Bourne Pulls Out Of Disney “Mermaid”

Star choreographer Matthew Bourne has pulled out of choreographing Disney’s stage version of “The Little Mermaid.” A disney spokesman: “There was the time it would take to do [Bourne’s] vision vs. the timeline we’re on, and I don’t think they matched up. . . . I want to work with Matt; I adore him and think he’s really smart. [But] it’s just not going to be on Mermaid.”

Tough Times For Off-Broadway

While business on Broadway has been brisk this season, commercial off-Broadway “remains mired in gloom”. Some of Off-Broadway’s best theatres are dark after shows failed. “The troubles have persisted for several seasons, aggravated by the Sept. 11 attacks, rising ticket prices, thin profit margins and a string of expensive financial failures.”

Copyright Issues Back To Congress

The US Supreme Court’s decision not to overturn the Digital Millennium Copyright Act throws the issue back to Congress. “The ruling could fuel fair-use debates over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, digital-rights management systems and the regulatory mechanisms surrounding them. Some of the technological mandates being sought in Congress and at the FCC would put fair use in grave jeopardy.”

BBC To Be Reviewed

The BBC will undergo a thorough review of its programming before license renewal in 2006. “The BBC has been told its programmes must justify the licence fee it charges viewers if its charter is to be renewed. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the corporation would face a ‘tough review’ of the level of funding it receives and the choice of programming it puts out.”

Houston Ballet Names New Artistic Director

It’s 33-year-old Australian choreographer Stanton Welch. He’s “son of two of Australia’s most celebrated classical dancers, Garth Welch and Marilyn Jones. He danced with the Australian Ballet for 10 years and has been a resident choreographer there since 1995. He has set works on many of the world’s major companies.” Welch has named his mentor, Maina Gielgud, as a member of his artistic staff.

Australian Star

“Welch, who is considered by many to be Australia’s most successful choreographer since Robert Helpmann, will be the fourth director of the Houston Ballet. His predecessor, Ben Stevenson was director of the company for 27 years, during which he built it into the nation’s fifth-largest ballet troupe with an annual budget of $US13 million.”

A First Look At Disney Hall

Alan Rich isn’t ready to make prognostications on what an orchestra will sound like in LA’s new Disney Hall, but he’s impressed with how it looks this far into construction. “The hall itself — the ‘Ralphs/Food 4 Less Auditorium,’ it will say in modest lettering on the door handles — is close enough to completion that you can sense the intimacy of the place as compared to the Chandler Pavilion. It’s not only a matter of smaller size; it’s the contour of the room that seems to wrap itself around you.”

Oundjian To Lead Toronto

Canadian-born violinist and conductor Peter Oundjian will be officially introduced today as the new music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The TSO has been director-less since Jukka-Pekka Saraste quit in something of a quiet huff in 2001, and in the two years since, the orchestra has struggled with massive deficits, the threat of bankruptcy, and an ongoing dispute between the musicians and orchestra management. Oundjian, who took up conducting after an injury drove him from his place in the Tokyo String Quartet, is widely considered to be a rising star among North American conductors.

SF Opera Cuts Concerts, But Not Brain Cells

The San Francisco Opera, forced by budget constraints to trim its season, unveiled the revised schedule of performances this week, and the results are at least somewhat encouraging, says Joshua Kosman. While the number of productions may be down, the company “has refused to compromise on some of [its] more adventurous programming decisions. The season will open Sept. 6 with the company premiere of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s 1947 collaboration The Mother of Us All, and will also include productions of Busoni’s Doktor Faust, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.”