The Met manager will have breakfasted with a smile this morning over Maureen Dowd’s mini-profile in the New York Times. The doyenne columnist, a Times protegée of his father’s, wrote fondly, almost maternally, of the embattled opera manager.
Peter Gelb will have stopped reading before he got to any critical comment. As a former PR man, he mistrusts journalists and never believes hat he reads unless it is totally fawning.
Nor does his listen to his own PR advisers, making one blunder after another in his public utterances these past few weeks.
What Peter Gelb believes in is Peter Gelb. And that faith is about to be sorely tested.
Unless he can reach some form of agreement with the unions in the next 36 hours – a prospect as remove as an Israel-Hamas love-in – Peter Gelb will lock all unions members out of the Metropolitan Opera and shut it down for the forseeable future.
The outlook beyond that does not look good for Gelb. If the unions force him to climb down after weeks or months of shutdown, he’s finished. If he manages to bring them to heel, the Met that he will manage after the lockout will be – like the Minnesota Orchestra – a restive, unhappy company that will only be appeased – as in Minnesota – by the blood of its manager.
Either way, Peter Gelb will be toast. He has 36 hours to get himself out of the open fire.