Cher Public

  • williams: …not to mention whether to use head or chest. 8:21 PM
  • Porgy Amor: I was just reading some classic (giggly) Caballé vocal pedagogy in a Telegraph piece from the ’90s. Excerpt: “When... 8:19 PM
  • -Ed.: and seeing a great regie production of an old favorite is like having your lover surprise you with a new sexual position. You know... 8:18 PM
  • -Ed.: Video snippet of Callas rehearsing Norma in 1964. New to me, looks professionally done. httpv:// com/watch?v=8X1lT5 Lb8-M 8:14 PM
  • mrsjohnclaggart: Armerjacquino, I’m with you! Caballe was notorious for applauding people after their arias. The worst was her... 8:05 PM
  • antikitschychick: I see. That makes sense. I draw the line at applauding at yourself/oneself. That I do find to be in poor taste; but... 7:45 PM
  • mrsjohnclaggart: Oh yes, dexter he was just like those old-fashioned opera singers who didn’t care who else was on stage as long as... 7:39 PM
  • armerjacquino: It’s seen as saying ‘weren’ ;t we great’? Applauding is the audience’s place to decide that. I... 7:36 PM

The Met: what’s really wrong?

The 2012-13 season at the Metropolitan Opera was a financial disaster, with the company taking in only 69% of potential total box office revenue—a troubling 13 percent decline from the previous season and the lowest box office percentage in over a decade. Thanks to discounting, the Met did manage to sell 79% of total seats but that, too, was another low.  

The official explanation, as proffered to the New York Times, cited three factors: the disruption caused by Superstorm Sandy, an ill-advised 10 percent price increase in a sputtering economy that undercut sales far more than forecast, and the ongoing problem of the Met’s aging subscriber base continuing to buy fewer tickets while younger opera goers still didn’t find their way to the Met.

However, the Met’s challenges are not meteorological, demographic, or cyclical; they are structural. The fiscal trajectory of the Met makes an economic crisis inevitable. Even after accounting for the cost of media efforts such as “Live in HD,” the cost of presenting a season at the opera house has increased at a rate twice that of inflation during the Gelb regime. During that same period, box office revenue was basically stagnant until it plunged last season.

No one expects income to cover expenses at an opera company, but the difference between income and expenses has more than doubled in the past decade, culminating in a staggering $161 million gap last season. The Met’s donors actually ponied up a remarkable $158 million towards filling this hole.

To put the Met’s annual fundraising obligation in perspective, here are two sobering facts. In a single season, the company requires more in donations towards annual operating expenses than the New York Philharmonic, BAM, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The New York City Ballet, and Lincoln Center Theater combined! Or, to put it another other way, the Met’s fundraising obligation of $161 million is more money than the National Endowment for the Arts disperses in a single year.

While that fact is certainly a painful reminder of the pathetic level of arts support in the US, it’s also an indication of just how massive the Met’s fundraising needs have become. Not surprisingly, the company finds itself backed into a very uncomfortable corner.

It can’t continue to count on this level of donations year after year, let alone on the increased level of donations current budget projections would suggest it requires. It has little financial flexibility to offer interesting repertoire or take risks with the directors it chooses. It can’t impose on those same tapped-out donors to raise much needed funds capital for renovations or a healthier endowment. And most critically it, gives the Met precious little room to maneuver in this year’s union negotiations.

In late February, the press reported that the Met was seeking significant cuts from its unions. Soon after, AGMA Executive Director Alan Gordon fired back with an ominous letter to music agents that suggested a lockout was inevitable. Furthermore, he claimed that Met’s problems were likely due to “[Gelb’s] failing business model and unregulated waste”. He then took issue with the Met’s contention that labor costs were too high by adding, “When Peter arrived at the Met, he inherited from Joe Volpe a balanced budget of $209 million. Last year, his productions had swollen the budget to $311 million, with a $2.8 million deficit, and a shrinking audience. “

There is much to unpack in those two statements—but let’s begin by correcting a glaring factual error. According to the Met’s own annual report the company outspent income and donations by $4.5 million during Volpe’s last year as general manager—far from a balanced budget. In fact, the company overspent during 4 of his last 5 seasons as General Manager and it was on his watch that the Met set in place the spending patterns that have so compromised the company today.

Next, there is extremely disingenuous implication that the $102 million growth in the Met’s budget over the first six years of the Gelb regime was due to new productions and waste. Conveniently, the Met provided the cost of new productions for last season in a recent regulatory filing—$21.8 million—or roughly $3.1 million per new production. This is a fairly consistent figure over the past few seasons. So, by going from the four new productions of Volpe’s final season to the seven last year, the Met increased annual expenses for this line item by roughly $9.3 million dollars.

