was laid down by Frederick Ashton and this Season, in honour of

his Centenary year, we'll be paying homage to Ashton and celebrating his work.

Ashton was a genius who knew what pleased him and how he wanted his dancers to look.

Glamour, romance, instinctive musicality, speed and lyricism are probably the qualities that

best define his choreography. He also loved expressive footwork; he would use the

movement of a foot to signify the quickening of a heart. He couldn't bear anybody to be

wooden or upright and insisted on the bending of the upper body almost to the point of

exaggeration. Also, put simply, he liked women to be women and men to be men.

 

We start the season with a mixed programme that includes one of his earliest ballets, A

Wedding Bouquet, a wonderful work that has elements of farce but is also gentle and subtle.

It's pure Ashton; a delicious piece about a husband who leaves a series of broken hearts

scattered about him on his wedding day. The programme opens with Kenneth

MacMillan's Requiem, a ballet made in 1976 as a memorial to John Cranko and here given

as a paean from one great choreographer to another. The programme finishes with

Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces, a monumental work which Ashton acquired for the

Company during his period as Director.

 

In November, we revive Sylvia, a full-length ballet Ashton made in 1952 to Delibes'

enchanting score. Painstakingly researched by Christopher Newton for this new

production, it will be seen for the first time in its entirety since 1965, in its original designs

by Robin and Christopher Ironside.

 

The next mixed programme is devoted entirely to Ashton. It opens with Scènes de ballet, a

work that Ashton himself regarded as one of his finest. The centre of the programme is a

series of his Divertissements which include a recently reconstructed pas de deux from Devil's

Holiday, a ballet made for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1939 and first performed in

New York. Daphnis and Chloë, to Ravel's symphonic score, concludes the programme.

This Season's Christmas productions are Anthony Dowell's Swan Lake and last Season's

new production of Cinderella. They are followed by the ever-delightful La Fille mal gardée, one

of Ashton's best-loved and most characteristic works, famously described by Marie Rambert

as 'the first great English classic'.

 

Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, now firmly established as a 20 th century classic, returns in

February to be followed by a programme which includes the first new work of the Season,

choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. The influence of Ashton and Balanchine on

Wheeldon's career is abundantly apparent. His new work will form the centrepiece between

Ashton's Rhapsody, originally created in 1980 for Lesley Collier and Mikhail Baryshnikov,

and Balanchine's Symphony in C, a glittering finish to the evening. At three performances the

programme will conclude with Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand.

 

Our next programme brings together Tombeaux, Enigma Variations and The Rite of Spring.

David Bintley's Tombeaux was made for the Company in 1993 to music by William

Walton, a close friend of Ashton's, with handsome designs by Jasper Conran. In

choreographing Enigma Variations, Ashton was, I think, nervous of illustrating on stage the 

real-life characters on whom Elgar's music is based, in case he misrepresented them in some

way. But when Sir Adrian Boult, who had known Elgar, came to conduct some

performances in 1975, he declared the ballet wonderfully sympathetic to the composer¹s

vision. The Rite of Spring was made for me by Kenneth MacMillan in 1962 and was a hugely

important moment in my life. Ashton really liked the work and there were a couple of steps

in it that he absolutely adored, in odd moments; he'd often ask me to do these steps for him.

 

The second new work of the Season comes from internationally acclaimed choreographer

Christopher Bruce, until recently Director of Rambert Dance Company. This will be his

first time working with the Company, and I'm delighted that he and Wheeldon, who are

both so firmly rooted in the traditions of British choreography, are able to make new works

for us. Ashton's The Dream, which sealed the great partnership of Antoinette Sibley and

Anthony Dowell, is also part of this programme, which concludes with three further

performances of The Rite of Spring and three performances of Balanchine’s Symphony in C.

Someone said to me recently, 'Ashton must be the only choreographer who could possibly

have found a way to choreograph water.' They were referring of course to Ondine, his last

three-act ballet, which he created for his muse, Margot Fonteyn, and which returns to the

repertory in April. In June, as part of ROHToo we'll present another programme of new

choreography in the Linbury Studio Theatre. 2005 also marks the Centenary of conductor

and composer Constant Lambert, who with Ashton and de Valois was one of the chief

architects of the Company's early repertory. I'll be inviting the participating choreographers

to look to Ashton or to Lambert's music for their inspiration.

 

The season closes with a mixed programme of Nijinska's Les Biches and two works by

Ashton, Symphonic Variations and A Month in the Country. Ashton always said that Nijinska was

his greatest influence. Les Biches, set at a French house party in the 1920s, is full of intrigue

and innuendo and the challenge now is to convey the subtleties of the period to the dancers

of today. With A Month in the Country and Enigma Variations, we will pay tribute to Julia

Trevelyan Oman, the designer of both these ballets, who died last year. Lastly, we come to

Symphonic Variations, a masterwork and a true distillation of Ashton's choreographic genius.

This ballet rightly occupies a unique place in both his and the Company's choreographic

history.

 

Monica Mason,

6 April 2004.

THE ROYAL BALLET 2004/5 SEASON

 

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=22053

 

Edited by Bluebird
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