The Met achieves a publicist’s dream

The Met achieves a publicist’s dream


norman lebrecht

September 27, 2021

A slot on Good Morning America.

Now when did that happen last?



  • Hilly says:

    No! A true “publicists dream” is having the New York Times smash hit ,critical review ,totally written ,days before the curtain goes up!

  • V. Lind says:

    Well, it is a news story — it is a first. That, in the arts, constitutes news.

    Quite a lot revealed — this presenter, whoever she is, admitting that it will be her first time at opera. A couple of decades ago, presenters on big programmes would have had to be a little more well rounded.

    The composer got his message in — the old man who said, if this is opera, I’m in, or whatever it was. From what I heard, it is structured musical theatre, but of course I have not heard it so can’t be sure. The featured singer appeared to have solid vocal chops.

    I daresay Blanchard is right — he should not have been the first. He made it clear, and of course he is right, that he should not be the last.

    Must say, it looks, from this brief intro, like not a bad night out. And may be even more. Hope SD follows up.

  • Concerned opera buff says:

    Wish they could have the opera for view on line. I would pay to see it online. Maybe the Met could hook up with one of the streaming channels.

    • BRUCEB says:

      They are planning to, apparently, on their own channel. Met HD Online or something.

      Opening night, and especially something that attracts this much attention, is often featured later on PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center” or “Great Performances,” so you might want to keep an eye out.

  • Jeff Blum says:

    So RACIST to not have even one Hispanic, Native American, white, oriental, Indian or Jewish singer!!!

    • Brian says:

      Um, we stopped referring to Asians as “oriental” sometime in the 1980s. I guess this is to be expected in the Slipped Disc comments anymore.

  • K. Hagen says:

    It’s both odd and overtly narcissistic for the piece to have absolutely no other characters outside of a single race.

    The work clearly illustrates Mr. Blow’s sheltered mind when considering the variety of people in the world he has long been exposed to as well as the area the piece takes place in. Thank God he found employment at the mostly white controlled NYT to broaden his outlook and give him a hefty income.

    It’s also very sad to think so many black people like this still focus solely on themselves without realizing the expansive world and cultures waiting to welcome them if they’d only try. Blacks in the states are a sheltered lot culturally, keeping them isolated by their own hand. Their tv and movies always seem to portray them in the same downtrodden, unappealing manner putting themselves in dire straits like mental misfits.

  • Norman, you know it is not really that unheard of…..

    • Tiredofitall says:

      You don’t live in the US, clearly. Not even in New York, dear…

      • BRUCEB says:

        She’s got a point. Those shows used to feature opera and classical music superstars or “super events” on a regular basis, back when people thought classical music was of any importance. Perlman and Pavarotti were fairly inescapable in the 1980s.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          Since a generation is generally defined as 20-25 years, it remains in the previous generation, despite how long it lives on in one’s memory.

  • Mecky Messer says:

    Wait, people still watch TV? What’s next, free horserides and carriage parking in the Met?

    You are living in the wrong century…

  • Paul Sekhri says:

    When did the Met last have such a ground-breaking and powerful opening night?

  • caranome says:

    All you need to know: “First Black…whatever” gets you on headlines anywhere in the West which kowtows to “Black is great, Black is good” syndrome.

  • Jae Serling says:

    Why do American blacks always default to presenting themselves as slovenly?

    It would be infinitely better use of an opera to portray struggle and circumstance then illustrate the positive nature of the races around them. It looks so gloomy, unkept and common. No one seems to “grow up” in the black community and want to show achievements. Speaking properly and dressing better help. Unfortunately other black people always make fun of bright, articulate, successful betters and still beat them up for acting “too white” in efforts to segregate themselves from Caucasians.

    There’s lots of inspiration to draw from but appealing to a lower class is the goal. It’s infuriating given the astonishing talents the Met has graced us with over the years!!! They are all apparently sell-outs to the GD. Having Kathy Battle back for instance would have been too ‘light’ and educated in bel canto. Nothing from her lately either. Pity.

    • BRUCEB says:

      A couple questions:

      • Why should this opera have to show the positive nature, or any kind of nature, of the races around these characters when the story being told has nothing to do with people of other races? Should they bring in white and/or wealthier characters who have nothing to do with the story, to give these characters something to aspire to? Perhaps you miss the fact that the protagonist goes to college and improves his life.

      • You can’t possibly be ignorant of the reasons why Kathleen Battle hasn’t sung at the Met since 1994. Also she is 73 now, so it’s not surprising to have heard nothing from her in awhile regardless.

      • An opera depicting the lower classes and their low-class struggles in a lower-class environment is a problem? What social classes/ level of struggle do you think are depicted in “Carmen” and “La Bohème” (the list goes on and on)?

      (Not even bothering to respond to your comments on “the black community”)

    • F. Davies says:

      Successful blacks don’t ‘sell’ as well to other blacks who want to continue the welfare gravy trains they proudly maintain surpassing numerous generations. They also DECIDE to continue to have multiple children by multiple men who run out on them giving them access to free food, money, healthcare, services, paid for by those who actually WORK.

      Sadly Obama, the first bi-racial president failed to shift the group thinking in the black community from proudly acting like trash to becoming responsible, working adults. Crimes perpetrated by blacks remains a vulgar display of their immaturity. The FBI and National Guard needs to go back to gang sweeps and getting all of their illegal guns off the streets. Now that these savages have been left to run about NYC, Chicago and San Francisco (all Democrat controlled) everyone decent has had to abandon these cesspools. It’s also predominantly blacks who are seen hurting the Jews and Asians besides themselves. Quite predictable for their ilk yet horrible for everyone else left to suffer.

      Indeed too bad about Battle after the Met allowed her to sing briefly…apart from others of course due to the savagery which got her sacked. She would have been too intimidating to the lesser talented, Broadway types anyway.

      No. Blacks who continue to live in a self-induced apartheid in the US simply choose to stay angry and either unemployable or faux-educated by white liberals who dump them after they use them like Biden has done. Legitimate Africans sold them into slavery while the Portuguese and Jews brokered them on yet they still don’t know history. Astonishingly enough, since many are actually not legitimately descendants of slaves, they use it as a life crutch to cover up for their blights on society.

      Using blacks who have morals, ethics, values and good jobs would have made for a significantly more enriching story. So many professionals and bright black people to put on a stage than trashy clowns. Too bad the Met is using blacks this way but a buck is a black buck with Gelb at the helm. It sure was with Jimmy Levine..

    • Kenny says:

      Like “The Cosby Show”??

      It’s “unkempt,” BTW.

  • BBass says:

    A new opera by a black composer premieres at the Met.
    When did that happen last?


  • fflambeau says:

    An unfair headline. It is not just a publicists’ dream; it is the first Afro-American opera written and presented by a black person ever staged at the Met.

    What is fascinating is, this did not happen originally at the Met and not in 2021. It came from St. Louis Opera in 2019. Cheers to them and to the Met for giving it an international audience.

  • V. Lind says:

    I read a LOT of reviews of this and on the whole they are pretty damned positive — musically, theatrically, and in praise for the MET for finally opening a door.

    I realise few of us have had any opportunity to assess this production ourselves, nor are likely to for a while yet. But I suggest those interested in the future of opera take a look at some of those reviews, because there is definitely some material there to make us think.

    It must have been pretty exciting to be there.

  • Allan Leicht says:

    First? Wasn’t Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha the first opera by a Black composer?