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Covent Garden dances in Rio with an eye on 2016 Olympics

An incredibly verbose press release has just landed from the corporate wing of the ROH.

It tells us that an expeditionary party is heading up the Amazon to develop a long-term ‘releationship’ (sic) with the ‘Theatro Municipal’ in Rio de Janeiro. The idea is to create an ‘education, audience engagement and skills programme’. (We read these meaningless things so you don’t have to.) It appears that Covent Garden is spreading its wings and wants a front seat at the carnival. End of.

Here’s a bit of blurb.

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PRESS RELEASE

13 February 2013
THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE HEADS TO BRAZIL TO DEVELOP NEW LONG TERM RELEATIONSHIP WITH THE THEATRO MUNICIPAL IN RIO DE JANEIRO AND TO OPEN ITS NEW SEASON WITH THREE GALA PERFORMANCES WITH ARTISTS FROM THE ROYAL BALLET AND THE JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS PROGRAMME

Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February                      Education Symposium

Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 March              Gala Performances

 

The Royal Opera House is expanding its international links, creating a long term education, audience engagement and skills programme in Rio de Janeiro designed to strengthen and develop links between the ROH, Theatro Municipal and the arts education communities in both countries.  This work follows the established memorandum of understanding between the Royal Opera House and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, a model of best practice in the international exchange of ideas and knowledge.

 

Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said “This is a very exciting initiative between Brazil and the UK.  I’m particularly thrilled that we are sharing skills, training and development between the two countries.   This is also a fantastic opportunity to build on our audiences already established in Brazil through our cinema screenings, and seems entirely fitting that the two countries are working together more closely across culture, inspired partly by the creativity that was so prominent during the London 2012 Olympics and London 2012 Festival.”

 

A two day Symposium, developed in partnership with the Theatro Municipal and the British Council’s TRANSFORM Festival brings together dance teachers and practitioners from a wide variety of Rio dance schools, social organisations and professional dance companies which currently offer training programmes for children.  Together with representatives from the Royal Opera House and Theatro Municipal, they will investigate approaches to ballet teaching and how to use dance as an educational tool to develop the individual.

 

The aim is to stimulate discussion around the theme of developing life skills in children through participation in ballet, to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and skills, and to establish new relationships that can lead to longer term dialogue and professional development.

 

The Symposium also aims to celebrate the strong local practice in creating access to art and culture in the city’s favelas and disadvantaged communities, and will provide an invaluable opportunity for knowledge exchange and mutual learning.

 

Paul Reeve, Director of Learning and Engagement, Clare Thurman, Ballet Education Manager and David Pickering, Dance Practitioner (and dancer with The Royal Ballet), will lead talks and discussions at the Symposium alongside representatives of the ROH’s Chance to Dance programme which offers free ballet training to primary school children in two inner London boroughs and in Thurrock.  The Symposium also includes practical sessions led by teachers from both countries.

In addition to the Symposium, ROH’s team will lead participatory ballet sessions on the stage of Theatro Municipal with groups of children and young people drawn from community dance projects in Rio.

 

The educational activity is followed by three Gala Performances with eight Royal Ballet Principals and three Jette Parker Young Artists which will open the Theatro Municipal 2013 Season.

 

Oak Foundation, supporters of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme since 2005, has generously made an additional grant in support of this programme of activity, which also includes a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by former Young Artist André Heller-Lopes

 

Brazilians Roberta Marquez and Thiago Soares, together with Leanne Benjamin, Federico Bonelli, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Marianela Nunez and Edward Watson, will dance a variety of pas de deux from some of the best loved ballets in The Royal Ballet repertory including the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, the pas de deux from Ashton’s Thais and the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake.  There will also be works from Wayne McGregor, Resident Choreographer and Christopher Wheeldon.

One of the pas de deux, In the Hothouse by choreographer Alastair Marriott, features mezzo-soprano Justina Gringyte, who will also join soprano Dušica Bijelić and tenor Pablo Bemsch to sing arias and duets from some of great operatic and operetta repertory: Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila, Mascagni L’amico Fritz, Donizetti L’elisir d’amore, Lehar Giuditta and Johan Strauss Die Fledermaus. Former Young Artist Dominic Grier conducts and the Programme’s Artistic Director David Gowland will accompany some pieces on the piano.

