Peter Gelb: No-one understands me

Peter Gelb: No-one understands me


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2021

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.’

More here.

See also: Yannick weeps



  • musician says:

    Well if you weren’t so terrible at your job, the MET wouldn’t be in such a difficult situation financially, far before the pandemic. Either way, you need to go Peter. Everyone hates you.

  • William says:

    He felt so bad about furloughing everyone that he decided that now was the time to get the massive pay cuts he has been seeking since 2006. Wealth redistribution Gelb-style.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    As someone who has no horse in this race, it seems to me Peter Gelb is trying to be fiscally responsible above all else to ensure the long-term viability of The Met. He inherited an unsustainable cost structure and is doing what he can to make it sustainable. I 100% support unions and musicians and unlike some do not begrudge them getting paid well–when the resources exist to do so–but right now, the resources do not exist. And as best I can tell, the attitude of the unions is self-enrichment at the expense of the viability of the organization as a whole. With the AVERAGE cost of a stagehand running close to $300,000 according to The Met’s tax returns, guess what, that’s not sustainable.

    Peter Gelb may lack all sorts of skills that are reason for people to be upset with him. But as someone who is looking at this objectively and has never met the man, it seems to me that his positions have been reasonable and justifiable. Maybe there is a better way someone else could have accomplished the same ends, I have no idea. But to continue forward with the status quo in the face of unfavorable long-term trends, well, that doesn’t work. Now maybe with someone else in leadership, perhaps those long-term trends could be reversed (i.e. declining attendance). Or maybe the existing budget could be better allocated. I can’t say. But with things as they are, like it or not, Peter Gelb is doing what’s prudent and needs to be done. The current financial situation is not sustainable. And if you love opera and don’t want The Met to go the way of City Opera, then everyone should support getting The Met on a sustainable footing. At present, they’re not. Sorry, but there is no good reason why stagehands should be making the $$$ they are. Were it not for the union stranglehold, they would likely be making half of their current salaries–which is still a damn good income for that skill set.

    • Sharon says:

      Maybe part of the problem is the focus on all the super technologically sophisticated stage bling. Is opera about drones and holograms on stage or is it about music and singing? Would the Met really lose so much of their audience if they focused on the music, singing and acting in front of a painted scrim
      instead of competing with a techno or laser show.
      As for myself, untrained in music, I find all the stage bling distracting from the music, singing, and even the plot.

      • John Kelly says:

        I am with you but a lot of the Met audience is very much in the “Bread and Circuses” category. When Act 2 of Boheme opens up in Zefirelli’s totally over the top production with a cast of hundreds milling around, there is invariably a round of applause – for the production, notwithstanding that there is no way to follow all the intricacies of what’s going on with the principals and their non payment of the bill. And then the donkey comes on…………
        My bugbear is the insistence on bringing the curtain down before the music is over – at the first twitch of the curtain there is applause so the last notes of Parsifal or whatever are lost. Always.

      • JoshW says:

        Hey Sharon, have you really seen a lot of productions with drones and holograms? Name them, please. Have you seen any productions at ANY other major companies throughout the world?? I rather doubt it based on your clueless comments.

      • FP says:

        While I agree with you to a point, the Met needs to respond to what ticket buyers want. I think the same statement you make could be applied to Hollywood movies. Marvel, DC Comics, huge budget space epics and action movies dominate theaters. Why not more films like My Dinner With Andre? Because they don’t sell. If the Met adopted this strategy they would not be the world’s preeminent opera company. Sad but most likely true.

      • Kathleen King says:

        With one exception, the recent Ahknaten which I suspect because of Tony Roth Costanza and Zachary James will be the standard, glitz and all, forever. The acting of those two with their voices is simply incomparable — yet they refuse to make the DVD ! On the whole though, using the older settings is spectacular enough with good singing — assuming the orchestra can be reconstituted. The current Music Director came late to help but instead bolted out of town and stayed there while his people suffered.

    • Monsoon says:

      The 990 includes just the highest paid employees — it does not include any data on average pay.

    • William says:

      Most of the stagehands make $28/hr. Do the math and see how badly Peter has lied about how much the average person makes. Using the same math Diana Fortuna makes over $500,000 per year as the finance person. Are stagehands working 75 hours a week not worth 20-50% of her earnings? Wealth redistribution plain and simple. Peter and Diana don’t believe the rank and file should make anywhere near what they make.

