HomeMagazineListingsUpdateLinksContexts

 


 Ballet.co Postings Pages

 Some Special Threads:
  GPDTalk about George Piper Dances ! NEW !
  NBTTalk about Northern Ballet Theatre
  SBTalk about Scottish Ballet
  ENBTalk about English National Ballet
  BRBTalk about Birmingham Royal Ballet
  TodaysLinks - worldwide daily dance links
  Ballet.co GetTogethers - meetings and drinks...

  Help on New Postings


Subject: "Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II" Archived thread - Read only
 
  Previous Topic | Next Topic
Printer-friendly copy     Email this topic to a friend    
Conferences What's Happening Topic #3036
Reading Topic #3036
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 04:53 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
"Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
 
   LAST EDITED ON 04-10-02 AT 06:31 AM (GMT)

The first thread is already up to nearly 30 contributions and there will be much more yet so welcome to thread 2 - all further comment and responses to earlier thoughts here please.

Thread 1 has the press release, transcripts of interviews with Sir Colin Southgate and Ismene Brown and much comment on the position. Thread 1 is at:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/3035.html

This thread is now full and a new thread has been opened at:
Thread 3

and now
Thread 4
Further contributions, thoughts and responses there please. many thanks

we also have a subsidiary thread:
Some questions arising from Ross Stretton's departure



  Printer-friendly page | Top

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  The Papers... Bruceadmin 26-09-02 1
     RE: The Papers... Bruceadmin 26-09-02 5
         RE: The Papers... Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-09-02 23
     RE: The Papers... Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-09-02 7
  Stretton and RB - Background Links Bruceadmin 26-09-02 2
     RE: Monica Mason Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-09-02 3
         Ding dong, the witch is dead! gd 26-09-02 4
             New MacMillan Mixed Bill Bruceadmin 26-09-02 6
                 dancers bite back ! katharine kanter 26-09-02 9
             RE: Ding dong, the witch is dead! MAB 26-09-02 13
                 RE: Ding dong, the witch is dead! gd 26-09-02 16
  RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II Chrism 26-09-02 8
     RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II gd 26-09-02 10
         RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II sugar plum fairy 26-09-02 11
             RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II alison 26-09-02 15
         RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II Claire S 26-09-02 12
             RE: Further press coverage Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-09-02 14
             RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II tortie14 26-09-02 17
                 RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II alison 26-09-02 20
     RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II ChrisM 26-09-02 18
         Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-09-02 22
             RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Alexandra 26-09-02 24
                 RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Bruceadmin 26-09-02 26
                     RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Renee Renouf Hall 27-09-02 27
                     RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Alexandra 27-09-02 28
                         RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers Bruceadmin 27-09-02 29
                             RE: Friday's UK Press Coverage Brendan McCarthymoderator 27-09-02 30
                             RE: Friday's UK Press Coverage Claire S 27-09-02 31
                             Hope is on the Horizon katharine kanter 27-09-02 32
                             RE: Hope is on the Horizon sugar plum fairy 27-09-02 33
                 RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers alison 27-09-02 34
                     Ross Stretton's resignation James 27-09-02 35
                         Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton Brendan McCarthymoderator 27-09-02 36
                             RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton Alexandra 27-09-02 37
                             RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton Ann Welsh 27-09-02 38
                             RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton Auntie 27-09-02 40
                             RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton Bruceadmin 27-09-02 39
                             RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton eugdog 28-09-02 41
  Saturday Links - 28 September Bruceadmin 28-09-02 42
     RE: Stretton's personality Brendan McCarthymoderator 28-09-02 43
         RE: Stretton's personality AnnWilliams 28-09-02 44
             RE: Stretton's personality Brendan McCarthymoderator 28-09-02 45
                 RE: Stretton's personality Bruceadmin 28-09-02 46
             RE: Stretton's personality Bruceadmin 28-09-02 47
                 RE: Stretton's personality AnnWilliams 29-09-02 48
                 RE: Stretton's personality vivian2 29-09-02 49
                     RE: Stretton's personality roddy 29-09-02 50
  Thread Full Bruceadmin 29-09-02 52

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 04:56 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "The Papers..."
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 07:20 AM (GMT)

Some early releases from our TodaysLinks page at:
www.ballet.co.uk/todayslinks


Ross Stretton's Resignation
Royal Ballet director is driven out by mutiny
By Sam Lister
    "Mr Stretton, 49, stepped down yesterday after growing disaffection within his troupe. Although his departure was announced as a resignation, sources within the company confirmed that he was driven out amid concerns about his professional conduct...
    "The dancers’ representatives discussed claims that Mr Stretton had shown undue favouritism towards some ballerinas while leaving others in the dark over their roles and the productions in which they would appear. His position was further undermined by unsubstantiated rumours of liaisons between him and some of his leading ladies."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,173-427446,00.html

Ross Stretton's Resignation
Royal Ballet director exits after 18 months
on Ananova
    "The news comes amid rumours that Mr Stretton, 49, had allegedly had a number of liaisons with his ballerinas.
    "But a Royal Ballet spokesman said: "At no point have there been any formal complaints made to the management about dancers' relationships with Mr Stretton."
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_678080.html?menu=news.latestheadlines

Ross Stretton's Resignation
A weight has been lifted but the burden of finding successor remains
by debra craine,
    "Plans for the new season are in place, but expect changes as a result of yesterday’s announcement. It’s likely the new leadership has ideas of their own as to what they want to bring in. One of the most persistent criticisms dogging Stretton’s brief directorship was that he seemed disinterested in the company’s unique heritage.
    "There were protests over his prosaic programming for this year’s big Kenneth MacMillan celebration, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the choreographer’s death. Start by looking for changes there."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,173-427316,00.html

Ross Stretton's Resignation
Ballet chief quits after dancers revolt
By Nicole Martin
    "With only three years' experience in Melbourne, he was considered a minor candidate compared with contenders such as Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, and Derek Deane of the English National Ballet.
    "Mr Stretton was said to be so unpopular with his staff in Australia that not a single dancer stood up to thank him at his farewell gala.
    "But at the time of his appointment, Sir Colin Southgate, the chairman of the board of the Royal Opera House, hailed him as the man who would bring fresh ideas to a company that was criticised for being old-fashioned."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/09/26/ndance26.xml&sSheet=/news/2002/09/26/ixhome.html

Ross Stretton's Resignation
Ballet chief's unhappy exit
by Fiachra Gibbons
    "Although no individual dancers at Covent Garden made formal complaints against the Australian, the management of the Opera House and the union Equity agreed two weeks ago to a "programme of actions to address the dancers concerns about his management style". Equity refused to say what that programme entailed.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,799046,00.html

Ross Stretton's Resignation
Royal Ballet chief quits after threat of revolt by dancers
By David Lister
    "Though he forged good relationships with some dancers, the protest meeting and Equity involvement was a huge embarrassment to the Royal Opera House chief executive, Tony Hall, who had reduced many prices, increased access and improved the Royal Opera House's public profile in his first 15 months in the job...
    "The opera house board is reported to be in no hurry to appoint a new director. For the time being, Monica Mason, the assistant director, will run the company, with Anthony Russell-Roberts continuing as administrative director.
http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/news/story.jsp?story=336692

Ross Stretton's Resignation
Ballet Chief Steps Down in London
By ALAN RIDING
    "In August the dancers' union demanded a meeting with Mr. Hall to express the unhappiness of several leading dancers, including Darcey Bussell and Tamara Rojo, with Mr. Stretton's casting policy. The dancers complained about last-minute casting changes and favoritism in the choice of lead performers.
    "Rumors that Mr. Stretton would step down have been circulating in dance circles for several weeks. He offered his resignation at a meeting Tuesday evening. People who work at the opera house said he was "not discouraged" from leaving.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/26/arts/26ROYA.html?ex=1033617600&en=241589cf9f4adba9&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE

