The Met issues belated Montserrat Caballé regrets

The Met issues belated Montserrat Caballé regrets


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2018

The magnificent soprano died early on Saturday morning.

Most opera houses where she sang announced her passing from the stage that night. Some held a minute’s silence.

The Met did nothing on Saturday.

Nothing on Sunday.

Nothing on Monday morning.

On Monday afternoon it published the following notice on social media:

The Metropolitan Opera mourns the death of Montserrat Caballé, one of the great sopranos of the 20th century. At the Met, Caballé dazzled audiences with her extraordinary vocalism in 15 roles and 98 performances. She made her Met debut in 1965 as Marguerite in Faust in the final season of the old opera house. Caballé’s final Met performance was in 1985 (as Tosca), but her extraordinary talent will never be forgotten by those fortunate enough to have heard her live or through recordings. We offer our sincerest condolences to her family, friends, and many admirers.

Are there still humans in charge of the Met?


  • Olivia says:

    I want to write some remark about the behavior of Mr. Gelb. A Operahouse is like a grand Kindergarten- we all know that. You have so many things to do with Tenors. former Tenors, with Sopranos, their pets, lovers and husbands. But – in my opinion- its the Art and the Artists who count. Not the General manager. Not the Director. Madame Caballe was one of the best singers in the 20 Century. If its really true, that the MET- and his General Manager- did not remember Roberta Peters, Nicolai Gedda, to name a few, then it is a disgrace. We all know from Singers from the past. Pasta, Colbran, Caruso, Malibran. But we have no or few or difficult recordings. But esp in this new media World, where it is it so easy to make a Button on the website for remember- that would show Thankfulness, Admiration, Style, Class, Honor. to name some few things. I am not a native english speaker- but I truly belive that the Artist – who gave their health, life, soul for Music and Arts deserve something better. Beverly Sills said : Art is the signature of civilisation- and she was so right. And the singer- whose only instruments are the vocal cords INSIDE their body should gave respect. And esp. if it is a Muscian who was so great in her own business like Madame caballe. she was not a Primadonna at the “ellis Island Opera Company” or in Vorderbüchelberg- she was- like Gencer, Sutherland, Sills, Horne a Belcantoartist- and opend a “terra Incognita”. The careers of Bartoli, Florez, of all the counter Tenors, of Di Donato would gone in a other direction. So Mr. Gelb should done his Job- or as we in Germany say: “Seine Pflicht und Schuldigkeit erfüllen”.

  • Rupert Dussmann says:

    I was at the live Aida transmission on Saturday and found it an utter disgrace that they did not dedicate the performance to her memory or at least mention her. She did after all sing the role a few times at the Met and her recording with Muti is legendary, marking her as one of the great interpretors of the role. The only person decent enough to mention her passing was Roberto Alagna in a brief interview with him in the intermission. The Met did nothing!

    • Arnold says:

      Because mr. Guild is an idiot I don’t care if I spelled his name wrong he should be fired he’s destroying the Metropolitan Opera. The board of directors should get together and get a true leader like Mr. BING.

  • Olassus says:

    It’s not all pp; not supposed to be. (2:49 to 3:10)

  • Brian says:

    The Met is not, in my experience, very nimble and out front on social media. The Royal Opera House and Paris Opera (to name two) are much savvier about their social presences. It shouldn’t have been difficult to post some words of tribute, or even a simple video clip, on Facebook or Twitter by Saturday afternoon.

    • Don Pasquale says:

      This is not a matter of being savvy this is a matter of respect for great musicians and responding appropriately and timeously. Is it that difficult to step in front of a curtain?

  • V.Lind says:

    It would not have taken much tech savvy to have had a voice on a microphone announce before the evening performance that night that the opera would be dedicated to her memory. They ought to have been able to get in a mention on the afternoon broadcast as well — as noted elsewhere, the interview with Gelb was doubtless pre-recorded, so the slagging of him for that on another thread was preposterous. But most of it is live.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      And everyone should know the press office doesn’t work at the weekend. Hence the dedication was made after they came to work on Monday morning.

  • Linda says:

    I totally agree. There is NO excuse for not honoring Montse. She is one of opera’s best.

  • Tod Brody says:

    They must be really horrible, despicable people.