      • JoshW says:

        I’m willing to bet that Ms. Fortuna’s education and expertise are just a little bit more well-honed (and hard to find) than your average furniture moving stagehand. And $28/hour is ridiculous. That contract is so padded with extras it takes over 100 pages just to list them all.

      • William says:

        How do I figure that? I work there. I know what people get paid. Don’t believe what the Met is putting out, it’s a complete fabrication. MOST people on stage make $28/hr. Less than half of the rate at all of the other major theaters in NYC. The average salary is less than half what Peter has put out.
        As to nepotism, I didn’t know a soul when I started there. There are some sons and daughters, but way less than you seem to believe.

    • Kathleen King says:

      Check around. HE is the one spending lavishly and on glitz and technicals. And, YES, the union is a good thing, GElb is a SCAB and the stagehands for the MET are worth their hire. THAT “skill set” you call it is unique, just as the MET was before GELB took over and is destroying it.

    • Nick2 says:

      Herr Doktor – in making your suggestion that Gelb “inherited an unsustainable cost structure and is doing what he can to make it sustainable”, you omit one absolutely vital fact. He has been in the job for something like 15 years, years in which he has increased budgets, brought in quite a number of senseless productions and reduced audiences. If he was even attempting to make the Met sustainable, why would he wait 15 years – or to be gracious about 12 years – before even starting to put a sustainability plan into action?

      The fact is he has never had a sustainability plan. He has just barged on regardless making major mistake after major mistake and then waiting for circumstances and donors to come to his rescue. His interest has clearly been focused on just one track – what’s best for Peter Gelb?

      He was a nonentity when he was appointed and he remains a nonentity whose complete lack of management and people skills have been driving the Met into its grave for years. A Union’s job is to fight for the benefit of its members. A Management’s job is to ensure that the Company is run on a financially stable footing. Gelb has not done that. He has no clue how to negotiate. He has to bring expensive lawyers to the party. The man should have been fired years ago. But then that is a job for a Board which has seen its own credibility disintegrate by sitting back and letting Gelb ruin the institution.

  • Anson says:

    Well, the facts he states about no government support and the extreme consequences of the pandemic are, sadly, true.

    • Tom Hase says:

      No, the claim about no government support is decidedly untrue. The fact that donations to the MET are tax deductible means de facto that the tax payer subsidies the MET by hundreds of millions of dollars every year, without any representation.

  • Sharon says:

    0.5% of a 300 million budget. That means they only receive 1.5 million a year in all government grants? Doesn’t sound truthful at first glance but as I thought about it it might make sense.

    What many arts companies do is educational programs. For ex. the New York City Ballet gives away 20000 tickets a year to school excursions (several free full house performances of the Nutcracker). It also has numerous free or low priced educational lectures and classes for all ages, including immediately prior to shows and even talks during intermissions. Many of these programs are run or taught by volunteers. This allows the NYCB to get monies from government education budgets.

    The Met does very little education for the public or community outreach apart from the opera in HD streaming in cinemas, the cost of which is almost double a standard movie ticket. They even gave up their free concerts in the New York City parks a number of years ago. The Met’s ticket prices, unless one is in family circle where one needs binoculars, are out of reach for the average working class or even middle class person to attend more than once or twice a year. Why should government agencies and government legislative bodies (city, state and federal) want to do more for an organization that does not serve the general public?

    • Louis says:

      I think you are uninformed – the Met has a lot of educational programming.
      And the grant number is right – it’s public info.

      • Sharon says:

        The educational programming may be for young musicians or Opera members (small donors) but not for the general public or for public school students

        However, I must admit, I once took advantage of an offer for local viewers of Opera in HD to see certain performances in the Orchestra with an incredibly discounted ticket (I think $60). After that I was bombarded with fund raising letters and phone calls

    • JoshW says:

      Hey Sharon – You might want to investigate the Met’s extensive education programs a little more thoroughly before you spout off and accuse someone else of being “untruthful.” You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Sharon says:

        I said that at first glance it seemed untruthful to me (that is, the amount of government money that the Met received) but as I thought about it the statement probably was correct

      • Sharon says:

        Again, I said that there may be educational programs but they are not geared to the general non musically educated public. These are the people that politicians (and public policy) have to be concerned about

    • NotToneDeaf says:

      Oh please, most cities and states don’t even support their own local arts organizations any more. You’re living in the 1950’s.

