Where’s Yannick?

Where’s Yannick?


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2020

While musicians of the Metropolitan Opera are demonstrating solidarity with the locked-out stagehands, their music director is relaxing in the heights of Montreal.

From his Instagram account.



  • EU person says:

    This shameful person should be fired by Met.

    He doesn’t help Met musicians at such a difficult situation. Neither online concerts, nor outdoor concerts.
    He just gets his too high salary.

    Shame on Yannick!!! He is the worst Met music director ever.

    • Kirk says:

      These pics will make great ads for the Met’s 2021-22 season, if it happens.

    • Batons says:

      He’s having fun playing pick up sticks!!

    • Jerome Hoberman says:

      Given that there have only ever been three (and the first of them — Kubelik — for only part of one season before resigning), calling YN-S “the worst” is not much of a stretch.

    • SAS says:

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but with the Met’s structure I understand that Gelb runs the entire thing. Yannick is just an employee. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Orchestral Musician says:

      Yannick’s post is unrelated to the Met. He is promoting a hotel in Montreal that is owned by supporters of Orchestre Métropolitain. They, and other donors have helped to keep his musicians and staff working. This is a “merci” from their Music Director.

  • A.L. says:

    In addition, he is using his free time to learn how to conduct.

    • Anon says:

      Are you kidding me…?

      You do realize he’s already the best of the best…right?

      • YNS Remediation says:

        He doesn’t ‘know voices’ at all. It’s been PAINFULLY obvious in both performances and his sadly inept “masterclasses”. Gelb sniffed him out because he’s a good, YOUNG conductor. He knows little of the workings of the human voice let alone the solid bel canto technique required for roles. Again, he’s YOUNG, cute and already openly gay unlike the insidious Levine.

  • MacroV says:

    So he has a home where he can still pay the rent. What’s your point?

    • MET FAN says:

      that the company is starving and he’s posting stuff like this. classy.

      • MacroV says:

        The problems at the MET are way above his pay grade. And you don’t know what he’s doing for the MET; he’s obviously not conducting now but it’s safe to assume he’s doing a lot of the administrative MD work.

  • MET FAN says:

    Osmo Vanska resigned out of protest, Muti walked the picket lines in Philly and Chicago. Bravo Yannick, keep up the instagram posts.

  • Che triste! says:

    The Met is a sinking ship with Peter Gelb at the helm. Why should Yannick go down as well?

  • Quebecer22 says:

    Yannick is MD of an orchestra in Montreal too, did you all forget his hometown? Is it his fault the Canadian gov has provided arts funding for work to continue? He has a responsibility to his orchestra there too. I am sure – like all of us – he is working by video and email remotely. I had no idea that if you sleep in one place you are incapable of doing anything somewhere else…

    • BruceB says:

      “I had no idea that if you sleep in one place you are incapable of doing anything somewhere else…”

      Oh, but it’s true.

      Also, if you post two photos on Instagram, then what you are doing in those two photos is a full summary of everything you do, all day every day. Fact, as we Americans like to say.

    • a view from the west says:

      Well here’s the thing about being a music director anywhere, it’s your job to lead the musicians, in good times and in bad. Everyone saying “oh he’s got other orchestras, why shouldn’t he be working with them?” Go ahead, no one is complaining about that, but if you want to be a music director of 3 orchestras, you damn well better stand up for all three. Especially when any of them are getting screwed by management. This will not wash off and no one will forget how managements and MDs responded to this crisis.

    • Worldwide says:

      CP of China.

  • V. Lind says:

    In case you haven’t noticed, there is a pandemic on. Once various lockdowns were instated, YN-S went to his home, which is in Montreal. There are lockdown rules preventing or at least seriously limiting travel between Canada and the US — the Canadian border has been closed to Americans for months. In this way, and with some other pretty sensible rules, Canada’s Covid fatalities are far lower — per capita — than those of its more lax southern neighbour.

    Yannick leads Philadelphia and Montreal Metropolitaine as well, so I fail to see why his staying out of New York, where there is no music being planned (a decision taken at a higher level than his), where for a time the Covid cases were among the highest in the US, and wherefrom he might not have been allowed to return home, should be such an issue. It seems unlikely his unpaid musicians would have been presenting any concerts au plein air.

    However: as I understand it, his musicians have not been paid since March, and his stage staff have been locked out. (Whatever that means when there has been nowhere for them to go IN). I do not think instagrams of him living what looks a fairly high life in Montreal sets quite the right note.

    On the other hand: it has nothing to do with his musical ability.