    • M McAlpine says:

      For goodness sake, get a grip. Not mentioning the passing of a singer does not make people ‘horrible and despicable’ unless you’re the sort of people who worships singers as some sort of gods. Caballe was a highly talented singer who was fully rewarded during her life by having the applause of thousands and being highly paid for her efforts. The failure of the Met to mention her at the broadcast may be seen as a PR gaffe but it is not the national disaster some are making it out to be.

      • M McAlpine says:

        And one point – the Met tribute was published in advertisement in the NY Times.

      • Tod Brody says:

        I was attempting to be ironic. I’m appalled at the level of outrage expressed here and elsewhere. I’m actually in total agreement with your words.

      • Anson says:

        Co-sign to both of you. I’m appalled that people are appalled. Not for nothing, today is the next business day after her death. It’s not crazy that it would take until today to issue a proper statement — which they have.

        • Linda says:

          We all maintain that without question, they should have had a moment of silence or dedicated Saturday’s performance to her. She was a significant part of the Met for many years. Today is an after-thought. Shameful.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Some of us maintain the only reasonable and appropriate response is mass ululation followed by self-immolation. Anything else is failing to show the proper respect to someone who played the lead role in Aida at the Met as many as two times. Shame on you.

      • ARNOLD says:

        I literally have learned I put the greatest art form of the old world la Superba at least deserve an acknowledgement from the Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday she sang there overnight over 90 times. Please don’t and can make negative remarks about her thank yo

      • Georgene E MATSUYAMA says:

        I shall remember your words when you pass, but then who cares if you pass…

  • Daniel NYC says:

    No condolences were provided because the Met Opera is managed by Peter Gelb. If Caballe were starting her career today she would never make it on the stage of the Met Opera because Peter Gelb is not interested in promoting great voices but trying to market opera for its theatrics and sexy woman. Look at the ads that they currently present. It can’t be soon enough that the Met Opera board wake up and get rid of Peter Gelb. He has destroyed this great institution and I hope once he is gone it can be restored to its past glory. Hopefully great voices such as Caballe will once again find their way to the Met Opera stage. She was one of the great voices of the century and is sorely missed.

    • Rise Press says:

      I agree. How I long for the days of Bing or even Volpe. This Gelb person is not up to the task and has no class. He should be retired.

      • Linda says:

        Is there any way to get rid of him?

      • M McAlpine says:

        Wasn’t it Bing who got rid of a certain Maria Callas?

        • ARNOLD says:

          La Divina refuse the contract that was off to her by mr. Bing. The media turned it into a circus saying she was fired she was not fired she was at her decline and the poor lady knew it. She was the greatest of all time but when she came to the Met she was no longer the great diva of the late forties an early 50s. How we miss you Maria

  • Shaw says:

    The Met is not respectful to wait until monday afternoon to speak about Montserrat Caballe. It is primitive, very low level, they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • John says:

    I was at the Met live HD broadcast and it was here, during the pre talk with Gelb that I heard that Caballe had died. So if you go to the encore tomorrow night listen to Gelb’s remarks at the beginning.

    • Linda says:

      That is very strange because I, too, was at a live broadcast and I was listening for a mention of her, but never heard anything.

  • Olivia says:

    The Problem was, Mr Gelb wasnt in the House. There was once a GM who attended nearly every night in the Opera! And its a sign if class to do that. If a important artist is dead, it should be a sign of class to remember him or her on the same day. Adter all, even the hysteric queens at Paterre Box changed the program!

  • Peter Hudson says:

    He should be sacked he hasnt a clue about Opera, Grand Opera. Callas was the Best, Then Caballe. They will never be replaced, Opera singers today dont the meaning of the word. Peter, Teacher.

  • Tom says:

    SHAME on you, Gelb! SHAME on The Met!!

  • David A McKellar says:

    Shame, shame.

  • Andrew Pooladian says:

    Montserrat caballe was very good in some roles and just okay in others. First of all I did not find out about caballe untill monday. So my point is Peter Gelb may not of known at the time. Also me Gelb is no Bing or volpe etc and he has had some problems but he is still a good manager and in my opinion he should not be fired or replaced. Thank you

  • Roger Mayer says:

    Unbelievable – I have lost a lot of respect for the Met . Montserrat Cabaalle deserved better