  • DAVID says:

    Sadly, part of what he’s saying is absolutely correct. I am not condoning in any way, shape or form, what happened. But when the arts are at the mercy of those who have money and are not supported nor valued for their own sake, this is almost inevitable. The US way of funding the arts is profoundly flawed and will always be exposed to such dangers (and I doubt it will ever change). Perhaps the biggest issue is the utter lack of genuine stewardship. Becoming part of a board for a major arts organization in this country is not a question of knowledge, competence, not even genuine love for the arts. It is merely a question of money, power, and narcissism. Most board members understand absolutely nothing about music and are there merely to look good and feel good about the public visibility and prestige such memberships offer. They are nothing more for them than social accessories which they proudly display to their peers. These boards then put in place administrators and managements that abide by the only thing they deem worthy of respect: money and business efficiency. Musicians, for them, are nothing more than liabilities and expenses that must be toned down — no matter how much manufactured empathy and calculated talking points their PR messaging might skillfully profess.

  • Save the MET says:

    Gelb is an uneducated man in an educated man’s business. Every single executive, every musician, every chorus member and every singer has a university, or conservatory diploma. Gelb is a college drop-out, who was supported and foisted upon several operations by his father and then his boss, who by the way was Jimmy Levine’s manager. He was a videographer who Ronald Wilford assigned to hold Vladimir Horowitz’s drool rag at the end of his life. He was an abject failure at Sony and was let go with the merger. He has been an abject failure at the Metropolitan Opera and has put them in a terribly precarious position spending money like a drunken sailor on short lived productions, most panned in the press and costing the company more money, much more quickly than the Moshinsky, Schenk, Hall and Zeffirelli productions which lasted for years and brought the public to the house. Gelb never did focus groups among supporters and season ticket holders to see what they wanted and many stopped giving, lowered their gift levels and cancelled subscriptions. He made horrible administrative hiring decisions, ruined the gift shop, added a meaningless art gallery, spent massive money on stupid expenditures like fonts, wasted advertising budgets on high end photographers for truly ugly seasonal posters and can’t fund raise to save his life. Others have to do it around him. No one appreciates a wet dead fish handshake. I still maintain he has something on senior members of the Board of Directors, as any rational board would have shown him the door after his second season. After his pandemic fiasco, keeping administration on at full pay while letting the more important orchestra and chorus languish shows how bad he really is at his job. Hiring a diversity officer at a big salary while he is holding talent at bay shows utter stupidity. A totally wasted job. Lots of women work there, lots of minority talent and lots of LGBTQ working there already and well before him. He complains he is misunderstood. That’s a laugh, he is utterly incompetent.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      You must work at the Met. Your sentiments are exactly those of the majority of (non ex-Sony) Met employees. The atmosphere is toxic.

    • Fliszt says:

      Hey dude – you got an ax to grind?

      • Save the MET says:

        No, incompetency should be clearly stated especially when it is the truth. Under Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera has suffered. He was a poor choice from day 1 and if Beverly had done her due diligence, he never would have been hired. The company is now on a very precarious trajectory due to Mr. Gelb.

    • NotToneDeaf says:

      You seem to know an awful lot about the workings of the Met? Perhaps an ax to grind over a situation there that didn’t work out for you? And let me understand your argument: Gelb is unqualified because of his lack of college degree. I’m sure you have thoughts on what degree he should have and from what school. And “lots of” women, minorities (you’re certainly dating yourself with that word), and LGBTQ people are all you need to assure present and future diversity. Welcome to the last century, ladies and gentlemen!

      • Edgar says:

        You don’t have the talent to sing on that stage or play in the pit NotToneDeaf. You’re not even employed so just stuff it!

    • James Weiss says:

      Peter Gelb was recommended to the Met board by Beverly Sills. Fact.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        At the same time another person’s contract was already being drafted. More evidence of the power of the NYT.

    • Kate says:

      Calling Mr. Gelb an “abject failure” at the Met is harsh. Let’s at least give credit where credit is due. The Met Live in HD was truly a wonderful innovation, copied by many other major opera houses. For me personally, living in Denver with not much disposable income, it brought world-class opera to me and fostered my appreciation—now adoration—of the art form. I’m sure there are countless others who can’t afford to fly to NYC + stay in a decent hotel + pay for reasonably good seats at the Met, and who love the accessibility and affordability of the simulcasts.

