Met news: Gelb’s protector joins LA Opera

The plutocratic Ann Ziff, chair of the Metropolitan Opera board and Peter Gelb’s biggest fan, has joined the board of Los Angeles Opera. Read into that what you will. Here‘s the straight version.

ann ziff

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  • Ann Ziff’s mother was Harriet Henders, the famous soprano who performed at houses like the Met and Vienna State Opera. Ann’s husband inherited a large publishing company and greatly expanded it with highly successful technical magazines such as “Car and Driver” and “PC Magazine.” Before his death he sold the company for $1.4 billion. He had three sons by his first wife. They are principles in an investment firm called Ziff Brothers and have a net worth of $12.6 billion.

    Los Angeles ranks 171st in the world for opera performances per year, even though it has the 3rd largest metro GDP in the world. It is over 100 positions behind small cities like Mannheim, Regensburg, Karlsruhe, Nuremburg, Salzburg, Lubeck, Brno, Bremen, Odessa, Ostrava, Kassel, Lviv, Perm, Tallinn, Basel, Glyndebourne, Saarbrucken, Coburg, Oldenburg, Ulm, Darmstadt, and Graz. And of course, there are countless cities ahead of LA, but less than 100 positions. Even Europe’s most provincial cities outrank LA.

    The difference is Europe’s system of public funding. It is nice that Ms. Ziff is so generous, but plutocracy is a poor way of funding the arts. It doesn’t work.

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