Kevin O'Hare's nomination as the new Royal Ballet chief took the New York Times' Alistair Macaulay by surprise. In today's issue he offers O'Hare some advice, and has some harsh criticisms of the company:
This way the next Diaghilev?
Mr. O'Hare has emphasized the new in his plans for the Royal. But chances are he'll spend most of his time supervising the old, and in particular the 19th-century classics, which to date have predominated the company's repertory. Here there's much to be done. Between the late 1940s and the late '70s the Royal Ballet was the company that led the West in its productions of the Franco-Russian classics: notably “Giselle,” “Swan Lake,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and the Shades scene of “La Bayadère.”
The company's current stagings of those ballets, dating from the 1980s, are all flawed, and the company's corps de ballet, for many years a wonder of the dance world, has not been first-rate for 30 years. Most of the Royal's previous directors have placed their stamp on the 19th-century repertories by giving them new stagings or supplementary choreography or both. Will Mr. O'Hare delegate this to others?
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Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.