      • Save the MET says:

        Kate, he could have been contracted to perform the only activity in which he had experience and sent away once the contract was fulfilled. Hiring him to run a large business which he had not done before. (Sony Classic was a skeleton crew, he handled Horowitz’s affairs and taped CAMI artists before then.) in an area which he had no experience other than as an usher in his youth was a rotten idea and the Metropolitan Opera has paid dearly. As someone correctly pointed out, his management style is abysmal, which has led to job dissatisfaction from many within the house. His chosen productions are junk which have to be replaced as they do not have legs. His judgement is poor, the over ten million in cost overruns of the Lepage Ring Cycle is a key example. He can’t fund raise, as he is not an affable person, he’s not good at all in that aspect. I have listed many other problems which have occurred under his hapless stewardship. He truly is incompetent.

  • Tom Hase says:

    The claim that “[u]nlike European opera houses, we get no public support.” has always been a lie and will always be a lie, no matter how often it keeps getting repeated. Nobody would donate any money to the MET if these donations were not tax deductible. So in the end the tax payer in the US pays an enormous part of the MET budget just as the European tax payers pay for the upkeep of their respective theatres. The main difference is that in Europe the CEOs of theatres have a certain responsibility towards the public (and can at least in theory be fired by publicly elected politicians), whereas in the US theatres spend public money without any public oversight.

    • Sharon says:

      That is a good point. The tax deductible donation of the middle to upper middle class to institutions that serve oneself or one’s family, such as arts institutions, most private schools, and churches should NOT, in my opinion, be considered charity but DO provide a huge government subsidy to these institutions.

      Incidentally I have read that only 10% of tax deductible donations are truly charity, that is, go to organizations whose mission is to help low income people.

      However, because the tax deductible money is from voluntary donations and is not guaranteed non profit management does not see it that way

    • A Pianist says:

      Wait, when an American takes a tax deduction they are effectively taking money out of the pocket of other taxpayers? Is that your view of how our government is financed? I think that is a preposterous view. You had a reasonable argument right before that, which is that tax deductions can be viewed as an effective way the government is supporting the arts.

  • P Gerhard says:

    So there was no money to pay the Met employees, but there was (a lot of) money to organize so many “stars” concerts – for the online concerts, all “stars” (some from the list will never in a million years be stars) were paid fees, all accompanying artists (none of them from the Met) were paid fees, there are also huge production costs to film and record everything and so on… seems Gelb is not only ruining his own reputation, he also has ruined the Met. And he started to ruin it way before the pandemic started, but the pandemic was the top of the iceberg! Disgraceful!

  • Alviano says:

    Herr Doktor speaks good sense.
    What I find tiresome though is Gelb’s whining that he doesn’t get a subsidy from government. I am sure every Intendant in Germany envies Gelb his check-writing billionaires.

  • William says:

    It’s amazing how many people think you can get a world class musician in Manhattan for $100,000/year. The schedule at the Met is insane and $200,000 for that talent is a bargain. Only in America would you think a finance person is worth twice as much as one of the best musicians in the world.

    • Barry says:

      It’s not a question of a bargain. It’s not a question of what people deserve or how good they are at their job at this point. What would are people living in where they think things can go on as they were in years past? Not only have we had a major pandemic that has left halls empty for the past year, but many of you just will not wake up to the fact that classical music and opera are a lot less popular than they were years ago and that’s unlikely to change. And that’s the crux of the industry problem. The were probably more big donors in the past because more wealthy people cared a lot about classical music and opera. Less people care and are willing to fork out money for classical music than in the past and as long as that’s the case, you can all moan all you like, but you can’t make money materialize out of thin air.

      • David says:

        “many of you just will not wake up to the fact that classical music and opera are a lot less popular than they were years ago and that’s unlikely to change”

        Yes and no. “Old-style” classical music – a world of music by, for, and about white, straight men – will continue to decline…just as that demographic is declining in America. But that is the “world” of classical music, the “world” of opera, and not the music itself.

        Where is the music by composers who are women?…who are black, Latin, Asian?…who are part of the LGBTQ community in this country…who are anything else but white, male, and straight? Those people are here, they’re alive, and when given a chance, they love classical and even opera.

        If you care about changing the audience, to follow its demographic shifts and include the majority of this nation – those who are not male, and those who are not white, and those who are not “straight” – then you will have an audience, because women also like quality music, as do people from all these different groups who make up this country’s citizenship.

        If you don’t try to widen classical music’s and opera’s appeal, you won’t do so.

        If you don’t try to bring classical music and operatic music to all listeners in our country, their ears won’t be listening to classical and operatic music.

