Met Opera musicians receive $150,000 private gift

Met Opera musicians receive $150,000 private gift


norman lebrecht

November 21, 2020

Musicians of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra who have not been paid since March in a strongarm tactic by their general manager Peter Gelb have received an unexpected $150,000 gift from a finance house, Spring Point Partners.

C. Graham Berwind III, a Director of Spring Point Partners said: ‘As a board member of three arts organizations – The Metropolitan Opera, Dramatists Guild Foundation, and Opera America – I’m acutely aware what effect the total shut down of the performing arts is having on people who bring the arts to life. While we all wait for the day it is safe for performers and audiences to return to theaters, many performers are experiencing financial hardship as major arts organizations announce the cancellation of their seasons.

‘I felt it was important not only to support these organizations to help sustain them, but also to provide assistance directly to campaigns established to make emergency grants to artists in need – such as the ones started by the MET Orchestra Musicians, the Met Chorus Artists, and the Dramatists Guild Foundation.’



  • Terrance Middler says:

    Still no donor support directed toward the singers and chorus then??

    It’s an OPERA house people!!!!!

    How sad it is watching great voices go broke with many abandoning the city, suffering through this dark period alone without any press coverage.

    So much for “the voice must be heard”…marketing BS!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      The chorus got an equal gift this summer. Also from the same donor.

      • non-white says:

        Let’s hear it for white privilege!

      • Andreas Fiipicchi says:

        What’s become of the chorus let alone the singers after all this time Elizabeth?

        Nobody is trying to “get their voices heard” and it’s given the entire opera world a bad name as a result.

        Perhaps it’s time for the Met to fall since they’ve chosen to be entirely self-serving.

    • Larry D says:

      How much are YOU giving, Terry? Here’s your chance to be a beacon in the darkness.

    • El says:

      Handouts are never enough, are they?

    • Chandra says:

      Does Norman or anyone ever report on the opera singers? Seems unequal not to support them as you rightly pointed out the focus is on singing.

    • anon3 says:

      Thank GOD for wealthy, WHITE men!!!

      No other race has stepped forward to help yet???

      Wherever would the met get money otherwise? Perhaps from William, Greg, Anon, Marfesa, VLind? I should say not!

  • Anon says:

    Sadly, this probably doesn’t even cover one week of salary for the entire orchestra during normal times.
    But hopefully, more people will be inspired by this and make donations.

  • Jack says:

    The gesture is welcome and it’s heartwarming, but it’s only a gesture. Divvied up to all the musicians, it wouldn’t pay for a lot in New York City.

    What’s happening to the Met orchestra is happening to all the major orchestras and arts organizations throughout the world. Even where the arts are subsidized, when collapsing economies cannot produce sufficient tax revenue to support them, choices will doubtless need to be made.

    This is a calamity that will reverberate for many years. I’m sure glad I’ve got a good collection of classical CDs and videos because I’m not sure when we’ll actually be seeing anything approaching “normal” anytime soon.

    • Henry G. says:

      The well run orchestra here in the US have continued to pay musicians, albeit at a reduced salary like here in Boston. The MET’s problems started long before Covid.

  • Nibelung says:

    The Berwind clan, heirs to a coal mining fortune and one of the largest producers of bituminous coal in the US, well, at least it’s not Nazi gold that finances European opera houses, right?

    Opera is the cultural elevator for instantaneous social respectability par excellence, and contributions to operas through tax saving devices is laundering of dirty money earned elsewhere, metaphorically speaking, of course, I doubt many coal miners can afford to go to the Met, they can’t breathe but it’d be great comfort for them to go hear powerful lungs at work.

    • Bdubs says:

      Oh please. Give it a rest. I was a blue collar kid and would go to standing room at the met. My uncle was a beat cop who did the same. Focus on the article and don’t be that person.

    • L. Cohen says:

      You’re insinuating these Met Lefties would allow a guy with environmentally dirty money to be on the board or accept his dirty money?!?!?!?!?!

      They’re broke, so yeah!

      They don’t really have morals; look at how they shielded Levine.

  • El says:

    Is this $150 000 to each musician or is this an amount that will be split evenly?

    • NYMike says:

      Split – in normal times, it would almost equal one MET musician’s yearly wages.

      • El says:

        That’s what I thought. I assumed it was $150k each as a gift but if you say split, that’s gonna get them through 2 weeks of expenses… better than nothing of course but geez get outta NYC guys…

        • Stephanie says:

          The donations that come into the MET Orchestra Musicians Fund go directly to support not only members of the orchestra, but also music staff and associate musicians who have all been unpaid since April. The money will not be split evenly but will rather be given out as needs-based grants.

  • NowhereMan says:

    It’s a single gift of 150,000 to the fund that supports the musicians.