Peter Gelb: No-one understands memain
From an unchallenged interview with France-Musique:
Peter Gelb: ‘It seems to me that there is a real misunderstanding regarding the funding of the MET. Unlike European opera houses, we get no public support, just a small percentage around 0.5% of our total budget, which normally amounts to $ 300 million per year. And last year, we lost the last nine weeks of the 2020 season and the 2021 season, and our losses total $150 million. Of course expenses have fallen because there are no performances. But without shows, we don’t exist, we are there to provide shows.
‘I know that there has been a lot of criticism of the decisions taken by the MET last spring, in particular to dismiss all the musicians and the choirs of the MET, but unlike other operas, like that of Paris, we do we have no government support, we are not financially supported, we have absolutely no other choice.
‘The contracts clearly stipulate that in case of force majeure, if there are no shows, the contracts are no longer financially honored.
‘We didn’t want to take advantage of these contracts and be mean to our employees, but we had no other choice. At the time of the closure, we really had to enter a mode of survival and find an exit, a way to survive, in order to be able to continue to exist, so that after the pandemic, employees can find their jobs and we cannot not suffer the fate of New York City Opera, which went bankrupt a few years ago.
‘The MET, it should be pointed out, is the only opera company that offers full-time contracts to its musicians, choir, and staff, there is no other company except the MET that does. in this country. We operate like the opera in Paris, Vienna, Paris, London, Munich, Berlin, La Scala itself, the biggest houses in the world, but all of these houses receive government aid, not us. We have private patrons.’
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