        If you don’t consciously make room to welcome in women and POC and LGBTQ individuals, and others, they won’t feel welcome, so they too won’t be listening to classical music and operatic music, all they will see is a world closed to them, and closed to most of this country.

        And as wonderful as listeners may think Madama Butterfly is for the 4,000th performance, where is the newest opera from our living female composers?…from our black, Latin, Asian, and LGBTQ composers? Where are operatic stories that speak to the young of today? Where are operatic stories that speak to those not in the 1%?

        No new stories, no new commissions, no outreach to various communities to create works and share them with NEW audiences?

        Of course, then, classical music and opera will die…because all the MET’s administration has done for 40 years is clearly display who is NOT welcome within their hallowed halls.

        As far as making “money materialize out of thin air” how about sharing the opera experience with successful women CEOs?…with successful (and rich!) black CEOs?…with 5,000 new teenagers, each of whom would – under the right circumstances – be willing to spend $15 to see a show that is meaningful to them?…etc.

        It may be true that you can’t get blood from a turnip, but you can sure get it from OTHER human beings…you know…the ones the MET and other companies never tried to welcome into the family of music lovers in the first place.

        If the status quo is maintained, then all those who could enjoy classical music and opera will lose out, so many creatives will lose out, and the MET’s box office will miss out.

  • Gregory says:

    First off I would like to say ‘Thank You , Peter,’ for opening up the Met’s video archives during these trying times. I’m sure many others would also say what a comfort, joy, and real thrill it has been seeing the greatest operas performed by the best singers, conductors, instrumentalists, directors, designers, costumers, skills ensembles, and technical crew on earth. It seems the creative community has all benefited from your vision. As a person who trained as a classical singer my personal take is enough of grand entertainments, opera was created for singers to express their art. If one looks at the sweeping arc of the history of opera, we see it went from singers (that self-indulgent bunch of preeners) to conductors, then to the directors (Regie, anyone?) and now seems to be celebrating various skill ensembles. Having been fortunate to attend live performances there maybe half a dozen times I have always been in awe of the immensity of the house. Even with perfect acoustics it must be challenging to consistently make the big sound needed to carry over the orchestra and up to the gallery. With all the renovation going on next door at the Geffen, perhaps now is also the time to think about downsizing the house to favor the human voice. I keep a list called ‘opera houses by size’ and whenever I watch something on Operavision, I consult my list. Without a doubt the smaller European houses allow for more intimate vocalization that can better convey emotions. But I digress. The Met’s mass appeal entertainments sometimes leave me boggled but entertained. I long for the primacy of singers whose art can transcend the quotidian cares, lifting me to heaven through the sheer mastery of their vocal cords. I have a feeling as I watch each nightly treat that I’m viewing the end of the art form. It seems neither sustainable nor of the current zeitgeist. Watching the shows from earlier times how well I remember the thrill of curtain calls after each act. That’s another topic that’s worth writing about, but I have the feeling that this diatribe is already too long. In short I wanted to put out a word of gratitude with hope for the best in the future.

    • Kathleen King says:

      Gelb is not a musician. Gelb did not create what you so admire, he is a slacker and destroyed the MET trying to be “different” and surpass the real genius, Maestro Levine. Yes, it has been a lifesafer to see those archives — but they sure weren’t created by GELB.

  • Jack says:

    The elephant in the room is that Jacqueline Desmarais died three years ago and Gelb has been unable to find other patrons with deep pockets willing to shell out millions to keep the Met going.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Mrs. Desmarais was indeed generous to the Met during her lifetime, but she was hardly the only one. There remain others.

    • Save the MET says:

      He’s horrible at fund raising. He’s reminiscent of an undertaker and gives a cold wet fish handshake. Peter ain’t no Max Bialystok.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The man is absolutely right – I don’t understand him.

  • iamamalted says:

    It seems to me that people are missing the reason that the Met employees feel so abused. To repeat, it is because the Met, unlike other performing arts institutions, is using the pandemic as a means to try to reduce contracted wages POST-PANDEMIC. I hope that is clear. Everyone in major orchestras has taken cuts in this time period, but they are not to be permanent. Is that understood? I hope so.

    • JoshW says:

      Permanent? You mean there will never be another contract negotiation after this one??

    • pastore says:

      I am guessing that wages for classical musicians will never be as high as they were pre-pandemic.