1 para in teh FT
Royal Ballet director resigns
By Tony Thorncroft
    "In commercial terms Mr Stretton's tenure has been a success. But he never established a rapport with the company"
http://search.ft.com/search/article.html?id=020926000673&query=Stretton&vsc_appId=totalSearch&state=Form



  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 08:15 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: The Papers..."
In response to message #1
 
  
ABC Radio News Report in Real Player format
Matt Peacock, of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reports from London, Features a brief interview with Equity spokesman Martin Brown:
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/2002/09/26/20020926worldtoday08.asx?media=OFGJ&master=1


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-09-02, 06:17 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
23. "RE: The Papers..."
In response to message #5
 
   A transcript for the ABC report that Bruce mentions is now online:
ABC Radio


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-09-02, 08:57 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
7. "RE: The Papers..."
In response to message #1
 
   The Daily Mail reports Ross Stretton's departure in a story which repeats allegations made elsewhere. The paper contacted a number of dancers, none of whom would comment.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 06:02 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "Stretton and RB - Background Links"
In response to message #0
 
   Brendan put up a links list of whats been happening just lately at:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/3035.html#4


To put the story in more context here are more Ballet.co links - newest first:

Ross Stretton after One Year - a Verdict
by Tim Powell
September 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/sep02/tp_stretton_verdict.htm

Ross Stretton after One Year - some thoughts
by Richard Jones
September 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/sep02/rj_stretton_thoughts.htm

Ross Stretton's first season at the Royal Ballet
After one year in post Lynette Halewood runs the tape measure over the new Royal Ballet Artistic Director, the job and the Royal Opera House...
July 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/jul02/lh_strettons_first_season.htm

Royal Ballet plans for 2002/ 03
A cause for concern
by Gerald Dowler
April 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/apr02/gd_rb_season_0203.htm

Thoughts on the Royal Ballet 2002/03 season
by Bruce Marriott
April 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/apr02/bm_rb_season_0203.htm

Ross Stretton on ABC Radio
Ross Stretton was interviewed by Michael Gurr on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 'Night Club'
March 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/apr02/bmc_stretton_aus.htm

Ross Stretton reveals plans to Ballet Association
Ballet Association report by Gerald Dowler
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/feb02/interview_stretton.htm

Ross Stretton on Radio4
Ross Stretton was interviewed by Mark Lawson on the arts programme 'Front Row'
25 February 2002 as transcribed by Bruce Marriott
February 2002
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_02/mar02/bm_stretton_radio4.htm

Ross Stretton Interview
by Bruce Marriott
April 2000
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_00/apr00/interview_ross_stretton.htm

A 70th birthday lunch with Clement Crisp
by Ismene Brown
December 2001
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_01/dec01/ismene_b_int_clement_c.htm

It's a deliciously long interview but here is the part on Ross Stretton....

IB: Stretton has brought in repertory that he thinks is going to do the company good in some fashion.

CC: Oh ho! Well. Interesting to see what good Mats Ek can do anyone. And Nacho Duato, this terrible, wambling, woolly soft-at-the-edges Jirí Kylián style which is so unmusical, and so repetitious, and so lacking in any kind of rigour.

I think the answer for the future of the Royal Ballet, if it is not to be destroyed by perfectly well-intentioned but entirely ignorant people, is that it has got to look to its own creatures. And I suspect the creature it has got to look at is probably Bruce Sansom. He seems to me the most likely choice for the future. The problem is, however, the exigencies of the Board and its planning. I love the way they plan opera three, four, five years in advance, whereas with the ballet season they don’t even know what they are going to do next year, and they don’t know what the casting is in a month’s time. All this waiting for ‘Onegin’ casting is a scandal.

But you’ve got to think frightfully hard about where the Royal Ballet came from and how to encourage choreography. Given two studio theatres now in the Opera House, you’ve damn well got to have an extremely serious, probably expensive, certainly rigorous selecting of young choreographers, and someone there to talk to them, like several Dutch uncles. It’s what Sir Fred did for Kenneth. Someone who has a very wide experience of choreography - like Donald MacLeary, perhaps - someone who can help these choreographers, tell them, No, you can’t use this score. Or, why are you doing this ballet about the life of a barn owl when you know you should be thinking about steps?

And there is no music director. Barry Wordsworth, who is the rightful tenant of that post, is not there. When Madam started she had not only Markova as ballerina, who could dance anything beautifully, and the baby Fonteyn, but she also had the most vital figure of all, Constant Lambert. Lambert was a genius. Lambert was a brilliant musician, and he was extremely cosmopolitan and he had the most dazzling intelligence. Lambert could say Yes and No. He was not provincial or parochial, and so when the company began, it was not provincial or parochial. The Board today, I think, is largely comprised of people who don’t know what they’re talking about in ballet.

IM: Has that not often been the case?

CC: No. When Lord Drogheda was chairman of the Board, he was a brilliant and great man, and he decided you had to have the best, all the time. And David Webster knew what was good musically and what was good visually, and he insisted on getting the best. You look at the list of artists that Madam had in, her insistence on the visual picture.

Now I’m sure Ross Stretton is a very able and distinguished man, but I do not think he is right for the position he holds. The idea that you somehow suddenly attract a New Audience by putting on New Work is a pathetic fallacy. The ballet audience is by and large people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and so on. It is not the kids who want to go out dancing and drinking and going to clubs. And the idea of offering them little teases - okay, they’ll come and see a programme where there’s something shocking going on, but will they come back for ‘Coppélia’? Uh-uh.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-09-02, 07:24 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Monica Mason"
In response to message #2
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 03:23 PM (GMT)

While Monica Mason may be an interim director of the Royal Ballet, she is likely to influence the company's fortunes for some considerable time. It will probably fall to her to make the decisions about the repertory for the year 2003-2004.

She is rooted in the Royal Ballet's traditions and has an acute sense of its heritage. Last year an audience of ROH Friends heard her describe how she had been taught The Firebird by Fonteyn, who had in turn been taught it by Tamara Karsavina, for whom Fokine created the role. Mason is part of what Lincoln Kirstein would have described as ballet's 'apostolic succession'. She has immense personal authority and commands huge respect.

Crucially she has the affection of many dancers. Having herself been injured at a crucial point of her career, she has made a speciality of helping other injured dancers to return to performance. Her first "patient" was Michael Corder. Many others have beaten a path to her door.

She takes over the Royal Ballet's direction during the commemorative year for Kenneth MacMillan. She was The Chosen One in his Rite of Spring. Later he asked her to be his special assistant. Her knowledge of his ballets is consummate and she remains one of his strongest advocates.

Although the Royal Ballet has said that it will honour its contractual obligations to those choreographers from whom it has commissioned work in the coming months, it is likely that Mason will be studying the available options for an enhanced tribute to MacMillan. Ross Stretton's declared view was that Kenneth MacMillan's one-act works were not really suitable for the Royal Opera House's main stage. Monica Mason's opinion is likely to be very different.

See Jane Simpson's portrait of Monica Mason in our Ballet Legends pages


  Printer-friendly page | Top
gd

26-09-02, 08:04 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail gd Click to send private message to gd Click to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "Ding dong, the witch is dead!"
In response to message #3
 
   Forgive the poor taste, but Stretton's departure is the best news the RB and its audience has had in many a year. That he was wholly unsuited to the post was plain from the outset but the fact that he systematically and wilfully ignored the traditions and style of the company cannot be excused. He was a bad choice and his year in post must rank as one of the worst. If the allegations in the Standard of impropriety have a grain of truth to them, then it just adds a sordid twist to this sorry tale.
Excuse the schadenfreude, but good riddance to bad rubbish - and I say so with a smile on my face.

