Curtains: The Met will stay shut for a year

Curtains: The Met will stay shut for a year


norman lebrecht

September 23, 2020

The signals we picked up were right. The Met will not reopen until September 2021.

This has never happened before in the comany’s 140-year history.

Peter Gelb says the company’s losses will total $154 million.

Next up: pay cuts and personnel losses.

The company plans to reopen on September 21, 2021 with “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” a jazz work that premiered at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis in June 2019. Two other new works in the schedule will be Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice,” which premiered at the LA Opera last February and Brett Dean’s “Hamlet” from Glyndebourne.

Gelb said: ‘We can’t resume performing until the pandemic is over with a vaccine that’s widely available and herd immunity having been achieved, and even then the audience is going to return slowly. One of the things that we have to mind going forward is a way with our unionized employees, new economic arrangements that the company can afford going forward.’

Commentary: Is this the end of opera in America?


  • JS says:

    Can’t they sell that horrendous gold thing to get some bucks for food and important stuff? P.s. what a srewd editor, irony, love it! 🙂

  • Karl says:

    Somehow they managed to stay open during the 1918 pandemic. Were people braver back then?

  • Crim Chanders says:

    Orchestras were playing to full houses between January and March, during which time the virus was circulating without restraint in the northeast. That was before we realized that it’s only safe to do concerts if the risk is zero.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    As I stated in my recent comment re: the SF Opera: I believe the opera is a dying art, no longer economically sustainable.
    Events seem to be proving me right.

  • MWnyc says:

    Well, for those who were wondering what the administrative staff of the Met was doing for their salaries as the chorus and orchestra were furloughed, setting up and nailing down (as far as possible) that 21-22 season is what they were doing. And it takes a lot of work

    • Doctor says:

      Administrative staff has been fundraising and posturing for the org, but has completely forgotten that the organization is its people, specifically the artists. They have not communicated with them through this entire ordeal, and have made no attempt whatsoever to support the incredibly talented musicians (and other stage artists) that make the Met what it is. Whenever this is all over, the Met may reopen its doors, but what is inside will be a skeletal frame of why it once was, because the people are all gone. Gelb and his staff have demonstrated in plain sight their utter incompetency of how to run a business, and especially how to run an arts organization.

      • tiredofitall says:

        Peter was never an effective or confident communicator, especially within the company. In his first year, he held two company-wide (mandatory with HR even taking attendance!) company meetings in the auditorium.

        When Peter realized that he would receive actual questions from the employees rather than having an ego-stroking megaphone (a technique that works quite well with board members), the employee gatherings abruptly halted.

  • Save the MET says:

    Where is Yannick in all of this? Has he addressed the orchestra or the company?

    • The MET is finally DARK says:

      You need to update your handle to Save the MET FROM ITSELF!

      They’ve imploded morally with enabling Levine for decades, ticket sales have been in decline for at least the last 15 years with A LOT of empty seats and now they’re COMPLETELY CLOSED as Cuomo has paralyzed all theaters.

      Gelb just ‘thinks’ he’s opening back up next September. Based on??? Of course he should have said PLANNING IN ANTICIPATION to open next year but he’s not proven himself to be management material. The only thing he’s got going for him is that Ann Ziff likes him and doesn’t want to be proven wrong as a woman.

      The met’s glory days are long behind and they’ve been selling off memorabilia over the years to plug financial holes. Sadly the former titanic is too big and now sinking.into the abyss. Going into a smaller space has been kicked around several times but NYC is without the wealthy, white base it depended on as a status symbol.

      Whites with NYC $$$ and tourists are fully put off by the endless riots, protests and crime reclaiming the city post Rudy Giuliani come De Blasio-Cuomo. Plus there’s no substantial restaurant, bar, hotel ecosystem anymore without the theater crowds to plan their income in tandem with.

      Frankly it’s the SINGERS I’m most concerned with. They were cut off in March without regard or notice like TRASH. Everyone found out through some sloppy corporate styled group email at the same time the press did. All that training and buildup to be chosen and revered only to be treated like a Walmart employee. Not only was decorum abandoned, so was human compassion. No one acknowledges their loss of income, housing and pride in a once respected profession. Certainly leaves the singers out in the cold with nowhere to go and no hope, doesn’t it?

    • Save the MET says:

      Someone is using my handle, this is not my post. That said, he does make a point.

  • debuschubertussy says:

    Hmmm, maybe when they reopen they should focus more on their core standard repertory, to bring audiences back? Maybe it’s just me, but the Met has been rather inconsistent lately with the standard repertoire works and relying too much on gimmicky new premieres.

  • Leadership anyone? says:

    Did anybody notify Yannick via an environmentally friendly email or is he too busy off crying somewhere in a “safe space” to make a statement???

    He’s still employed by the Met, right?

  • Opera Lover says:

    Readers would like to hear how singers are getting on as their profession has become basically an albatross with no way to make an income particularly in the states.

    No one is acknowledging them and we’re concerned.

    Thank you Mr. Lebrecht