    • Peter G. says:

      It’s his white privilege!

    • NYMike says:

      Yannick is also conducting live streaming sessions of the Philly Orch. during this season both from the Mann Center and Verizon Hall. So obviously, he’s working where he can.

    • Hal Sacks says:

      Somehow Yannick has traveled to Philadelphia in early November to record at least 6 Digital Stage subscription concerts with reduced orchestra forces and soloists such as Manny Ax, Gil Shaham, Yefim Bronfman and Branford Marsalis on an expanded stage at Verizon Hall. He has a residence in Philly, New York and Montreal.

    • Ouchie says:

      He is in lockstep with Gelb. Levine, on the other hand, insisted on excellence. The result was the eventual creation of a world class
      Orchestra. Yannick will be for every remembered for abandoning these musicians and thereby ruining all that was built.
      Say what you want about Levine. At least I’ve never seen him in a robe. Gotta go gouge my eyeballs out now.

    • Music Lover says:

      Small correction: the LAND border between Canada and the US has been closed for months. No restrictions on flights.

    • canadian says:

      this post is not about YNS going home, it’s room service in a hotel room. No one has issue with him being in Canada, this issue is his complete lack of empathy for the company that hasn’t seen salary for almost 10 months. Not a work publicly in support of the musicians, chorus, stage hands…. Maybe not the best time for ultra self-aggrandizing social media, that’s all.

    • Mike says:

      He has been conducting in Philly where the numbers are higher than NYC. He clearly can get through the borders in both directions.

  • Lead by example says:

    The Met Musicians have been actively prevented from performing since March. Gelb is starving out the musicians and other union workers until next September.

    YNS is responsible for artistic leadership. He has shown none since the start of the pandemic. He has failed to support the artists in any meaningful or public way. His social media is his business yes, but it stinks of insensitivity when so many have lost so much.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I’m betting he can spruik all the latest fashionable SJW mantras, though. He knows what a crock of bullshit it all is, just as I do!!!

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Tone-deaf much? Even in a non-pandemic, prosperous time, those photos would be out of touch. I hope Gelb (and other GMs) rein in Yannick’s poor sense of PR. He does work for and represent several organizations currently in crisis.

    P.S. Also, he needs longer legs or a shorter bed to pull off that first photo.

  • Karl says:

    It’s hard to believe that a conductor could be tone deaf like this. I don’t blame him for staying home with his home town orchestra and partner, but pictures like this look bad when many people are out of work and having trouble paying the rent.

  • Paul A Wells says:

    It’s pointless to seek logic when our host complains that a Montreal-born conductor is in Montreal promoting a major sponsor of his Montreal orchestra, which is able to work, barely, because Canada, while not in great shape, remains a smaller public-health catastrophe than the US. The point isn’t logic. The point is to provoke this site’s readers. Most oblige. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? The same Montreal orchestra, incidentally, has been presenting free concerts in long-term care homes, where the great majority of COVID deaths in Quebec have happened. I… seem to have missed the article about that here.

  • anon says:

    “Incroyable forfait!!!!”

    Met opera musicians simply must take advantage of this discounted rate for a weekend getaway at this hotel. Montreal is just lovely at Christmas and New Year’s.

    This incredible offer won’t last forever, it’ll be gone by the time the pandemic is over, and then with the busy Met schedule, it’ll be hard to schedule a mini-vacation.

  • Anon says:

    Norm, grow up. Seriously.

  • Carlos Kleiber says:

    Thank you for sharing Norman. Pandemic is getting worse and worse, people are dying, Met employees without pay since April, struggling to pay for food and shelter. Good to see that someone in the music industry is doing well. Making good money from 3 orchestras, eating and drinking well and look so nice in a bath robe.

  • Marvin says:

    Nothing to say about his “talent”, but this is tasteless.

  • Andy says:

    His Twitter account indicates he’s in Philadelphia right now, preparing for a digital performance with Yefim Bronfman.

    Le Germain Hotels is a sponsor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain.

    Just filling in some blanks.

    I agree that photos like these are tone deaf.

  • a musician says:

    Maybe during the next work stoppage in Philly, he’ll keep conducting in NYC and ignore the Philly Orch?

  • Natalia Pereira says:

    The Met is the mirror of United States way of life… no public assistance on anything, nor even health imagine culture! So when things are going well and everyone earns big bucks it is great but when bad times come, forget about it if you don’t have savings…so don’t blame Yannick Nezet or Peter Gelb they can’t change the system…

  • MET ORCH FAN says:

    Nail in coffin. Bravo Yannick. Way to go little buddy.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    “On the other hand: it has nothing to do with his musical ability.”