Monica Mason should be assured of our whole-hearted support (she has mine: 100%). Her job will be extremely difficult but she has experience and a deep love of the company and all that, until RS' arrival, it stood for. I for one am confident that she will do the job well.
Her first task must be to look at the later part of the season and change programming, if necessary - we all have a wish list of MacMillan works which we wanted to see during this season - maybe there's room for one or two.
Her second is to monitor very closely Makarova's plans for Beauty (her track record with the classics is shaky and she was never a noted Aurora). The Ashton and other English 'additions' must stay as part of our unique performing heritage.
Her third is radically to appraise the existing plans for the 2003/4 Ashton Centenary Season, because what Stretton's idea of celebrating our founder choreographer and her own (and indeed ours)are will be radically different.

The Board must not be too hasty in appointing a new Director. Miss Mason could well 'caretake' for two or even three seasons, with the new Director co-directing for her last year of tenure, much as Dowell did before he took over the reins. Sansom and Bull are obvious contenders (provided they want the job!)but will need guidance at first. Their pedigree is impeccable and their love and knowledge of the heritage rep. is second to none. I wouldn't like to choose between them. Bintley must stay in Birmingham - look at the state of their repertoire compared with their time under Wright.

Great news that RS has gone. Even greater news that we have Miss Mason to step into the breach. Good luck Monica!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 08:29 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "New MacMillan Mixed Bill"
In response to message #4
 
   >Her first task must be to
>look at the later part
>of the season and change
>programming, if necessary - we
>all have a wish list
>of MacMillan works which we
>wanted to see during this
>season - maybe there's room
>for one or two.

You've spured me into action up on the MacMillan forum Gerald where I've put up a post asking for suggestions for a MacMillan mixed bill:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/DCForumID3/18.html



  Printer-friendly page | Top
katharine kanter

26-09-02, 09:20 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail katharine%20kanter Click to send private message to katharine%20kanter Click to add this user to your buddy list  
9. "dancers bite back !"
In response to message #6
 
   A view from across the Chunnel ...

I'd like to second Alexandra's two interventions above.

Nextly, so to speak, one thing strikes me as terribly positive in all this caffuffle:

THE DANCERS HAVE BITTEN BACK !

They have put up with it for one year. They have given the man his chance. And they have come to the conclusion, which they have now decided to ACT ON, that they don't like the casting policy, they don't like the repertoire, they don't like stumbling about on crutches, and they don't like certain other things, which, if the allegations be true, are redolent of the old Foyer de la Danse at the opera here.

As an aside, ladies and gentlemen of the Paris Opera, is the time not ripe for you to rise up against the onrushing "Casanova" by Prejlocaj ? The girls in mono-kinis with little pink plastic P....s attached to their undies, the étoile reciting poetry about venereal disease... Where was the stage-hands' strike when we needed it ?

Conductors, musicians, medical doctors - everyone complains bitterly about how obedient dancers are, to the detriment of their mental and physical health. Here, for once, we have a crowd of dancers doing their Rite of Spring thing, and tossing out a person whom they consider to be their tormentor.

That in itself, is a breakthrough.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
MAB

26-09-02, 11:15 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail MAB Click to send private message to MAB Click to add this user to your buddy list  
13. "RE: Ding dong, the witch is dead!"
In response to message #4
 
   That he was
>wholly unsuited to the post
>was plain from the outset

Oh really? Well it clearly was not apparent to the board of the ROH

If the
>allegations in the Standard of
>impropriety have a grain of
>truth to them, then it
>just adds a sordid twist
>to this sorry tale.

So what? I've yet to discover any dance company where "impropriety" - what a quaint phrase - was not the order of the day.


>Excuse the schadenfreude, but good riddance
>to bad rubbish

What a totally loathsome sentiment

>Monica Mason should ..... monitor very
>closely Makarova's plans for Beauty
>(her track record with the
>classics is shaky and she
>was never a noted Aurora).

Peter Wright and Frederick Ashton weren't noted Auroras either but still managed to produce the finest Sleeping Beauty I've ever seen.

>The Board must not be too
>hasty in appointing a new
>Director. Miss Mason could
>well 'caretake' for two or
>even three seasons

So she should carry out the arduous job of director for two to three years with neither the prestige of the title, nor presumably the salary that goes with it?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
gd

26-09-02, 03:45 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail gd Click to send private message to gd Click to add this user to your buddy list  
16. "RE: Ding dong, the witch is dead!"
In response to message #13
 
   Sorry MAB to have caused such distaste. Still, the fact remains that nearly everyone on the London ballet scene could have told you at the outset that RS WAS the wrong man for the job.
As to impropriety (and how would YOU rather term it?), I feel it is not a defence of any sort to state that it goes on everywhere anyway. It IS sordid and it IS wrong.
Also, while I concede that Peter Wright was never an Aurora (but is a reat producer of ballets, unlike Makarova), Ashton WAS a great Aurora and there is a quotation from Lesley Collier to that effect, stating that he was the greatest Aurora she had ever seen - in the rehearsal studio, of course!
Still, I suppose comiserations are in order if you thought Stretton to be a good thing.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Chrism

26-09-02, 09:17 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Chrism Click to send private message to Chrism Click to add this user to your buddy list  
8. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #0
 
   I find the gloating gleeful schadenfreude permeating some of the contributions distasteful to say the least.

'Wonderful' news?

Actually, shocking and a disgraceful waste of resources. Whatever the 'facts,' it reflects badly on the board who have shown themselves to be inept, or lacking the courage of their convictions, or both; it also reflects badly on the harpies (sorry 'critics')who have hounded this AD with more than a whiff of zenophobia.

As for modernising/keeping the heritage debate: it's time to put the museum pieces where they belong and open up the place to an audience that encompasses more than bourgeois home county Stepford Wives.

I am surpised that unsubstantiated gossip about sexual harrassment is being aired for titillation in this way. What next: Stretton discovered to have cloven hoof?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
gd

26-09-02, 10:33 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail gd Click to send private message to gd Click to add this user to your buddy list  
10. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #8
 
   Well, sorry to have ruffled your feathers. I think your dismissal of the established ballet goers as bourgeois 'Stepford Wives'a little much to swallow - I was unaware that we all had to be horny sons of the soil or class warriors to go to the ballet - it IS a leisure activity and the bourgeois are the ones to have the time and the money to go.
Schadenfreude distasteful? Maybe, but you know what, I don't care. The news is really too wonderful!
Love
G


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sugar plum fairy

26-09-02, 10:45 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sugar%20plum%20fairy Click to send private message to sugar%20plum%20fairy Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
11. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #10
 
   ahh , gd ..Someone who agrees with me that Strettons departure was long overdue , i'm not too sure about Monica taking over permanently in the short term yes. I hope to god that the board don't go fo another " outsider " so to speak , give the job to someone who like Sir Anthony came up through the company and knows its workings inside and out...i have said before that David Drew would make an excellent Artistic Director , so why not give him the job of running the company?
The dancers like and respect him , he has done choreography for some ballets and West End shows so he knows what he is doing . Since he is due to retire soon , his efforts could be focused on running the company .


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

26-09-02, 01:31 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
15. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #11
 
   >i have said before
>that David Drew would make
>an excellent Artistic Director ,
>so why not give him
>the job of running the
>company?

Because, as you say below, he's coming up for retirement, and in recent years management's attitude to the retirement age appears to have been set in stone, most unfortunately in a number of cases. I doubt that they'd suddenly decide to be flexible about it just so the Royal could have a new AD.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Claire S

26-09-02, 10:55 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Claire%20S Click to send private message to Claire%20S Click to add this user to your buddy list  
12. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #10
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 11:22 AM (GMT)

What a can of worms has been opened here and I am afraid that the seamier side of it will be paraded before all, not doing the RB any favours.

But I second Katherine's view that the dancers are to be congratulated for fighting for their Royal Ballet, and also to say aren't we lucky to have have Monica Mason? I, too, remember her thoughts on The Firebird at the free BBC Masterclass in the Linbury and it sent a shiver down my spine to think of the wisdom and knowledge of the creators of a landmark work of almost a century ago being passed directly down to today's young stars such as Mara Galeazzi.

