Met Opera reports $130 million loss to July 2020

Met Opera reports $130 million loss to July 2020


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera announced a $130 million loss from operations in the year ending July 31, 2020, of which three months were cancelled du to Covid-19.

However, this was down from a $154 million loss during the previous fiscal year.

During the last four and a half months of 2019-20, the Met withheld the wages of its orchestra and chorus musicians.

General manager Peter Gelb said: ‘Our cash position was about $10 million worse than it had been when we started the fiscal year. We went from a $46 million line of credit to a $57 million line of credit, so that’s a concern to us. The good news is that we’ve managed to maintain the best relationship with donors and audiences through our nightly streams … for a period of almost a year now without performances.’

Is he happiest in an empty house?


  • TeenieWeenie says:

    GELB HAD OVER A DECADE TO RIGHT THE SHIP. This thin lipped poser has no business being in charge of the largest performing arts organization in the world. Kick his scrawny ass to the curb yesterday.

    Thank you very much

    • Larry D says:

      So Gelb has a “scrawny ass” and is “thin-lipped” says a self-confessed “TeenieWeenie”? Your insults, not to mention your own name, betray the oddest obsession with size.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    “The good news is that we’ve managed to maintain the best relationship with donors and audiences through our nightly streams … for a period of almost a year now without performances.”

    “Best” or possible “better”????

    • V.Lind says:

      I don’t think that admission is one to be especially proud of. The man runs an opera house, where live operas presented by musicians and singers are the raison d’être. Filmed presentations are ancillary to this purpose. This guy sees the living musicians and singers going without work or earnings for a year while exploiting filmed work from the past and sees the results of this as “the best relationship”?

      It is good that companies like the Met and Vienna and others keep interest alive with their filmed archives (or, in some cases, streaming of audience-less performances) but Gelb seems to be rowing about it almost as if this were a wonderful heaven-sent opportunity to save money while keeping donors and audiences happy. And the hell with the artists? That’s what it sounds like.

      But we know this guy has a tin ear — which alone should render him ineligible for his position.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    It would be instructive – and transparent – if Peter disclosed the loss of box office revenue, the decline in annual contributed income, the decrease in payroll expenses, as well as any new special funding the Met received as a response to the pandemic.

    It would make his case stronger.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    I hold no brief for Gelb or anyone else associated with the MET but it seems to me that he and it were suffering from highly personalised animus even before the current closure which has not been levelled at other Intendants and houses. And the events of the past 12 months have only added grist to the mill.

    He/they have at least made available some of their back catalogue, which is more than many other houses in the US and those in state subsidised Europe have done. Conversely, they/he have seemingly treated their company members abominably but, dare I suggest, that things might not exactly be as they appear in a wider context? After all, I’m sure that if the critics of the MET looked closer to home they might find that all is not how the believe them to be .

    I have asked before, and do so again, if not Gelb then who? And if the MET is little more than the man – always a man – that runs it, where is the wunderkind to turn it round? Gelb, like many others finds himself and the House he fronts in uncharted waters and he seems to me to be doing no worse or better than many others in less fraught circumstances.

    At a more parochial level is it fair to ask what is happening in the UK or France to name but a couple that is any better than the US, other than our Governments are underwriting some of the losses incurred whilst the management teams try to hold things together, something even Gelb could be said to be doing. But not it seems by those who put their distaste for the man above an objective assessment of the dilemma he amongst many others faces.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      “I have asked before, and do so again, if not Gelb then who?”

      It bears repeating, they could have had Deborah Borda, who is now inextricably with the Phil. There is also Francesca Zambello. Both have the credentials and proven experience–artistic and financial–not to mention inexhaustible energy. Peter had neither, just the Sills recommendation (through mom and dad). May Miss Sills rest In peace.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Reading a further news report, I noticed the quote “Contributions and bequests, including assets released from restrictions less fundraising expenses, totaled $130 million to enable the break-even.”

    Assets released from restriction means they raided (once again) their endowment, decreasing future stability.

