Cher Public

Bass cleft

Mercedes and Sid Bass, the A-list society and philanthropy couple who in 2006 gave the Met $25 million dollars—the largest single unrestricted gift paid at one time from an individual in the company’s then 123-year history—announced their divorce yesterday, ending 23 years of marriage.

Readers of New York Social Diary (as who among is not?) saw this one coming. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Mr. Bass and Mrs. Bass say they “continue to love each other and remain good friends,” though at this writing it is not clear who will get custody of Yo-Yo Ma.

  • phoenix

  • manou

    Genius heading.

    (and isn’t it interesting that cleave has two separate and contradictory meanings?)

  • operaassport


  • tannengrin

    rumor has it that Peter Gelb is inconsolable.

  • CruzSF

    Someone quoted him as saying he doesn’t want to have to put on a black tie and attend another opera performance ever again.

    How very, very sad.

    • scifisci

      It’s not like he attended *that* many with her anyways, at least not in the past few years. She seems to actually really love classical music and opera--I doubt anyone would go to so many opera performances and concerts at Carnegie Hall if she didn’t. (I’m of course only basing this assessment on the regularity with which I would look up (or down) and see her in a box) Hope she gets a good settlement so she still has the means to support the arts!

      • Feldmarschallin

        the former Mrs. Bass got close to half a billion dollars most of it in Disney stock. That was over 20 years ago. If this current Mrs. Bass gets close to that or more after 23 years of marriage I doubt Mr. Gelb will have to lose sleep over future donations. I mean I shudder to think alone the interest that half a billion gives you per year without even touching the capital. Surely she has jewels galore already and will probably get the house or two in the settlement as well. I don’t think anyone has to feel sorry that she will not have enough even for donations.

  • LogeLizard

    Next up: Mercedes Bass and Alan Cumming, Separated at Birth.

  • Gualtier M

    Okay big question for the Met -- obviously it was the missus who was the opera fan. So the billions were controlled by hubby but the missus was the cultural patron. Once Mercedes is reduced to just a couple hundred million will she be so generous to the Met? That is what is going through Peter Gelb’s mind and that of the board. Clearly, Mercedes will remain on the board and will have to make donations if she wants to stay there. But will the size of the donations go down drastically once she is on an allowance so to speak?

    • manou

      A filetted bass will have no bones to pick.

    • brooklynpunk


      …oh, no…!!-- will that mean another name change for the Grand Tier?!

    • Uninvolved Bystander

      Not if she gets anywhere near the settlement Anne Bass got when Mercedes walked off with Sid. (I guess he doesn’t like either ballet OR opera.)

  • mrmyster

    The Bass Bros/Richardson clan in Texas is a rather lurid bunch, and I can understand Mercedes’ wish to escape. Remember when the B. Bros. and
    Uncle Sid attempted to corner the silver market and drive up prices to
    historic highs? It caused huge disruption of Wall Street markets and had
    world-wide impact; then it failed. However, the oil fortune underpinning
    the Bass/R activity remained intact, and today the family’s combined
    worth is est. at $5-billion. I’ll betcha Mercedes walks off what with she
    needs, and that includes keeping Mr Gelb very happy. Good for her!!!

    • CruzSF

      Did you read the linked article? It is Mr. Bass that is trying to escape. Didn’t Eleanor teach you to read?

    • operaassport

      Not only can’t “mrmyster” read but he can’t get his facts straight either. It was the Hunt Brothers of Texas who tried to corner the silver market, not the Bass. When attempting a polemic, try to get the names right.

      • mrmyster

        Mr Mr, having just done some more reading to confirm his understanding, respectfully suggests to Cruz and operass that they spend a bit more
        time on Google, where there is considerable confirmation of the Bass
        silver play in the 1978/1980 range and the disasters that ensued.
        My respects gentlemen, but this time I am right.
        Oh, and really now I was not attempting polemic; just making a
        comment that I thought might be of interest.
        Anyway, it was a lot of fun not being on Parterre tonight as I watched
        on Public Television the LA Phil opening, with Sr. Florez serving up large
        helpings of tenor coloratura and top register -- my goodness! That lad
        has one glorious technique! It seems to me he is just now very much
        in his prime. Who needs fish when we have flowers?

        • CruzSF

          I didn’t question your facts about Bass and silver. I questioned your assertion that Mrs Bass wanted to escape the marriage more than Mr Bass. Can’t you even keep your detractors straight?