 

The Royal Opera House’s relationship with Brazil will continue to strengthen over the next few years leading up to a proposed tour by The Royal Ballet in 2015.  Ongoing Royal Opera House education and community projects are in development with the Theatro Municipal.

 

Brazil is a key audience for the Royal Opera House Cinema Season, being the fourth largest audience out of the 32 countries currently screening ROH opera and ballet.  In addition, Brazilians are the second largest cohort which interacts with the Royal Opera House through social media after the UK, following the US.

 

 

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Comments

  1. The funny thing is the usual association of everything in Brazil with Amazon. The distance from Rio de Janeiro to the Amazon forest is 4.271 km or 2.658 miles. The same distance from London to Damascus in Syria. It has quite the same geographical, natural and maybe cultural differences between all this places. No one visiting Rio de Janeiro will see Amazon forest, besides on pictures or tv. Besides it, Amazon forest is not just inside Brazil territory, but Peru, Venezuela, Colombia etc.

    Concerning “Educational program” idea, it is nice. Always another one is good, but it is not any news in Rio de Janeiro. However, Mr. Lebrecht is right. It is just about to get the front seat of the Olympic games and all investments, as much as all kinds of business companies are doing. Let’s include the world cup since the final will be in Rio de Janeiro.

    • Thank you, Senhor Giarola.

      While “up the Amazon” may seem a nice rhetorical flourish, not only is Rio de Janeiro thousands of kilometers from the Amazon, the city – home to the famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches – is not up any river at all.

      It’s roughly akin to saying that someone is going up the Mississippi to work in New York or Los Angeles.

      Oh dear, I’m back in pedantic copy-editor mode …

      • NY,

        Indeed and back on pedantic copy-editor, It is quite like saying the Yorkshire accent is Londoner. (And both places are just 180 miles of distance).

        • Rio’s only 180 miles from the mouth of the Amazon?

          A quick Google search tells me that the distance from Rio de Janeiro to the port of Macapá is roughly 1,650 miles (2,650 km).

          Yes, if you mean London to York, that’s about 180 miles.

  2. I’m sorry but if I ever sent out a press release for a world class organisation with a silly spelling mistake in the headline, I’d be so utterly mortified I would hide under the bed for a week…

    Whatever happened to proof-reading before you hit send?

  3. Andrea C. S. says:

    BRAZILIAN BALLET TEACHERS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS ARE ABLE TO PREPARE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TO THE MOST IMPORTANT BALLET COMPANIES ALL AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE IT IS REALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DEVELOP A TOP BALLET CAREER IN BRAZIL. THIS MEANS THAT YOUNG BOYS AND GIRLS KEEP GOING ABROAD, FAR AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS, JUST FOR THE RIGHT AND THE DREAM TO DANCE PROFESSIONALLY BECAUSE HERE IN RIO IT IS JUST IMPOSSIBLE. THERE´S NO CHOICE. FACT.

    - WHAT WE ACTUALLY NEED IN RIO DE JANEIRO IS A DEEP COMMITMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT TOWARDS ARTS POLITICS, SUPPORT AND CULTURAL PROGRAMMING.

    - ABOUT THE THEATRO MUNICIPAL DO RIO DE JANEIRO (TMRJ) WHAT IT NEEDS IS A SERIOUS MANAGEMENT THAT CAN TAKE CARE OF ITS STEADY ARTISTS – BALLET DANCERS, SINGERS, MUSICIANS – BY CREATING A SEASON WITH A REGULAR FINANCIAL SUPPORT . MOST OF ALL, WE WANT TO SEE THE ARTISTS THAT ARE PART OF THE THEATRE´S CASTS ON STAGE. WE, AS CITZENS, PAY THEIR SALARIES. FOR WHAT? THE REAL SITUATION IS THAT TODAY – NOT ONLY TODAY BUT FOR A LONG TIME – THEY ARE JUST DOING NOTHING BECAUSE NOTHING IS BEING DONE BY THE THEATRE´S ARTISTIC DIRECTION WITH ITS OWN ARTISTS. THE 2013 TMRJ SEASON IS UNKNOWN SO FAR. THIS IS THE FIRST NEWS ABOUT IT. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE THE ROH THERE. WHAT ELSE?

    -THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.

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