Sansom and Bull are sounding to me like the ideal option in that Bruce Sansom was such a great exponent of the English style, while Deborah Bull was/is a great exponent of the best in modern dance. Also, she has considerable experience now of the wider arts community and is a great spokewoman for dance. This week's event is a PR disaster and while there's no such thing as bad publicity, the Royal doesn't need these sort of stories.

For me, one of the most important issues to be tackled is the development of young dancers. Who was the last male principal who studied at the school then rose through the ranks? William Trevitt? The was an issue Dowell failed to deal with, and with Carlos Acosta now guesting only rarely, the situation seems perilous. They can plan to put on 365 ballets a year - half of them new - but if there's no-one to dance them, it means nothing.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-09-02, 11:59 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
14. "RE: Further press coverage"
In response to message #12
 
   Sarah Frater writes in the Standard: "The flak kept coming faster than machine-gun fire: it was said Stretton's Gala for Her Majesty the Queen on her Golden Jubilee was more a tribute to his first season than her 50-year reign; that his production of Don Quixote was a mess; and that his tribute to mark the 10th anniversary of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's death was insipid. Where was the mini-MacMillan festival in the Linbury Studio Theatre? Where, for that matter, was the Linbury itself ?
The Standard


  Printer-friendly page | Top
tortie14

26-09-02, 03:51 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail tortie14 Click to send private message to tortie14 Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
17. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #12
 
   There seems to be a lot of heat and light around this subject here and some of the posts went rather over the top.

I am pleased Stretton has gone because I think he was doing great damage to the company. I disagree with the whole idea that the RB needs "modernising". I think it has a wonderful rep (or used to, don't know how much has been lost/sold) on which to draw, with the regular addition of some new works because I know dancers enjoy being part of the creative process and it stretches them. But I believe this is largely the responsibility of the Board, I have no reason to doubt that RS was open about his style and ideas for the company at the interview and was picked because they thought it was what was needed. Big re-think before they reappoint I hope.

I think the accusations of favouritism and liaisons seem to be par for the course for many companies - perhaps we would hope it was a thing of the past, but suspect the favouritism will always been there. Every book about every company I have read from Diaghalev on have tales of favourites and those overlooked, Dowell had his definite favourites so did Peter Wright and Bintley probably does too. Yes it is unfair - but not a reason to sack Ross Stretton.

My vote for Director would be Wayne Eagling - fabulous dancer, choreographer (including at the Opera House)and experience running a major dance company, and always had great relationship with dancers, their spokesman while in the company (though that will not have endeared him to the ROH establishment). By the time Wayne finished, say five years, both Deborah Bull and Bruce will have gained sufficient experience to handle the big job. I think it would be doing them a disservice to have the job now - dealing with the ROH politics as well as the artistic challenge is a huge undertaking so early in their management careers. David Drew, I fear, will fail on the new ageism.

I am sorry for Ross Stretton because this is a very public failure. And it probably means uprooting his family again which is hard on them.

Monica Mason - how wonderful she is there to hold the reins and I really do hope she keeps an eye on Beauty - it was, after all, the RB signature piece. We can at least hope for a better showing on the Macmillan and Ashton front now. Good luck to her.



  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

26-09-02, 05:35 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
20. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #17
 
   >There seems to be a lot
>of heat and light around
>this subject here and some
>of the posts went rather
>over the top.

Actually, given the feelings expressed in this forum in the past, I'm surprised - and pleased - that so many people have restrained themselves from metaphorically dancing on Stretton's grave so far.

I disagree with
>the whole idea that the
>RB needs "modernising".

It needs to go on progressing and evolving, something I think it may not have been doing enough in recent years, but whether it needed to be crossing over to what is virtually Rambert territory I'm not sure. What is clear is that the *good* old stuff also needs to be maintained - I was never quite sure whether "modernising" was intended to be read as the balletic equivalent of IKEA's "chuck out your chintz" campaign.

But
>I believe this is largely
>the responsibility of the Board,
>I have no reason to
>doubt that RS was open
>about his style and ideas
>for the company at the
>interview and was picked because
>they thought it was what
>was needed. Big re-think
>before they reappoint I hope.

Yes, I think so too.

>My vote for Director would be
>Wayne Eagling

Last time around, he sounded not at all taken with the idea, but since he's been forced out from DNB, who knows?

>I am sorry for Ross Stretton
>because this is a very
>public failure. And it
>probably means uprooting his family
>again which is hard on
>them.

Yes, quite.
>
>Monica Mason ... Good
>luck to her.

Absolutely. But if she's effectively covering the AD's job, she'll need someone to cover hers.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
ChrisM

26-09-02, 03:57 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail ChrisM Click to send private message to ChrisM Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
18. "RE: Ross Stretton's resignation from RB - II"
In response to message #8
 
  
>
>As for modernising/keeping the heritage debate:
>it's time to put the
>museum pieces where they belong
>and open up the place
>to an audience that encompasses
>more than bourgeois home county
>Stepford Wives.

I am particularly keen on what you choose to call museum pieces in such a disparaging way, and given how many full houses they seem to produce, so are many other balletomanes. Also, I object to being labelled bourgeois, I certainly do not warrant that label. I do not live in the home counties and I am NOT a Stepford wife, neither is my wife.

>
>I am surpised that unsubstantiated gossip
>about sexual harrassment is being
>aired for titillation in this
>way. What next: Stretton discovered
>to have cloven hoof?

Frankly I couldn't give a damn if he was bonking any of the artists, except where an element of casting-couch favouritism can pervert casting, etc. Isn't it time we got past this Victorian attitude, anyway? Despite all the vitriole hurled at him, he is probably human!!!


From the other (original) ChrisM


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-09-02, 05:40 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
22. "Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #18
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 06:15 PM (GMT)

Sydney Morning Herald

Valerie Lawson and Peter Fray have compiled the most comprehensive coverage so far of Ross Stretton's departure from the Royal Ballet. Their story appears in Friday's Sydney Morning Herald. ""Ross is a one-man show," said one source in London. "He does it his way. He could do that in Australia but not at the Royal Ballet. That's not the way it works. It's too big, and there are too many people involved." One of the first signs of serious trouble in London came to a head in mid-August when dancers let it be known they were considering unprecedented strike action. Talks between Equity, the dancers' union, and the ROH's executive director, Tony Hall, averted industrial action - but, as is now apparent, only prolonged the agony for Stretton and the dancers. Perhaps the real reason for Stretton's end is cultural. There are many people - ex-dancers, patrons, friends, retired teachers and choreographers - who feel "ownership" of the Royal and its heritage and customs, and, to varying degrees, need to feel included. Stretton never understood this or failed to heed people who warned him to do so. Critics also savaged his repertoire as unimaginative, while the first ballet he presented, Nureyev's production of Don Quixote, was rubbished as a "provincial" disaster.
Sydney Morning Herald

Also in the Sydney Morning Herald, a former colleague of Ross Stretton offers the following personality sketch: "I got to know Ross Stretton over the months before his appointment as artistic director of the Australian Ballet in January 1997. After that, a different, more secretive and insecure Stretton emerged. We'll call that Model II. Model I was the very model of a modern artistic director. His manifesto was "creativity, energy and passion". Model I's skin was shed swiftly. Model II's was scalier, tougher. It was difficult to discern what Stretton was about. Model II appeared uncertain and insecure. He became reclusive."
Sydney Morning Herald

A third story in the SMH is an abbreviated account of the circumstances of Stretton's departure.
Sydney Morning Herald

The Age

The Age, based in Melbourne, offers a slightly rewritten version of Lawson and Fray's piece: "So why did Ross Stretton leave the Royal Ballet? Stretton was not speaking publicly yesterday about his abrupt departure but English newspapers were far from coy in publicising unsourced rumours circulating in London's catty arts scene about his alleged affairs with dancers. "Swanning off, the ballet boss accused of affairs," screamed the Daily Mail headline. Its story suggested he had resigned, "amid accusations of sexual liaisons with ballerinas and a series of behind-the-scenes-rows".
The Age

