Famous sayings of General Manager Peter Gelb

Famous sayings of General Manager Peter Gelb


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2022

A line caught our eye in an AP report on Sondra Radvanovsky:  Early in Gelb’s tenure, he told her agent she was “not on my radar.” Sondra is about to open his new season.

Here are some more famous sayings of the Met chief: When I arrived at the Met, Netrebko was just getting launched and I immediately saw that she was someone on whose career the Met could hang its hat, and vice versa.

My father, Arthur Gelb, was fond of saying, ‘Criticism from all sides is usually an indication that you’re doing something right.’”

James Levine: There’s no such thing for an artist as perfect.
Peter Gelb: Right. You should go into a different field if you want that.
Placido Domingo:  I always say this. (source: here.

Feel free to add more.


  • George Smith says:

    Talk about scum of the earth.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I would, if I had the slightest idea of what you were talking about.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Peter was not very knowledgeable when he assumed the position (I guess that could be taken both ways, especially his relationship with the board of directors) and put all of his eggs in one basket.

    With a void particularly in the Verdi soprano category, he HAD to invite Sondra back. To be fair, to my ear, she still had many vocal inconsistencies to surmount a dozen years ago, despite her growing repertoire and bookings worldwide. Surmount she did, including her intonation and a grating and uneven vibrato. She developed into an artist to be reckoned with, despite not being on “my radar”.

    Just like that, Sondra became a go-to singer for Gelb, especially with Netrebko pulling out of two of the three Donizetti Queens, among other roles. Sondra was deservedly triumphant in these and many other appearances.

    I hope the honor of an opening night in a new production (of a Met rarity) for Sondra marks her triumph over Peter. It must feel great…

    I hope the same will happen for Lisette Oropesa. Americans and artists of the first order both.

    P.S. Note for the Met’s marketing and press departments–Enough with the meaningless adjectives. Write for the audience, not for yourselves. More words do not make the Met’s messaging any more effective. People just tune out. There are classes…

    • Emil says:

      Indeed – but Radvanovsky herself said that when she first met Gelb she auditioned with Rosalinde from Die Fledermaus. Many would be forgiven for not spotting a future great Puccini-Donizetti-Verdi soprano in an operette role (and Radvanovsky herself in the article says ‘I wouldn’t have hired myself’ based on that Rosalinde role).

      Gelb’s been at the MET for over 25 years. Obviously he’ll have missed some great singers and made some errors in scouting. In the case of Radvanovsky, once her voice matured, he was smart enough to have her back and give her starring operas – and she most certainly deserves them.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Fair enough, he has a right to change his mind as time goes by.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    “My father, Arthur Gelb, was fond of saying, ‘Criticism from all sides is usually an indication that you’re doing something right.””

    Trump would agree. Almost a textbook trait of a true narcissist.

  • Gustavo says:

    God’s creation is perfect.

    With one exception.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Peter wouldn’t know a great singer if one were to bite him. He’s not a musician, period.

  • Chicagorat says:

    Let’s look at the bright side: at least he’s not trying to look smart by quoting recycled sayings in Latin.

  • Save the MET says:

    Netrebko was an international star by the time Gelb came along and had sung many times at the MET. Gelb is a lying mess.

  • Has-been says:

    Forgive me for being contrary and going against the conventional negativity on this site about Peter Gelb.His implementation of the HD broadcasts have been an international success. I would suggest his artists roster is as good as any opera house in the world. Peter kept the haus open during the difficult covid year or 20/21. He has expanded the repertoire with commissions of several American composers. Anyone can be a second guesser or backseat driver but the Met seasons are as strong as any haus in the world of a similar level. Find fault if you must but also give credit where credit is due !

  • Robin Worth says:

    I’m not competent to express any judgement on Peter Gelb’s stewardship, but am bewildered, as a foreign observer, by the vitriol thrown in some of the comments I read.

    Why is this?

    Not one of the shows I have seen in NY since he took over has left me feeling short-changed, unlike the ROH and some of the European houses.