The beleaguered general manager of the Metropolitan Opera – falling attendances, low donations – has given an interview to a Russian journalist in which he claims credit for eleven years of unfaltering success.
Many years ago I worked with Sony Music. And one day in Hollywood I met with the head of Sony Pictures. And they had before this several cash failures in a row. And he then told me that now we have a new policy in the company – no longer making films with a sad ending.
In my opinion, this is an example of how absurd it is to go in pursuit of commercial success. I think the responsibility of the theater is not only to arouse the desire of the public to be surprised, but also to stimulate its interest in learning.
The main thing is to give the viewer not what he thinks he wants to get, but what he does not realise he needs. Ultimately he will like it (Google Translate).
And one more:
When I became general manager of the “Met”, I immediately told the Board of Trustees that I would not execute their orders for performances. And so far I’ve never performed them. The board has the right to support my activities or to fire me. But I do not accept creative instructions from them.
As for the business and finance of the theater, then, of course, I must prove to the board that I will bear financial responsibility. But for the “Met”, in my opinion, it would be much more dangerous for the board to have the right to make artistic decisions.
If you recall the story of “Met”, the person in my post has always been a strong artistic leader. Although there were sad, instructive exceptions.
Full interview here (in Russian).