Peter Gelb Announces Cut Backs at Met Opera
General Manager Only One Surprised by Ticket Sales
By: Susan Hall - Dec 28, 2022
What Peter Gelb is not saying when he announces that the Met borrowed 30 million from its endowment and will cut back 10 percent in performances next year.
1. Most contemporary operas are chamber operas unsuited to a 3800 seat house. Nico Muhly’s Two Boys is a case in point. A wonderful opera that was mounted in a house far too large for its subject. Fire Shut up in my Bones and The Hours are also intimate works. Gelb does not understand intimacy.
2. New productions have fewer performances during their runs and therefore attract larger audiences.
3. Philip Glass has always done well at the Opera House. Akhnaten is a smash hit.
4. There are no divas or divos who are must-sees.
5. No Met production works vertically – that is, there are always flaws. This is not necessary. The Bavarian State Opera works well top to bottom. They know what they are doing.
6. The Met Opera house is too large. In Europe, the largest opera houses seat 2200 (the revised seating number at David Geffen Hall). Met is 3,800.
7. The Met Opera is not courageous. Ivo van Hove premieres with Don Giovanni in May 2023. He has been a must-see for many theater goers for over a decade. Do they have to see his Don Giovanni? A question to be sure.
8. Where is all the money Gelb said would be gleaned from the HDs? That's difficult to assess in the unredacted portions of the Met Opera’s tax returns.