The Met loses its talent coach in leadership wobble

The Met loses its talent coach in leadership wobble


norman lebrecht

August 20, 2021

The Met’s Assistant General Manager, Artistic, Diane Zola (pictured right), has resigned.

Peter Gelb has told staff she was leaving to pursue ‘other artistic opportunities’ – a phrase usually reserved for a massive fallout.

Zola’s main task was as Executive Director of the Lindemann Young Artists Program which nurtures next-gen singers.

They will miss her. So will the Met, which has brought back her predecessor, Michael Heaston, from his post as head of artistic administraion. He starts immediately.

Gelb’s internal message was first leaked to

If there was a worse time to reshuffle the top team – a month before reopening and with no orchestra under contract – we’re struggling to think of it.


  • Yes Addison says:

    There has been controversy swirling around Zola since this past spring for her alleged “body-shaming” of young singers, including comments to the Met’s social media accounts calling for her dismissal.

    Whether this is good or bad for the Met in the long term, and I’m not close enough to the situation to have an informed opinion, I was not surprised by the development.

  • drummerman says:

    Diane is a wonderful professional who also worked with Houston Grand Opera for a number of years before the Met. Previously, she was an artist manager in NY City. A great person!

    • CRogers says:

      In what context did you know her? Some people wok compartments an deceive or minimise their behaviour. So it’s a relevant question.

    • egad says:

      That was a stupid article the day it was published and it still is.

      Young singers feel entitled to have careers in what is a shrinking industry and don’t want to take responsibility for how they present themselves in what is a competitive entertainment field.

    • Roxie says:

      I’m hoping this means I can stop boycotting the Met. I need the tea first – and I wonder how working conditions will improve with the new leadership. Larger singers need JOBS, hello, hire based on talent and you’ll have less vocal fatigue and ruined careers with singers actually built for Wagner – the larger ones. Everybody wins. The Met will attract an entirely new audience who want to support their fat brethren.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Main task was the young artists program? Didn’t Ms. Zola assume the late Robert Rattray’s position of Assistant Manager, Artistic (former Sally Billinghurst’s)? That job was second only to PG – in charge of planning, scheduling, and casting.

    • Helden Sopran says:

      You are absolutely correct!
      The Lindemann was just one of her 3 main jobs, others as you describe!
      The confusion perhaps arises because for last year (only) she took on the Lindemann job directly without the Executive Director in between, formerly the wonderful Sophie Joyce!!!!
      In this new configuration, the Executive Director of the Lindemann is restored, and is Melissa Wegner, reporting to the great Michael Heaston.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      Tiredofitall is absolutely correct. Zola’s knowledge of singers and opera made Mr Gelb look like the slick, preening, vacuous upstart he so obviously is.
      Unfortunately the wrong administrator was shown the door.

    • Knowing Clam says:

      Yes — she did that position AND ran the Lindemann program.

      There is nobody who cares about young singers more. The Met is truly at a loss now.

  • Kenny says:

    Worked there 40 years until 2017, never heard of her. She must have been essential somehow or other.

  • caranome says:

    Making one offended is the greatest crime in Western society today! She’s just doing her job in saying to the young pros: today’s music world only hires the pretty and fit. If you are, ahem, a plus-plus size, your chances of pro advancement are very much lowered. So go easy on the second helpings. But she can’t say that. She now has to pretend that truth doesn’t exist. You feel good now, but wonder why you are never hired.

  • Trudy says:

    Diane Zola is a fantastic person with a huge heart. She has helped hundreds and hundreds of singers. Period.

  • Kathleen E King says:

    GELB MUST GO! He is a disaster. He would rather destroy the MET than nurture it in any form not totally his own — and he is a lousy administrator. Union SCAB.

  • Roxie says:

    LOL GOOD RIDDANCE YOU BODY SHAMING GATEKEEPER, go slap the food out of your own hand. Singers need support and encouragement—- AND JOBS—— no matter what their size.

  • Mac says:

    This “article” is extremely out-of-touch… The MET doesn’t need anymore PR issues and Diane Zola is a PR nightmare, when will opera companies learn? When they are completely insolvent due to their lack of interest in change… Best of luck to the new director!

  • METLife says:

    Rats fleeing the sinking ship…