Biz news: The Met’s next boss makes his move

Biz news: The Met’s next boss makes his move


norman lebrecht

February 11, 2018

It has been tacitly assumed on the board of the Metropolitan Opera that, if Peter Gelb fell under a bus or was otherwise obliged to leave, one of the first three persons to be called would be Alexander Neef, general director of the Canadian Opera Company.

Neef, 43, a German with enviable networking skills, has put Canadian opera on the world map over the past decade. He is smart, resilient, efficient and, unlike Gelb, personable and interactive.

On Friday, Neef (pictured) agreed to be part of a new troika in charge of Santa Fe Opera, giving him hands-on experience in a US enterprise and a close connection to major donors.

While staying in charge at COC (where his contract runs to 2026), he will hold the title of artistic director at Santa Fe, alongside the Englishman Harry Bicket as music director and Robert K. Meya as general director. Meya, 44, has been the company’s major fundraiser. He is married to the South African soprano Amanda Echalaz.

The trio succeed Charles MacKay, who retires this summer.

How long Neef hangs around before New York calls is a matter of conjecture.

not Peter Gelb



  • Has Been says:

    It might have been better to congratulate Santa Fe and the 3 members of the new triumvirate management team rather than making the post another opportunity to bash Peter Gelb.

  • Selim says:

    New times! Finalmente!

  • Marshall says:

    There are rumors out there that Francesca Zambello could be the dark horse to replace the staggering Gelb. Yes an impossible job, in an impossible age, but he’s had his chance -time for new energy. I’ve always questioned his taste, but he seems a not particularly competent administrator.
    My main problem with Gelb at this point, is that it is time for new blood. He is becoming the Jeff Immelt of the Met opera-supported by a board, but destroying what they are supposed to save and make prosper. Let someone new have a chance. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up turning to someone like F Zambello, who runs Glimmerglass, essentially the Wash. Opera, and is a world famous director. She is very clever, has great public relation skills, would be the first woman to run the Met and would have the gay mafia behind her.

  • Marc says:

    How is it that both Neef and the board of the COC believe that the General Director position is not worthy of year-round full-time attention? Surprised that no press have commented in this regard.