        • operaassport

          mrmyster: Are you stupid or just a nutbag? The Bass Brothers had nothing to do with cornering the silver market. Zero. Nada. Nothing. This is from the Encylopedia Brittanica:

          “Starting in the early 1970s, the Hunt Brothers began accumulating large amounts of silver in an attempt to corner the silver market … They had nearly done so by 1979 when they controlled most of the international market … In the last nine months of 1979, the Hunt Brothers profited by an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in silver speculation.”

          There is absolutely no mention of any Bass Brother involvement. Period. And there is no mention of it in their encylopedia entry because it didn’t happen. They were far too busy at that time trying to gain control of the Disney Corporation.

          Care to try again?

          • Nerva Nelli

            “mrmyster: Are you stupid or just a nutbag?”

            A third possibility is that Miss Steber’s august memory had been toasted with seven or eight robust Chelsea Sidecars…

          • operaassport

            Nerva: that’s at least a more enjoyable solution!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    At first glance I thought Yo Yo was that kid-conductor-wannabe Martha Stewart schlepped around to openings, seating him with prominent people. May both of the Basses be happy in this new chapter of their lives.

    • tannengrin

      Isn’t that her nephew? He’s a singer and certified/registered Barihunk.

    • Alto

      Speak of not getting the facts for your snide attacks right.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        My facts were correct: “Opening night at the Metropolitan Opera
        Last Monday evening, I [Martha Stewart] had the great pleasure of attending the opening of the 2008-’09 season of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York City, a gala celebrating the opera’s 125th anniversary. My invitation to this event came from Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. Initially, I wanted to take my nephew, Christopher Herbert. However, Chris is currently in Europe, auditioning and performing in competitions, furthering his own operatic career. Instead, I invited Chris’s good friend Timothy Long, who is a fine classical pianist, as well as an operatic conductor….

        When Martha Stewart does it, she does it right. The original domestic diva stepped out to the opening of the Metropolitan Opera’s Anna Bolena, escorted by a very attractive younger gentleman and dripping in silk and sequins. At first, I was thrilled and hoped that Martha was finally getting her groove back.

        Alas, the hunky young thing was merely Martha’s gay nephew, Chris Herbert. But hey, who better to bring as your opera date?
        The Yale grad and singer [Herbert] tied the knot in 2010 to his partner Timothy Long at Martha’s behemoth Bedford, New York estate. Obviously it’s no surprise that Martha is a friend of the gays (I mean, come on), but it’s always nice to see one of the most famous people in the world showing support. That said, I need her to get a boyfriend immediately. Who is secure enough in their manhood to date a woman whose biggest passions in life are linens and hors d’oeuvres?

        • Alto

          You seem veryconfused in your statement above, since at one point it says it was Long and at another it was Herbert. But I’m NOT confused about whom she arrived with. I know Chris Herbert, and it was he on her arm without any doubt.

          And even if it had been Long, your original offensive denomination of him as a “wannabe” is inexcusable. Where do you get your attitude of superiority?

          And now I see that a quick, simple Google search gives abundant photographic evidence of her escort. Here’s one example:

          And another simple search showed that your claim that Martha took his husband is from 2008!

          As was originally said, but arrogantly rebutted by you: you need to get your facts straight. You have made a habit of these kinds of attacks based on fiction in another context. This time I’m calling you on it.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

            Of course it was 2008-09. That’s what I was talking about. This is nonesense! I was not talking about this season. I don’t know either of Martha Stewart’s dates. I simply thought that the photo of Yo Yo Ma with the Basses looked like the fellow Stewart took to the opera and afterparty a few seasons ago. Back then, in the press the fellow was spoken of as an “I want to be a conductor” obviously he has made progress in that direction.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

          • oedipe


            I am sure Yo Yo Ma would not be unhappy to learn that you mistook him for an up-and-coming young thing!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    So now will she be Mercedes Tavacoli again?
    I wonder how to get me one of them thar handsome scions, or a sugar mommy.

  • ianw2

    One day, Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming will join forces and bring about the downfall of America. Mark my words. Their power shall be unrivaled.

  • mrmyster

    Ooops, there is an error -- the LA Phil concert with Florez was
    2010; this season is was Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock.
    Glad I caught the 2010 one!
    Sorry about that, Mes Amis.

  • IMD95

    Just because Sid Bass is wealthy, it doesn’t give anyone the right to pull him apart. The wife seeks the limelight with s tier nsmrd for her, but he never did. He happens to be a nice guy. And whether you know it or not, Disney as we know it today simply would not exist without the efforts of the late Richard Rainwater and Sid’s financial backing. Shame on all of you gossipers.