The Australian

Peter Ross, The Australian's Europe Correspondent, writes:
Stretton, who was also unpopular with a number of dancers when he ran the Australian Ballet, could probably have survived those setbacks if it were not for the most potent problem of all. That problem was the persistent rumours coming from the dancers and spreading out into the wider ballet world that Stretton was involved in inappropriate relationships with members of his company. Those allegations have not been proven and no dancer has come forward to say they were propositioned by the artistic director. But insiders say the claims have poisoned the atmosphere within the company and seriously undermined Stretton's standing among the 85 dancers. Members of the board had certainly heard and worried about the rumours, and the scuttlebutt was so widespread that it may even have influenced the increasingly negative reviews of Stretton's work by Fleet Street critics, although no critics are likely to admit that. "This whole thing has been incredibly upsetting and divisive within the company," says one insider. "People start to wonder how and why they are being judged and cast, and many just didn't know how to react. For one thing, ballerinas are not that used to having heterosexual artistic directors, and the allegations really soured people's attitudes to Ross."
The Australian

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Martin Brown, the official for the union Equity, which represents dancers at the Royal Ballet, spoke to ABC Radio: "As far as we can tell, and this is uncertain, but as far as we can tell, Ross Stretton has left already. All I'm aware of is that, when asked where he is, the Royal Ballet is saying "we don't know."
ABC Radio


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Alexandra

26-09-02, 06:51 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Alexandra Click to send private message to Alexandra Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
24. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #22
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 07:27 PM (GMT)

Two comments, if I may, one on "the one man show" and the other on "heritage works" issue.

There are some people who need/want to be a one man show, and some who are good generals -- and I think anyone who works within an opera house has to be the latter, a team player, knowing how to work with others to complete a mission upon which all agree. (And if you're hiring someone for an opera house job, it might be a good idea to find out which kind of person you're hiring.) An independent operator might do very well with a new company, especially if it's one of his/her own creation, but if one runs an opera house company with a history, one has to think about more than just oneself or one's own tastes and vision. Every AD has his/her own taste in dancers, and should, but perhaps they should be matched to the repertory.

As for the heritage works, this is a new term to me, new within the past two years or so. I think it is a deadly image and hope it goes away with Mr. Stretton. The very term makes the ballets dusty -- and I think that's why it was coined. They're not living things, Heritage Works. They're burdens, ballast, something that should be discarded if only those brainless, tasteless "Stepford wives," as I think I read much of the RB's audience characterized above, would all die off or go away.

When Ashton revived "Les Noces" it wasn't because it was a Heritage Work, something that must be saved for some reason we can't quite think of at the moment, but because it was an astounding ballet that we all deserve to see as long as legs can move. I hope whoever the new director is feels this way not only about the Ashton and MacMillan works, but the other RB works from former decades -- Fokine, Massine, Nijinska; thinks of them as living, breathing things as worthy of light and life as a Rembrandt. If such works are constantly in repertory and well performed -- danced as though they are living, breathing things -- I think it's good for the audience and the dancers. And it's good for creators of new works, because they'll have sound models. Not that new works should copy the old, but because such a repertory raises standards, raises the bar(re). You have to be pretty nervy to put up a new work against "Les Noces." It has to stand the comparison. And that, I think, is the point of repertory, to carefully collect works -- some which are temporal and appeal to the current generation only (or future generations as a curiosity) but also works which one hopes will endure, which will be enriched by performances of dancers in each generation.

BTW, any chance of the repertory for next season being changed, and one of those boring, heritage triple bills of MacMillan works being slipped in?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

26-09-02, 08:30 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
26. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #24
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-09-02 AT 08:33 PM (GMT)

>As for the heritage works, this
>is a new term to
>me, new within the past
>two years or so.
>I think it is a
>deadly image and hope it
>goes away with Mr. Stretton.
>The very term makes the
>ballets dusty -- and I
>think that's why it was
>coined.

I don't believe that's so - I think it was/ is a respectful tag.

I first heard it used by Kaiser after Dowell had resigned and people were asking what they were looking for in a new director. And he said - I think it was at a friends event - that the new Director had to do three things...

1. present the Classics well
2. Look after Heritage rep of which RB has very much
3. push for the new

all 3 were waited broadly equally.

I think Heritage works as a tag line and is well worth continuing with. There may be some transatlantic difference in emphasis on this, but heritage, for most people in the UK, is something respected and to be proud of.

By way of diversion I'd note that the RB AD search committee at the start had a pretty clear idea of what they wanted in an AD... but somehow nobody could easily be found and the criteria appeared to be adjusted to suit somebody with greater interest in the new. If nothing else I hope the search committee this time hold true to the equality across the three dimensions of the rep.


> They're not living
>things, Heritage Works. They're
>burdens, ballast, something that should
>be discarded if only those
>brainless, tasteless "Stepford wives," as
>I think I read much
>of the RB's audience characterized
>above, would all die off
>or go away.

I think its useful to have a tag line for the non classic, non modern, rep that a company has - great to have shorthand and be able to segment. If you don't use the term how would you describe the 3 pillars?

>
>When Ashton revived "Les Noces" it
>wasn't because it was a
>Heritage Work, something that must
>be saved for some reason
>we can't quite think of
>at the moment, but because
>it was an astounding ballet
>that we all deserve to
>see as long as legs
>can move. I hope
>whoever the new director is
>feels this way not only
>about the Ashton and MacMillan
>works, but the other RB
>works from former decades --
>Fokine, Massine, Nijinska; thinks of
>them as living, breathing things
>as worthy of light and
>life as a Rembrandt. If
>such works are constantly in
>repertory and well performed --
>danced as though they are
>living, breathing things -- I
>think it's good for the
>audience and the dancers.
>And it's good for creators
>of new works, because they'll
>have sound models. Not
>that new works should copy
>the old, but because such
>a repertory raises standards, raises
>the bar(re). You have
>to be pretty nervy to
>put up a new work
>against "Les Noces." It
>has to stand the comparison.
>And that, I think, is
>the point of repertory, to
>carefully collect works -- some
>which are temporal and appeal
>to the current generation only
>(or future generations as a
>curiosity) but also works which
>one hopes will endure, which
>will be enriched by performances
>of dancers in each generation.

I think things can be called herritage and have all teh positive conotations you describe!

>BTW, any chance of the repertory
>for next season being changed,
>and one of those boring,
>heritage triple bills of MacMillan
>works being slipped in?

I'm sure no small amount of effort will go into seeing what can be done!



  Printer-friendly page | Top
Renee Renouf Hall

27-09-02, 05:22 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Renee%20Renouf%20Hall Click to send private message to Renee%20Renouf%20Hall Click to add this user to your buddy list  
27. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #26
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-09-02 AT 05:26 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 27-09-02 AT 05:23 AM (GMT)

This is less to reply to the comments from Down Under, than to mention that out here in the Woolly Western U.S. of A, we had something of a similar upset in 1984, when the San Francisco Ballet's Board of Trustees opted not to renew Michael Smuin's contract. The turf and disagreement came from an entirely different angle, and I believe much of it due to the widely varying outside activities Michael Smuin undertook during his co-artistic directorship of the company.
The situation has been discussed in the late Richard LeBlond's From Chaos to Fragility, his account of being at the administrative helm of San Francisco Ballet until a year following Helgi Tomasson's assumption of the artistic direction of the company.
It also is discussed in a memoir by Sally Bailey, yet to be published, but which is an engaging view from a dancer of her experience through two decades of dancing in a company, which was producing on a shoestring most of the time she was both dancer and principal.
Because the dissatisfaction came from a different direction, the
only thing shared with the current stir in London is the stir itself. It sounds, however, as if the brew is fairly civilized. Out here, at the time I was informed by someone then on staff, that there were physical threats on members of the administrative
staff, a situation which does not sound like it is being replicated along the Thames.
I wish both the institution and Stretton well. It is a major break for both and not to be minimized in the slightest.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Alexandra

27-09-02, 05:50 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Alexandra Click to send private message to Alexandra Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
28. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #26
 
   Bruce, I'm glad you think the term is positive. I, of course, think that heritage should be respected and given a high priority. (I think many Americans do, actually; we're the ones who protect 99 year old houses as national treasures ) My point was that I think that naming them separates them, pulls them out of the general repertory, and I think that does harm. It has at American Ballet Theatre with the Tudor-Robbins-DeMille rep and it did in Copenhagen with the Bournonville repertory. I think it's the difference between thinking "Oh, dear, we have to do a Tudor work, don't we. Which one should we do this year?" when previously -- when those works were important, living things, as I wrote above -- there might be three (think of it!) Tudor ballets in repertory in one season for the same reason you'd program three of anything -- they suited a particular dancer or dancers, they suited the season because they went well with other ballets, perhaps. They didn't have a slot, or a quota.

