Peter Gelb: It’s war out there

This is Peter Gelb’s speech to the Opera America conference, starting at 6:00.

He insists that Live from the Met has made singers perform better. He goes on to claim victory in union wage negotiations, the first in Met history. Some may find his claims questionable.



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  • Peter Gelb is arrogant, insensitive and incompetent as a manager. He is fortunate to have a Board who is uniformed as he is. Basically, Gelb doesn’t have a clue and could care less. In recent remarks,as quoted in the NYT, he attributes the decline in attendance to “timing,” whatever that means. His solution to early signs of loss of subscribers was to raise ticket prices. Brilliant!

  • “Victory in union/wage negotiations” meant installing a financial overseer approved the Met’s three most powerful unions to reign in Gelb’s excesses. Some victory…..

  • I was at one of the last performances (Mozart) by Levine as the Music Director. USD $280 a ticket. I shall demand refund. The outstanding MET orchestra was the only saving grace that night.

    On the other hand, even the happiest and most crowded public place on Earth (DisneyWorld) would not charge so much for parking, drink or food.

    The MET gift shop feels cheap too. The place hangs numerous autographed pictures et al on the wall, with a large price tag on each. They are all for sale (for profit I guess, as I see no mention of tax-deductible amount per charity purchase).

    Nevertheless, I am sure the demand for attending live MET performances on-site will always be there: It’s a perfect gathering place for some obnoxious, socialite-wannabes. They would not mind paying 5 times or more the existing price! For those people — the higher price would mean more exclusiveness, they will be _happier_ and feel _safer_! Do you know how much they may hate you wearing jeans or business causal attire or disgusted by the ladies who don’t wear a diamond necklace?????


    Mr Gelb may as well improve attendance percentage by reducing the capacity of the house. Just bull-doze the building. Then he will become a Messiah: “Look! It’s 100% attendance rate with long waiting list nightly due to my brilliant plan to spend $980 million dollars to rebuild the house to 1/5th of the original size while rising the ticket price by 500%!”

  • So now we know: Gelb was hired by a small group of geriatrics because they perceived he was “hip”. That he had no experience in running a major company or any detailed previous involvement in opera was immaterial. The man was “hip”! What a farce!

    • He did run Sony — and a horrible mess he made of that. The critic (temporarily silenced by pressure from Gelb, something he does whenever he doesn’t like a review) who said she detected the smell of oligarchy at the Met was right. Indeed, Gelb, as egomaniacs are wont to do, touched on the oligarchic nature of his office in the speech. His speech is the most self-satisfied, self-congratulatory spewing I’ve ever heard, I think, helped along by the occasional lie and plenty of truth-twisting. His present plans for the Met are beyond belief. When I see tickets at nigh on $300, I think of how many wonderful CDs I could buy and enjoy in perpetuity.

  • By 18:00 he manages to insult singers including Luciano Pavarotti-who is no longer here to defend himself- and to speak condescendingly about the many workers who make his performances happen.

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