Since Slipped Disc revealed what really happened to get John Copley fired by Peter Gelb, more leaks have emerged from the chorus rehearsal room, none of them creditable to Gelb.
It appears that John Copley said jokingly ‘if it were me I’d like to see him naked’ about a singer who was not present.
One member of the chorus, who speaks poor English, somehow thought the remark was directed at him.
On this basis, and without further investigation or consultation with chorus members, Peter Gelb told one of best loved opera directors in the world to get out of his building.
Now Gelb, we know, is under pressure. The Met does not have enough money coming in, either at the door or from donors. He is about to start a new round of negotiations with the unions. And he is losing sleep that the law firm’s investigation about who knew what about James Levine might point a finger at him.
That’s a lot of pressure. Under pressure, people make mistakes.
Peter Gelb needs to be man enough to own up that he was wrong to fire John Copley, and to ask him to return. No-one will hold it against him, and he will have the good feeling of restoring an old man’s reputation.
We don’t mind how he does it – even through the tepid New York Times – but that apology is required to redress a horrible injustice, one that has left many singers feeling very angry at the Met.