Why call them anything except ballets? Or the Ashton works, the MacMillan works, the Ballet Russes works?

I take your point that Mr. Kaiser may well have meant the term in a positive way, but when I've seen the phrase used in interviews and articles, it seems to me to be said with a sneer: too many of those "heritage works" and not enough Nacho Duato The same thing happened with the museum idea. In America, Richard Pleasant, the man very influential in shaping American Ballet Theatre in its early days, deliberately modeled the company after a museum, with a classics wing, a modern wing, a British wing, an American wing. But now, you read at least once a week some director or dancer saying somewhere, proudly, "We are not a museum company!" and everyone nods and says, "Oh, yes, right. Museum. How absolutely awful."

I think there's a fine line between the three pillars -- which I think is a fine idea; I'd go for DeValois's four (she called the "heritage works" "modern classics") that I mentioned earlier, but three is better than one! -- and having a storeroom with three separate barrels. It's the segregation I find troublesome, the idea that we have a Heritage Evening and a Cutting Edge Evening. I think that polarizes the audience.

Don't know if that makes my point any clearer But I second the idea that the next director pays equal attention to the repertory as a whole!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

27-09-02, 06:53 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
29. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #28
 
  
I think you need to segment in order to convey what needs to be done.

You could have a job description for an AD consisting of the single clause "Get it right!" and while all the aspiration is there it obviously not really helpful. Having three, or four, pillars really is helpful and over a period of a few years justice, in the rough proportions thought correct, can be delivered.

Of course people will all have their different thoughts on pillars, favourite ones etc And if some are not so keen on the older works of MacMillan, Ashton etc, I don't think giving them a Heritage tag makes a blind bit of difference one way or the other. If people sneer at the term Heritage, its because they don't like that work or see it as relevant. If you called them '"20th Century Masters" you'd still get the same view. I think it's a working convenience and not necessarily a term you thrust at the public - the marketing to them remains around ballet and dance and what's special about the programmes being put on.

The problem - as we have seen this time - is that not nailing expectations down can lead to great pain and waste. Its not about hamstringing an artistic director but making sure you are on the same wavelength. And of course plans change - nothing is cast in stone. But you do need to start somewhere - "Get the rep right' doesn't really cut it. There is nothing unusual here - most jobs now come with a bunch of goals/expectations and I don't see the arts as different wrt to improving the way they get delivered.

I seem to recall reading about Twyla Tharp's pitch for the RB directorship and where I think she laid out a 3 year plan of what the rep would be like. It seemed to be driven by some high level view of the proportions in 3 or 4 pillars and talked about the numbers of ballet that would be brought back for instance. That's another way of getting to the same end. I think however those who hire are better saying what they think they want, while not discouraging innovation and laterally thought out proposals.

Personally I agree about evenings and mixing things up. There's nothing implicit in segmenting that says you can only have one segment on a night though! This segmenting is high-level, multi-year convenience in rep planning.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

27-09-02, 09:05 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
30. "RE: Friday's UK Press Coverage"
In response to message #29
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-09-02 AT 09:22 AM (GMT)

Ismene Brown's Telegraph story this morning is fascinating. She writes: "On Tuesday afternoon, when the Royal Opera House board met, they believed that there was enough doubt about Stretton's professional relations with junior dancers to make him an unfit steward, despite the refusal of anyone to come forward with specific complaints. And there was also an ultimatum from Lady MacMillan, a fellow Australian and widow of Sir Kenneth MacMillan, one of the company's two central choreographers, that she would withdraw the Royal Ballet's privileged access to the MacMillan ballets if Stretton remained, because he was proving so poor an artistic curator."
The Telegraph

A shorter version of the same story also runs on the The Telegraph's news pages

It is piquant that the proximate author of Ross Stretton's downfall should be a fellow Australian.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Claire S

27-09-02, 09:42 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Claire%20S Click to send private message to Claire%20S Click to add this user to your buddy list  
31. "RE: Friday's UK Press Coverage"
In response to message #30
 
   Interesting new angle about Deborah MacMillan. I wonder, too, f this might lead to some rejigs this year (is there time???) with more MacMillan in the schedule.

I must say that I agree with Alexandra that "labelling" ballets restricts us all because it changes the perceptions of them . . . "Shall I go to the Heritage bill, or the Classics bill?" I can imagine an Artistic Director planning the season - "Ten programmes - four Classics, one Heritage and five Moderns." It seems the genre could come before ballet itself if someone is trying to fill quotas.

But if we are going down this road, I would say the RB should put on something like 45 percent Heritage works, 35 percent Classics and 20 percent Moderns. That's just my personal view but why ignore what you have for what half a dozen other people are doing before you?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
katharine kanter

27-09-02, 09:42 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail katharine%20kanter Click to send private message to katharine%20kanter Click to add this user to your buddy list  
32. "Hope is on the Horizon"
In response to message #30
 
   Jadies and lentilmen - in the event the Stretton rumpus has left one feeling a little jaded - Salvation may be on the Horizon !

And in the shapely shape of Mlle. Guillem, no less, if we are to go by a rumour Ismene Brown reports in today's Telegraph.

I very much enjoyed Ismene's March 30th 2002 interview with the High Priestess, and thought I should draw the following tidbit to the dance world's collective attention. It may well induce the ROH Board to take our Sylvie on Board, for Art's Sake.

"There was also her shocking photo-shoot in French Vogue. It is not unusual to see ballerinas in fashion magazines. They make elfin, maidenly clothes-horses, their modesty in front of the camera radiating a more delicate, timeless sort of femininity. When Guillem did Vogue, she wanted to do something "free and 'appy. Natural, simple, joyful. It was the real me, non?" So she photographed herself in the nude, with not a scrap of make-up on. She was accessorised only by her undressed hair and a bashed camera.

"Outrage ricocheted around the world. 'I think it was the picture with the two legs apart and the camera in the middle mostly,' she says, deadpan."

Another, possibly irresistible argument in Mlle. Guillem's favour, is that, sayeth the front-page of this month's "Architectural Digest" (French edition), her London dwelling is amongst the "world's most beautiful homes".

Now that's a qualification for yer.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sugar plum fairy

27-09-02, 10:34 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sugar%20plum%20fairy Click to send private message to sugar%20plum%20fairy Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
33. "RE: Hope is on the Horizon"
In response to message #32
 
   Guillem would be a mistake for a replacement of Stretton..it would be like going from the frying pan to the fire....if Drew doesn't get it give it to Monica..