    • IntBaritone says:

      Honestly though, why shouldn’t they? Their business model hasn’t been feasible for years and something needs to give. Do we think that paying the orchestra and chorus less (not nothing, mind you, just less and still ahead of almost every other institution) will lead to fewer people coming to the opera or fewer donations? I don’t. And in that case, why shouldn’t they use this time to make that happen? It’s not a nice thing to think about – but isn’t the idea of the MET closing worse?

      Or are you saying you can donate enough to make it all better……..

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Peter Gelb, Meghan Markle, Yannick. Boo-hoo. Get over yourselves and get a life. It’s about as interesting as watching paint dry.

  • pastore says:

    While everyone is an a hate Peter binge, do not forget that the board is the boss and bears major responsibility for the situation in which the Met now finds itself.

  • David says:

    Gelb speaks of problems, not of solutions. He knew the challenges of the job when he took it. Major U.S. arts institutions have always had to rely on private donations, the MET foremost among them. There’s nothing new here. Compare and contrast how Carnegie Hall and its leadership have risen to the occasion and handled the crisis.

    Poor leaders blame. Good leaders lead. Gelb was the worst choice at the worst possible time.

    • Stephen Owades says:

      I love Carnegie Hall, and have performed there often, but Carnegie does not have the fixed expenses of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, or other artistic organizations. They don’t have a salaried orchestra or chorus, and their stagehands—though amply paid—are a much smaller crew than the Met’s. It’s easy for Carnegie to go into relative hibernation without incurring the fuss that the Met or major orchestras do when they have to lay off their musicians.

  • Kathleen King says:

    Gelb, IT IS YOU! You are a jealous, vindictive egotist and vicious to boot. YOU and your grandiose ideas have pretty well destroyed the MET and it is NOT the result of a lack of federal funding. YOU and you alone have failed to raise funds, invest them, utilize them and support the people who ARE the MET. Now that Jimmy Levine is dead, surely you can let go of all the jealousy-ridden histrionics and just leave. GELB MUST GO.

  • David says:

    Has Mr. Gelb tried increasing the size of the future MET audience by addressing ways of bringing in revenue from millions more people across the country…and across the globe?

    How about a MET subscription just for teenagers to watch MET broadcasts on cable or through their Roku boxes…say…$5 a month? Tiny fee…but what if you could get 100,000 new subscribers interested in growing up with opera?…or a family plan, just $10 as pay on demand, for the entire family?…how many voice teachers are there in the U.S.?….well, the National Association of Teachers of Singing has nearly 10,000 members…has the MET ever tried to work a deal with NATS to give access to the MET to every single member for a minimal yearly or monthly fee made as part of membership?…and how many voice students take lessons from those 10,000 voice teachers?…has he tried to reach them with a voice student deal to hear their operatic heros on their student budget schedule, not his?

    If he’s tried, okay….but I really doubt his thinking has included many people beyond multimillionaires and, while I appreciate their philanthropy, everybody in the nation could be seen as a potential “customer” if the price was right.

  • Met Employee says:

    Without checks & balances there’s no future. You can’t be both.

  • DH says:

    “We have no other choice?” Fortunately there was no other musical organization in America that agreed with this Met policy. The Met Orchestra would have been very agreeable to an arrangement similar to that offered to the NYPhil, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, etc. Their salaries are comparable to those received by Met Orchestra musicians, not the inflated amounts that are used for orchestra, chorus or stagehands in the press.

    The NYC Opera went bankrupt because of lack of stewardship by the Board and their fiduciary irresponsibility and negligence. The Met Opera Board has been guilty of this same irresponsibility since the beginning of Mr. Gelb’s tenure, and is now allowing the threat to the preservation of the institution by risking the loss of its talent.

    • pastore says:

      If the Met had paid the orchestra they would have also had to pay the chorus, stagehands, production staff, wigs and wardrobe personnel who are just as important to a performance as the orchestra. Symphonies only have the musicians and perhaps a relatively small number of stagehands.

  • Herbie G says:

    ‘Nobody understands me…’
    Gelb’s mother might well qualify as the proud mother boasting about her son: ‘He is even cleverer than Einstein; only six people in the world understood Einstein but nobody understands my Peter.’

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Sounds like the Trump victimhood defense! Poor Peter! He needs to be fired. PERIOD

  • Can anyone explain why the Metropolitan Museum, which has a similar budget of $300M/annum and receives the same amount of public funding, manages to have an endowment of more than 10 times the operating budget? i.e. the Met Museum’s endowment is more or less $3.9B