A statement from the musicians union president Tino Gagliardi has been sent our way. Published in an old-school workers’ journal, it amounts to an attack on Peter Gelb’s policy of promoting new operas – which Mr Gagliardi considers avant-garde – and which he claims have been box-office failures.
Quote: He also notes the avant-garde operas Gelb champions to draw younger customers have not done as well at the box office as classic operas have. Gagliardi calls the avant-garde revivals failed experiments.
This statement is the first misstep by the musicians’ union, whose campaign has been managed brilliantly so far from within the Met orchestra.
The job of a union president is to fight for his members’ pay and conditions. He has no voice in the choice or casting of operas. The moment he criticises Peter Gelb for artistic selection, he exposes a weakness in the union’s flank. Mr Tino Gagliardi may be a frustrated music critic, but so long as he’s president of the musicians union he should stick to pay and conditions and leave repertoire to competent directors.
Photo: Metropolitan Opera musicians pass out leaflets to concertgoers at New York’s Lincoln Center. Courtesy IATSE New York locals.