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

27-09-02, 02:01 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
34. "RE: Re: Coverage in Friday's Australian Papers"
In response to message #24
 
   I agree with a lot of what Alexandra says from her distanced position, including the possibly derogatory term of "Heritage" (remember the fuss when the word got included in whatever the Department of Culture used to be called until a few years ago?). Over here, it's starting to feel as if you can't see the wood for the trees - there appear to be so many red herrings that I'm wondering what reasons are actually, well, normal herring-coloured, whatever that may be! It's particularly interesting to see the "Chinese whispers" effect that's occurred as one source uses information from another - remember the original Independent article about the Equity meeting from which all the others derived their information (and started fixating particularly on the public being unable to see the dancers they'd booked for when most of the dancers concerned were actually carrying injuries - a non-uncommon occurrence)? That Equity meeting has now turned to "threatened strike action", something which I don't actually remember being mentioned originally, and of course, on the basis that we all know that Sex Sells, the vague hints of sexual impropriety which filtered through a day after the resignation have now become the be-all and end-all for some papers. It's all just confusing the issue, and distracting from the situation and its effects on the dancers, which is what really counts, after all.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
James

27-09-02, 05:28 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail James%20 Click to send private message to James%20 Click to add this user to your buddy list  
35. "Ross Stretton's resignation"
In response to message #34
 
   With reference to Katherine Kanter's comment about the dancers exercising their clout, it is an interesting point of comparison that a number of the world's most prestigous orchestras actually get to choose their conductors. Why should'nt one of the world's most prestigous ballet companies choose its artistic director? Or is that too democratic for a publicly funded institution?

It looks as if Ross Stretton was basicially the choice of Michael Kaiser, who, within a short period of time, hopped it back across the Atlantic, leaving (according to Norman Lebrecht's fascinating account in his book on Covent Garden) both Stretton and Antonio Pappano plunged in despondency. Perhaps Mr S never recovered.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

27-09-02, 05:48 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
36. "Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #35
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-09-02 AT 08:40 PM (GMT)

In his first public remarks since he left the Royal Ballet, Ross Stretton has told the Evening Standard that the pressures which led to his departure were "rotten - really rotten". The Standard's reporter and photographer doorstepped him at his home in East Finchley. But the former director of the Royal Ballet was not talkative and quickly ended the conversation: "I have nothing to say", he told the Standard, "I just want to be left alone."

Unfortunately none of this is easily available online because the Evening Standard launched its new website today and there are teething problems. The paper also includes an attack by Norman Lebrecht on Sir Colin Southgate and the board of the ROH.

"The crisis at the Royal Ballet ought, by rights, to result in the resignation of the chairman and board of the Royal Opera House. They appointed Stretton without delving much into his previous record with, for instance, the Australian Ballet where he was a high-handed director with a high turnover in talent. In a publicly listed company, such checks would be routine. But in a publicly appointed board of governors such as Covent Garden's, no one feels inclined to take personal responsibility.

The chairman is there not because he has made an outstanding personal or financial contribution to the art forms but by dint of a gift that his company gave to the Labour Party before the 1997 election. Number 10 put him down for the Arts Council, but a deterrent cough from a senior Whitehall official steered him to Covent Garden where, it was felt, he could do less harm."


Norman Lebrecht


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Alexandra

27-09-02, 06:33 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Alexandra Click to send private message to Alexandra Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
37. "RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #36
 
   I hope that one of the things that Bruce wrote a few posts above gets through to the Powers That Be:

"The problem - as we have seen this time - is that not nailing expectations down can lead to great pain and waste."

Amen, amen, amen. I especially liked the "pain and waste" comment, because this issue involves not only ballets, but people's lives and careers.

One wonders if the board did/has "nailed down expectations." How do they see the company? What kind of a company do they want? Do they know?


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Ann Welsh

27-09-02, 07:26 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Ann%20Welsh Click to send private message to Ann%20Welsh Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
38. "RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #37
 
   In all this speculation about the new Directorship of the RB, is there any reason why the company should not be run by consortium? Such as the seriously experienced and respected David Drew and Monica Mason and the young and energetic (and respected) Bruce Sansom and Deborah Bull. Or would there be too many financial implications, such as appropriate salaries, etc. Just a thought...


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Auntie

27-09-02, 08:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Auntie Click to send private message to Auntie Click to add this user to your buddy list  
40. "RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #38
 
   >In all this speculation about the
>new Directorship of the RB,
>is there any reason why
>the company should not be
>run by consortium? Such
>as the seriously experienced and
>respected David Drew and Monica
>Mason and the young and
>energetic (and respected) Bruce Sansom
>and Deborah Bull. Or
>would there be too many
>financial implications, such as appropriate
>salaries, etc. Just a
>thought...

An interesting idea. However a better solution is to appoint a really strong candidate and leave it to him or her to draw on the talents of others. Just because each of those mentioned has considerable individual strengths it doesn't mean that they would be able to pool them in an effective manner - remember that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I suppose this implies that whoever is appointed must have some insights into the company and what makes it tick.

This awful episode has come when the trials and tribulations of the closure of the House had been forgotten and has stirred up all sorts of negative feelings. Let's hope that the successor AD is able to help heal the wounds. And let's also hope that whoever is chosen is not sunk in advance by disproportionate expectations.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

27-09-02, 08:05 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
39. "RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #36
 
   Just been looking around the new ES site - the piece about Stretton is in a private 'Insiders Guide' section that you have to pay for...

"You have picked an area within our Insider's Guide - our brilliant and comprehensive entertainment guide to London only available to subscribers. But the great news is that we're offering you a 30-day free trial which gives you full and unlimited access to."

You can only seem to activate the trial by giving away your credit card details. It's £25 - £47 per year depending how you choose to pay and it looks like *reviews* are going behind the wall.

I think this is daft - most papers are moving towards charging models for archive material but the current stuff is free for a given period. And the ES costs look all wrong - the industry needs to get down tolow numbers of pounds, or 50p, for a service like this - a price which does not make you even think about it. I suspect we will never know but I doubt they will get many takers. If anybody does decide to join the ES Insiders Guide it would be great to have a review of what you get for your money.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
eugdog

28-09-02, 11:14 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail eugdog Click to send private message to eugdog Click to add this user to your buddy list  
41. "RE: Re: "Rotten - really rotten" - Ross Stretton "
In response to message #39
 
   I have not yet seen a convincing case justifying dismissal for artistic reasons. I was very excited about the next season. Lots of people have been dissmissive of the next season without giving specific reason

I would be the first to critize Ross Stretton for his triple bills - his choices were misguided and not very attractive. But should he sacked for that when there are other remedies avialable.

The Royal Ballet is underfunded and hence only do a 11 seperate evenings That is not enough time to do Ashton, Macmillan (its "heritage)and the required Nutcrackers (which the accountants insist on) and also do newer works. I think that if the RB just focus on its "heritage" it will become fossilized and irrelevant for the younger generation of ballet goers.

The issue is whether we look backwards or move forward - it is not possible to do both given the limitation of resources at the disposal of the RB.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

28-09-02, 12:47 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
42. "Saturday Links - 28 September"
In response to message #0
 
   Ross Stretton resignation
Royal Ballet 'was given ultimatum over director'
By Nicole Martin and Ismene Brown
    "A source at the Royal Opera House said: "It is no secret that Deborah MacMillan was not entirely happy about the plans he had announced for the international celebration of the anniversary of her husband's death.
    ""It is clear that he and she didn't see eye to eye. But Ross's leaving is not down to a single issue."
http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/09/27/ndance27.xml&sSheet=/news/2002/09/27/ixhome.html

There is also a piece in the Melbourne Age under the title:
"Knight's widow 'showed Stretton the door'"
However I can't actually find the piece electronically - hopefully it will come available before too long.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

28-09-02, 12:58 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
43. "RE: Stretton's personality"
In response to message #42
 
   The Melbourne Age does run at considerably greater length a personality sketch of Ross Stretton of which a short extract appeared in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald. It is by Michael Shmith, the Australian Ballet's director of communications from 1995 to 1998.

"He could also be unpredictably short-tempered. For example, I will never forget how, at a management meeting in late 1997 - held just after senior staff had completed an intensive human-resources course in order to understand and deal with any staff problems that may arise- Stretton verbally attacked one of the people at the table, with accusations of treachery and threats, finishing by thumping his papers down and storming out of the room.

To my knowledge, he never apologised to the person concerned, nor to the others at the meeting.