    But it does has everything to do with having empathy for the musicians and staff of an institution of which he has a leadership position. Without them, he’d have no position at all.

  • Frogs eat Turtleheads says:

    Word in the street is this man has killed his support within the orchestra with his inability to take any stand in favor of the musicians, who are being treated so badly by mr Gelb. Yannick has chosen a paycheck over beautiful artistic collaboration and respect from musicians that just want to be paid what they are worth. Hopefully his time with the MET will not be long.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    This is ridiculous. The Music Director is smart to stay out of this. Given current conditions, it’s a no win situation.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Then he should also be smart enough to not tout his privilege during this time. Not so ridiculous to those musicians who have received no salary in nine months.

    • Karl says:

      He has too many jobs. It’s clear now that he should choose between Philadelphia and New York. Maybe write a book about it – Yannick’s Choice.

  • mary says:

    In the US:
    Is there any evidence whatsoever that he is currently being paid by the Met? So he is in no different situation than his colleagues at the Met in terms of current employment and pay in the US.

    In Canada:
    So what the hell is it the Americans’ business what he does with his salary that he is earning in Canada while currently employed in Canada while staying in hotels in Canada?

    The world does not evolve around the Met and their musicians and their personal problems. The rest of the world is working, being productive, living, enjoying the fruits of their labor.

    Yes, it’s too bad for the individual Met musicians, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to wear sackcloth and ashes just because 100 individuals at the Met are down and out in New York City.

    • Quite Contrary says:

      The insensitivity of this post is astounding. Yannick is ABSOLUTELY being paid a not-insignificant portion of his administrative salary which still would put him comfortably in the 6 figure range. That puts him in a VERY different situation. And by the way, it’s not 100 individuals who are “down and out”. The Met employs some 3,000 people, most of whom have been out of work since April. Yannick is part of Met management and therefore, along with Peter Gelb, bears responsibility for all of the members of the company.

    • Quinn says:

      You sound just like that asshole Chuck Schumer.

    • John says:

      What empathy. It’s not only 100 musicians. It’s 150 musicians, chorus members, stage managers, stagehands, set designers, costume designers, wig makers, ushers, cleaning staff etc etc… in the 1000’s. The point of this is that he is in a luxury robe in a luxiry hotel while having his choice of croissants, jams, and champagne. While the world is waiting in food lines- including Met musicians, who are on food stamps.

  • PHF says:

    Top 1% (i.e. fancy musicians) is already going down, when top 0.01% (i.e. fancy conductors) go down, will be a sign that +90% is starving. Until then, the life style and its priorities will continue as usual.

    No shame on him, this just resembles the inequality of our societies as a whole.

  • Bravo says:

    It’s not the fact that it’s possible for him to live well and be comfortable.just don’t flaunt it when his orchestra(s) are hurting.

  • Roy says:

    I don’t have enough anger left in me to fully express how orchestra musicians are being treated this year.

    • piotr says:

      Dear Roy, if you want job security and agree with less pay you could come to Europe, home of the universal health care and cheap universities. You’ll also play different music, away from the 3 B’s and 3 M’s.

      • Roy says:

        Piotr, I’ve actually lived and worked in several countries in both North America and Europe and in my experience there are upsides and drawbacks to both systems. I don’t agree that it’s quite that simple. There is also imaginative programming happening outside Europe as well.

  • Sally forever says:

    Bring back Jimmy.

  • Ditch da midget says:

    I thought big things were supposed to come in little packages.

  • Orchestral Musician says:

    This is a promotion for Le Germain Hotels. The Germain family have been generous sponsors of Orchestre Métropolitain, an orchestra that has been performing during the pandemic, and paying their musicians and staff, thanks to supporters such as the Germains.

    • tiredofitall says:

      Even within that context, the come-hither photo in the robe is maybe a tad beneath the dignity of the music director of these august orchestras?

  • a critic says:

    maybe he can use this time to learn how to stop schlepping through every tune Verdi ever wrote. His conducting is the same as his social media presence, shallow, self-indulgent and BORING. Bring back Jimmy!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Nice work if you can get it!! Happy Christmas, Yannick. Enjoy.

  • JJ says:

    It seems just like a regular guestroom. It’s not as though he were staying in a $1000 per night penthouse suite.

  • JussiB says:

    I really really miss maestro James Levine.
    It’s sad to see the once-great orchestra he built has gone to pieces.