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Bluebird

Tony Hall to be new director general of BBC - and now to retire

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Just heard this news on the radio. In my opinion, fantastic news for the BBC but a sad loss for the Royal Opera House.

Edited by Bluebird
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I have to agree,Bluebird. This is a bitter blow to our beloved second home and a very tough act to follow.

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22 NOVEMBER 2012

STATEMENT FROM THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

 

Following today’s announcement by the BBC Trust regarding the appointment of Tony Hall as the next Director-General of the BBC, Simon Robey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Royal Opera House, has made the following statement:

 

“I was not surprised when the BBC turned to Tony to lead them through their current difficulties. They see, as we do, his qualities of leadership and his depth of relevant experience. I can think of nobody better able to bring stability back to the BBC.

 

“Tony has been a truly distinguished Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House. He has been a tremendous and inspiring force for good. The ROH he will leave in March is very different to the one he took over in 2001. We have a world-class senior team, both artistic and non-artistic, led by Antonio Pappano, Kasper Holten and Kevin O'Hare. Our artistic standards and reputation have never been higher and are unsurpassed around the world. Many, many more people see the extraordinary work of both companies through audience development programmes, ticket pricing initiatives and digital and cinema distribution. We have a very large and impactful education and community engagement programme and we are now a beacon of best practice in the arts sector. We are financially stable and we have changed the mix of our funding so that our ACE grant (now down from 40% to about 25% of our income) and our philanthropic revenue is broadly in balance. Tony deserves credit for all of this and we now face the future, with its inevitable challenges and opportunities, with strong foundations and very broad and loyal support.

 

“Speaking personally, I will miss him tremendously. He has been an outstanding colleague and friend, as I know he has been to many others at the Royal Opera House.

 

“We will turn immediately to finding a worthy successor. I am confident that this exceptional place will continue to be led by an exceptional person.

 

“There will be good occasions to celebrate Tony's extraordinary contribution to the Opera House over the coming weeks and, of course, we all look forward to welcoming him back to the opera and ballet house he loves so much as a treasured member of our audience for years to come.”

 

Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera added “Tony has been the most wonderful advocate for both the Royal Opera House and opera more generally. He has grabbed every opportunity to enable us to get opera way beyond the Opera House auditorium into homes and cinemas around the world.

 

“He’s been a great friend and colleague and whilst this is a fantastic opportunity for him to return to the BBC - and I can think of no better person for the BBC - we will miss him hugely here.”

 

Kasper Holten, Director of Opera said “Congratulations to the BBC. They are very lucky. Tony is the most inspirational leader I have ever worked for. He will be sorely missed at the ROH and by me personally, but I am excited for him about this, and I am sure he will do a fantastic job.

 

“Tony's importance for Royal Opera House cannot be underestimated and he has managed to create an incredible platform for us to do our artistic work and take opera forward.”

 

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet said “Tony’s genuine love for ballet and dance has been a huge advantage for The Royal Ballet. He’s done so much, not only for this Company, but for dance in general through the Dance Review and support for the sector. I feel privileged to have worked with him, both in my previous roles and now as Director of The Royal Ballet. He’s been an inspiration and a great support to me over the years, and has been fundamental to our programme of new initiatives to bring ballet to a wider audience. He’s also been a great friend to me and to many people in the building. We will all miss him.”

 

-ENDS-

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In press-release terms, that's almost emotional! All the very best to him in his new role. I hope that his loss won't have an adverse effect on the outreach in terms of cinemas, TV and so on.

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That's my hope too Dave! As the Guardian Arts section article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/charlottehigginsblog/2012/nov/22/tony-hall-opera-bbc?intcmp=239) put it:

The one comfort will be that under his leadership, the BBC is unlikely to neglect its responsibilities towards music and the arts: when all else is said, Hall is a man who is nutty about opera and ballet.

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Well, with the news that Lord Hall is to retire, I fear we have to acknowledge that our hopes for more ballet (in particular) on the BBC probably didn't really come to fruition.

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1 hour ago, alison said:

Well, with the news that Lord Hall is to retire, I fear we have to acknowledge that our hopes for more ballet (in particular) on the BBC probably didn't really come to fruition.

Sad, isn't it. 

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23 hours ago, alison said:

Well, with the news that Lord Hall is to retire, I fear we have to acknowledge that our hopes for more ballet (in particular) on the BBC probably didn't really come to fruition.


I quite agree. I was expecting a great deal more in terms of scheduled performances (both Opera and Ballet). And when was the last time the BBC changed its schedules to accommodate a live performance from the ROH where a production had achieved massive critical acclaim and which demanded to be broadcast?

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3 hours ago, JohnS said:

And when was the last time the BBC changed its schedules to accommodate a live performance from the ROH where a production had achieved massive critical acclaim and which demanded to be broadcast?

