Peter Gelb: Only the Met can turn singers into movie stars

Peter Gelb: Only the Met can turn singers into movie stars


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2013

From an interview with Reuters on Met screenings:

‘It makes our casting easier because we are competing with the other top opera houses for top stars and opera stars know if they come and sing at the Met it’s kind of one stop shopping because they can perform on the stage of the Met and be seen by an audience of 300,000 to 350,000 people … There are subscriptions being sold in the Arctic Circle in Tromso, Norway, to see the Met and the same is true in Buenos Aires or Mexico City or St. Petersburg.’

Hubris? What do singers make of this marketing strategy?



  • David Boxwell says:

    I foresee a lot more stomachs getting stapled and faces getting botoxed.

  • Robert says:

    Pity the Met has such awful productions these days – for instance the horrid Manon from the Royal Opera House (where I saw it) which replaced the beautiful Ponelle production (which I saw at the MET) and the awful clichéd Falstaff (which I saw at the Royal Opera House) and never ever want t see again – absolutely no magic is the final scene to boot.

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Also a pity that Mr. Gelb does not understand that what is expected from the MET is not movie stars but great music making and great voices, and above all conductors who are good musicians- unfortunately not often the case nowadays anymore. I will never go to watch Rigoletto set in Vegas. Mr. Gelb lives in his own ind and bubble. Perhaps mr. Gelb should relocate to Hollywood, to fulfill his fantasies.

    • Leslie says:

      Sandy. I didn’t think I would like the new Rigoletto, but we went because there was a snow storm and I had extra tickets for L’Elisir the next night which we traded for Rigoletto. We loved it. Not the caption translations, which we turned off very quickly, and we had two other quabbles, but we loved it. I saw it with the new cast this year, and liked it (with the same three problems) and liked it even better.

      It surprised me.

      But the HD version was all chopped up and not filmed well.

    • Anon says:

      Sanda, it may not be what you expect from the MET, but it does seem to be what others expect from them. Widening the audience for opera, taking opera to people who can’t travel all the way to New York to see it, all the while supporting the artists and others who make the productions seems like a good idea, no? 3 million viewers across 64 countries; good going I suggest.

      And nowhere does Mr. Gelb say he wishes to create movie stars; that’s Norman’s headline, not Gelb’s words. Gelb simply states fact – that a singer performing on stage at the MET in a live relay situation can expect to be seen by many more people outside the opera house; and his belief that this can make it easier for the MET’s casting to get the right singers.

  • xalira says:

    … I guess the next step will be wiping out radio broadcasts, where the music level isn’t compensated by pretty singers. It’s become a painful experience anyway, so I guess no one would cry.

  • Roger says:

    This man is the number #1 responsible for the destruction of opera in America. I despise him so much that I can’t wait for his dismissal by the board. These self-proclaimed “saviours of opera” are throwing the art form to a deep abyss and they are doing this on purpose. Now, as I go to New York, I can’t go to the MET anymore. It’s almost impossible to navigate in this ocean of mediocrity that is the opera scene nowadays. First, in Europe. Then, in the USA. I suppose it fits very well with the big liar and criminal Barack Hussein Obama at the White House.

  • ELEKTRA says:

    please how about just well sung and produced productions with conductors who know the peaces……. uh

  • Ben Wintour says:

    Thank god this man is saving opera for a Generation-Y, my generation!

    Young people are flocking to the opera now!! Gelb is a godsent

  • Elektra says:

    that is why the met has had such a drop in sales…….