    But then, why the hell not? Nothing can be more unstable than the present.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    As much as we may all gripe about Peter Gelb, he and The Met are dealing with serious and difficult financial circumstances. Grand opera on a grand scale don’t come cheap. Need I add that that’s especially true in big, expensive cities.

  • Jansci says:

    “ The good news is that we’ve managed to maintain the best relationship with donors and audiences through our nightly streams … for a period of almost a year now without performances.“
    The problem is: he has been working to destroy the relationships with the people who actually work for the company like ushers, stagehands, tecks and musicians.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    This would never have happened if Gelb had bought GameStop last week.

  • Kathleen King says:

    While at first I enjoyed being able to livestream the MET and intended to contribute to the fund as well as purchasing a membership, since I have a limited income, instead I donated to the Orchestra which Peter Gelb, SCAB, and his Board are trying to break using the pandemic as an excuse. GELB MUST GO! It is the orchestra, chorus, stagehands and backstage professionals who ARE the MET.

  • William Evans says:

    Mr Gelb comments on the Met’s ‘good relations with donors and audiences’ (via streaming). A pity the relationship with singers and musicians hasn’t been as positive.

  • Something is wrong when business’s bottom line actually improved because you weren’t in business.

    • JH says:

      Ironically this is rather common with opera. It’s rare a company can make money from shows -they all make losses. It’s the subsidies, donations etc that keep them afloat -especially for the larger companies that pay out huge fees and have high costs.

  • caranome says:

    When you lose money on each sale, you can’t make it up on volume, so the solution is to get rid of customers. Problem solved! Then you get in more debt to hire Chief DIE officer so you are lauded by your friends at Upper East Side parties and the media as courageous, innovative and oh so compassionate.

  • JussiB says:

    “we’ve managed to maintain the best relationship with donors and audiences…”
    What about with the musicians and stage crew?

  • E Rand says:

    …but found the cash to cave to the leftist mob by hiring a diversity grifter…er..I mean officer.

    Remember-communists/Mel-Marxist leftists are out to destroy everything you love. Become anti-communist.

    • Larry D says:

      So how is the Go Fund Me campaign to build a golden statue of John Galt coming along?

    • True North says:

      Simply an unbearably stupid comment. Aren’t you ashamed of writing something like this?

      • E Rand says:

        I can never tell when a question directed at me, or the person above the question… hm!
        If its directed at me, then I can only say that in my job where I have at least two diversity officers with a hand in the daily life of the employees, I can be confident in saying that it is pure grift, meant to look good to outsiders, and destined not to improve relations, but make them immeasurably worse.
        If your question was directed at Larry, then I would hazard to say that he has had none of his time mandated to be spent in white-privilege classes, so he has no idea that the communists are in the building and tearing down everything we love as we sit by and pay them to do so.

  • Singer says:

    And this is on top of his big $80,000,000 fund raising campaign in March (announced just days after the shutdown..had to have been planned for some time) and the instrumentalists and singers not getting a dime. He needs to go (should have happened years ago).

  • V.Lind says:

    The man has a tin ear. His statement sounds callous.

  • Relationship Is Clearly Not The Best says:

    “we’ve managed to maintain the best relationship with donors and audiences through our nightly streams …”

    Has anyone read the comments on social media on ALL of their posts? That relationship looks pretty toxic to me….

  • Save the MET says:

    Now is a perfect time to shed dead weight Gelb and go in a different direction with a clean slate. This idiot just hired the Harvard Law School Dean in a new job as a “diversity manager” with a big salary without having fixed his orchestra, chorus and stage hand pay problem. He can’t find his way out of a sack with a big opening.

  • Sharon says:

    I have commented several times on this blog but I’ll say it again. The production and stage bling at the MET has gotten out of control. We do not need holograms and drones on stage or the latest technology. People come to the opera for the excursion and mainly for the music. I don’t want to see anyone lose his/her job but millions could be saved if Met productions focused on the music instead of the bling