When the news was announced that Stretton was going to the Royal Ballet, I wrote that his problems would be magnified:

"This company has more dancers, an increasingly hostile media, a history of volatile management and a tradition of economic problems . . . (but) he is streetwise, canny, and possesses perhaps the right combination of artistry and self-defence that should augur well in Bow Street."

Well, it didn't. Stretton's management style, treatment of dancers, and his curious programming have perplexed and infuriated the Royal Ballet."

The Age


  Printer-friendly page | Top
AnnWilliams

28-09-02, 02:11 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail AnnWilliams Click to send private message to AnnWilliams Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
44. "RE: Stretton's personality"
In response to message #43
 
   The more one reads about Stretton, the more extraordinary this case becomes.

You have to wonder if there is any proper administrative co-ordination at all at the ROH. Was there no-one to advise or guide the selection panel responsible for Stretton's appointment in the first place? It seems to me that Michael Kaiser did the guiding with his own agenda firmly in mind - the need to get away as quickly as possible to take up his new, more lucrative and possibly more influential post in Washington. Where was Anthony Russell-Roberts in all this? Didn't he have a say? It is incredible that the Board passed Stretton's appointment on the nod without apparently asking the tough and searching questions appropriate before such an important and prestgious appointment.

My own reaction on hearing the news of Stretton's appointment was one of incredulity. 'What, him?' I thought (and I meant no disrespect to Stretton personally; just that his name was only marginal to me, not one with an instantly recognisable portfolio). And if I thought that, why didn't the ROH board and administrators think it too?

It's worrying, to say the least, that one of our most important cultural establishments appears to lack a properly professional approach to the appointment of vital senior posts.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

28-09-02, 03:33 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
45. "RE: Stretton's personality"
In response to message #44
 
   LAST EDITED ON 28-09-02 AT 03:35 PM (GMT)

Anthony Russell-Roberts had no involvement. The search committee consisted of:

  • Sir Colin Southgate
  • John (now Lord) Eatwell
  • Dame Beryl Grey
  • Michael Kaiser

    It all happened more hastily than anyone expected. Once it was clear that Kevin McKenzie was not interested, Ross Stretton's name was, so to speak, plucked from the ether. Ross MacGibbon was the only other serious candidate. Sir Colin's claim on Front Row that the search committee had been thorough ("We knew his background very well. We obviously investigated his background very well") should be treated with caution.

    As to AR-R, he was the guest at a Friends' lunch in May. It was very clear that his relationship with Ross Stretton was not comfortable. He contrasted his 'symbiotic' relationship with Anthony Dowell ("We understood each other very well") with that he had with Stretton ("We are learning to work together"). He described Stretton as more "independent" than his predecessors. The audience understood perfectly.
    Anthony Russell-Roberts lunch


  •   Printer-friendly page | Top
    Bruceadmin

    28-09-02, 09:44 PM (GMT)
    Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
    46. "RE: Stretton's personality"
    In response to message #45
     
       LAST EDITED ON 28-09-02 AT 09:59 PM (GMT)

    I think it is a mater of public record that Michael Kaiser called Stretton re the RB job. I also believe that Derek Deane was a serious candidate - but I'm not sure I've seen or heard anything definitive on the process and names involved at various times.

    In looking back I don't think anybody thought it happened hastily! It seemed to go on forever - a reflection of the difficulty in finding somebody. Minor point but I'm sure Lord Eatwell has always been a Lord while doing his stint at the ROH.


      Printer-friendly page | Top
    Bruceadmin

    28-09-02, 10:12 PM (GMT)
    Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
    47. "RE: Stretton's personality"
    In response to message #44
     
      
    I'm sure Ann they asked lots of questions, did what they thought was necessary and selected the best person they could for the job. Appreciate the frustration over what has happened but you may just be wrong in your analysis!

    Ultimately anybody gets appointed to a role on the basis of a few interviews and a lunch or two at best. Nothing in life is guaranteed and its sad for all of us - Board/Stretton/RB/audience - that things have gone wrong. I think we need to cooly learn from this rather then have a witch hunt or cat call.


      Printer-friendly page | Top
    AnnWilliams

    29-09-02, 00:10 AM (GMT)
    Click to EMail AnnWilliams Click to send private message to AnnWilliams Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
    48. "RE: Stretton's personality"
    In response to message #47
     
       On reflection, I suppose that it is inconceivable that an organisation like the ROH would not have gone through the proper checking procedures before appointing Stretton, which just makes his appointment all the more baffling.

    I want to stress that my previous posting was not intended as a personal attack on Stretton. I am rather shocked at the way he has been treated both in the media and in certain postings on this and other threads. The fact that he is human and has human feelings seems to have been entirely forgotten; likewise the fact that he will need another job. Any prospective employer reading the British press over the last few days would naturally have concerns about his professional abilities, but the fact that he didn't work out for the RB does not mean that his abilities would not be an asset elsewhere, especially in a 'young' or new ballet company without any historical or 'heritage' baggage.


      Printer-friendly page | Top
    vivian2

    29-09-02, 00:23 AM (GMT)
    Click to EMail vivian2 Click to send private message to vivian2 Click to add this user to your buddy list  
    49. "RE: Stretton's personality"
    In response to message #47
     
      
    Your cool attitude is somewhat annoying , Bruce, when you consider how many careers and lives have been seriously affected by the wrong choices being made in this case.

    Surely, this country could find a better screening proceedure for such high profile posts?

    Incidentally, I wonder who selected the new Director of the Royal Ballet School?

    Was it the same selection commitee? I think I read somewhere that they were part of the same network in Australia and worked closely together ? Anyone kmow?

    What a depressing situation for the final year students!


      Printer-friendly page | Top
    roddy

    29-09-02, 05:45 AM (GMT)
    Click to EMail roddy Click to send private message to roddy Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
    50. "RE: Stretton's personality"
    In response to message #49
     
       I find Bruce's attitude perfectly reasonable, given that some other posters have expressed a hideous delight at being able to dance on Mr Stretton's grave. There was always a feeling, both in London and Australia, that he was ill-suited to the position but how many other applicants were seriously interested then and how many will be now?

    I dredged up an old issue of Dance Australia (June/July 2000) in which this subject was addressed under the title of 'The Imposter'. Several other candidates were mentioned including Irek M, Derek D, Sylvie(settle down, Katharine), Lynn Seymour with Mark Baldwin amongst others. Perhaps Maina Gielgud is now also waitng in the wings. Included in this article is a reference to the fact that 'Lady MacMillan was one of Stretton's many referees when he applied for the Australian job'!

    The major challege, as he saw it, was to take the company into the future with 'repertoire that will motivate them (the dancers) in the direction they want to go' whilst simultaneously preserving the 'English' style. To preserve the so called 'English' syle in a company riddled with flamboyant, foreign virtuosi must be a challenge indeed.

    Gailene Stock's tenure at the Australian Ballet School overlapped Ross Stretton's at The Australian Ballet for a period of three years. She was obviously selected by a search committee organised by the Board of the RBS and commenced her current position in 1999, so she is hardly 'new'. If you are looking for some sort of Australian ballet mafia I think you will be disappointed. Who said they even get on?

    Depressing for final year students? How so? All but one of this year's graduating class taken into RB & BRB were English. Stop employing foreigners, with their foreign training, in the more senior ranks and these students/corps members will inevitably fill those vacancies and dance the English classics in the 'English' style and English ballet will be back on track.

    Or will it?


      Printer-friendly page | Top
    Bruceadmin

    29-09-02, 09:45 AM (GMT)
    Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
    52. "Thread Full"
    In response to message #0
     
      
    This thread is now full and a new thread has been opened at:
    Thread 3
    Further contributions, thoughts and responses there please. many thanks

    we also have a subsidiary thread:
    Some questions arising from Ross Stretton's departure


      Printer-friendly page | Top

    Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

     
    Questions or problems regarding this bulletin board should be directed to Bruce Marriott