 

That would be, er, ... 1992? [takes a wild guess]

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47 minutes ago, alison said:

 

That would be, er, ... 1992? [takes a wild guess]

It was 1994 actually, and it was the occasion of Angela Gheorghiu's debut in La Traviata or the performance following that

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5 hours ago, CHazell2 said:

 

It was 1994 actually, and it was the occasion of Angela Gheorghiu's debut in La Traviata or the performance following that


Many thanks CHazell2 - I couldn’t think when it was. I recall the suggestions last Onegin but there are of course real difficulties with the Cranko estate. But the point is valid - public service broadcasting should make available the occasional extraordinary cultural highlight.

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11 hours ago, CHazell2 said:

 

It was 1994 actually, and it was the occasion of Angela Gheorghiu's debut in La Traviata or the performance following that

 

Ah, I was guessing a bit at the year - got the production right, though.  It must be an indication of how rarely it happens that I remembered it, though.

 

In fact, I believe La Traviata is a bit of a cheat: IIRC, I think they were already going to broadcast it, changed their minds, and then changed them back again and did an "emergency" broadcast when they realized how good it was.

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13 hours ago, alison said:

 

That would be, er, ... 1992? [takes a wild guess]

 

So, leaving the “bit of a cheat” Traviata aside, can I suggest the 1984 Rosenkavalier? One of the BBC people involved told me that initially Radio 3 vetoed this transmission (on the grounds that BBC resources should not be expended on “light music”, the old serial worshippers not yet having left the building). But a direct appeal to the top saved the day and the schedule was cleared. 

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They did change the schedules to broadcast the performance (from the Design Centre in Islington) of the Mariinsky where Natalia Makarova performed in the Adagio from Swan Lake act 2.  I remember being in London for the matinee when the news came out and ringing home for my Mum to record it for me.  I think that was late 1980s.

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13 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

So, leaving the “bit of a cheat” Traviata aside, can I suggest the 1984 Rosenkavalier? One of the BBC people involved told me that initially Radio 3 vetoed this transmission (on the grounds that BBC resources should not be expended on “light music”, the old serial worshippers not yet having left the building). But a direct appeal to the top saved the day and the schedule was cleared. 

 

Are you referring to a radio broadcast or to the telecast from February 1985 that subsequently made it to DVD?

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9 minutes ago, CHazell2 said:

I can hardly call Richard Strauss light music

 

Quite. That was the point (ie the extraordinary snobbery of the then hierarchy at Radio 3). 

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Maybe they were getting him mixed up with the other Strausses?

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3 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

Are you referring to a radio broadcast or to the telecast from February 1985 that subsequently made it to DVD?

 

The ROH website has the date of the production as 1984. But maybe it didn’t get filmed until 1985. A Christmas run, perhaps, one can look this up, if the website is behaving. 

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Just now, RuthE said:

Maybe they were getting him mixed up with the other Strausses?

 

Ha ha! But if you really want to know, I remember the people concerned and they knew exactly what they meant. They would have gone live to anything by, say, Harrison Birtwhistle, rather than promote the sorts of shows large numbers of people had gone to with pleasure over many decades. It was still an era of that kind of culture war, when certain people at the Third Programme and later Radio 3 believed they were right and the license fee payers were wrong. 

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Just now, Geoff said:

The ROH website has the date of the production as 1984. But maybe it didn’t get filmed until 1985. A Christmas run, perhaps, one can look this up, if the website is behaving. 

 

It was definitely filmed in February 1985, as the run has two sets of dates with a gap in between. Back in 2004, after I'd seen the production for the first time & been absolutely blown away by it (I was 18 & it was my first visit to the ROH; Rosenkavalier remains my favourite opera 16 years later) I spent a lot of time looking up everything I could find on Rosenkavalier & that production. I got the impression from what I read that the telecast had been planned in advance. The only thing rather last minute seemed to be sorting out the Octavian as Agnes Baltsa, who has been cast for the run, wasn't contracturally allowed to do a telecast because she had been in the Salzburg Rosenkavalier in summer 1984 that had been filmed. Anne Howells ended up doing it but wasn't the first choice of replacement as they wanted someone higher-profile. I can't link to a source as it's behind a paywall but this was gleaned from various Opera magazines from 1984-5 & a later interview with Howells in about 1990. (Sorry, this is probably more information than anyone other than me wanted!)

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That broadcast was the first Rosenkavalier I ever saw on DVD. I still remember listening to the final Trio and thinking how beautiful it was.

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30 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

Ha ha! But if you really want to know, I remember the people concerned and they knew exactly what they meant. They would have gone live to anything by, say, Harrison Birtwhistle, rather than promote the sorts of shows large numbers of people had gone to with pleasure over many decades. It was still an era of that kind of culture war, when certain people at the Third Programme and later Radio 3 believed they were right and the license fee payers were wrong. 

There is still that kind of snobbery around I am afraid. Especially when it comes to TV and politics - but that is a hot potato and so I won't pursue it now.

Edited by CHazell2

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