Another source of increased expense was Live in HD Series, SiriusXM channel, and other media initiatives. Their cost was $33.9 million; However, the Met earned $34.5 million from its media programs, so this is in fact a wash. The argument has been made that the Live in HD series cannibalized box office revenue, but only anecdotal evidence suggests that is true. I would instead contend that the audience for the HD series is not people who chose to attend an HD instead of attending in person, it’s people who went to the HD as their way of going to the Met.

The HD audience consists of older opera patrons in the greater NY metro area who don’t venture into the city as frequently as they once did, opera fans around the world who might make it to the Met once every couple of years, and people who feel that spending 20 bucks to see an opera on a big screen is better than the equivalent experience in the cheap seats and standing places at the Met. Only the Met has the data to confirm or disprove either hypothesis and they’re not sharing.

Continuing our exercise in forensic accounting, one can use the data in the Met’s published annual reports and a little modeling to determine that the remaining $59 million of the $102 million increase in spending stems from increases in “Compensation and other benefits.” This is the cost of the Met’s spending on its largely unionized employee base and performers covered by union contracts.  Based on the information available on these contracts, it appears that most of the rise in spending on compensation and benefits was due to contractually mandated increases

Without more fiscal transparency from the Met, it’s impossible to know how much of this was due to the most common source of labor spending going over budget, unplanned overtime. When the Robert Lepage Ring production was introduced, excess overtime was a serious problem. The production required additional technical rehearsals and performances ran way past the scheduled end times because of the long breaks when the Machine had to be rebooted.

During Gelb’s second season, the stagehands were complaining that they had to put in too much overtime because changeovers between overly complex productions required extra labor. However, recent backstage gossip from the Met recently suggests that unplanned overtime is not nearly so significant a problem as it was in those earlier years. In fact, Vladimir Jurowski noted in his talk to the Wagner Society that the Met only let him due an uncut version of Die Frau Ohne Schatten if he could finish in less than 4 hours with intermissions. He made it in time.

In their discussions with the press: the union sources have cited three wasteful items.

The first is rehearsals held on Sundays, when union members make double time. This season, the Met scheduled just two Sunday rehearsals, with piano only.

Next is new productions that in the union’s view had needlessly lavish sets and costumes. They cite the example of the silk flowers used for the poppy field in Prince Igor. Now, honestly, how much more could silk flowers have possibly cost than the alternatives (plastic? paper?) and would the substitutes have been as convincing under the glare of theatrical lighting and the scrutiny of HD cameras? Has everyone forgotten the risibly cheap spring-loaded flowers that went boing-boing during the Good Friday Spell in the first season of the Met’s previous Parsifal production?

More importantly, new productions are almost always fully funded by gift from board members and other major donors. That is to say, money for new productions is held in a different account from funds for operating expenses. If new productions don’t happen, the Met doesn’t automatically get those extra funds to use towards general expenses.

Last in the union list is international airfare for artists travelling to the Met. This is, perhaps, a cost center where savings can be found. Anyone who’s been hanging out here at parterre box knows that smaller parts are frequently cast with foreign artists, chosen by our post-Colonial overlords operating out of secretive arts management companies in London.

In difficult financial times, it should be possible to cast these parts with fine local singers and avoid travel expenses while giving American singers needed gigs and exposure. But, even if every comprimario role went to a US-based singer, what would be the potential savings?

Taken together, I guesstimate that all three of the union proposals would result in savings of not much more than a couple of million dollars annually, barely enough to provide the unions with a one percent increase in compensation.

Now if AGMA were serious about allegations of waste, it would help if to provide more concrete data on potential cost savings. Otherwise, they are starting to sound like the Republicans who argue that food stamp spending can be cut because they read a story on about people trading food stamps for alcohol. Their only substantive proposal has been to set up a financial oversight board with union representation to provide oversight over spending on new productions and the like.

Frankly, I think this would be a nightmare. No self-respecting director would tolerate that level of hostile micromanagement. A more workable approach might be to let the unions have a single representative on the financial subcommittees of the Board of Directors. It would also help the unions cause, if they offered their own suggestions for simplifying work rules. Less complicated work rules don’t necessarily lead to cuts in pay if they are pegged to appropriately calculated pay rates.

For its part, the Met, has done itself no favors in the early chess moves of the contract negotiations either. Sure, there were sympathetic news stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that laid out a case for requesting concessions from the unions, but those stories ignored the most obvious question: Why the urgent need for cuts right now?

The last contract negotiations, which took place without any suggestion of the need for drastic cuts, were just three years ago during one of the worst years of the fiscal downturn. In that year, the Met needed $140 million in donations to break even. The fiscal picture was only marginally rosier than it is now, yet the company granted increases.

True, Volpe was doing the negotiating but he was operating under the direction of the Met management and board. What financial model could have possibly led them to think increased expenses were justified?

When Gelb took over the Met he stated that increased attendance and new sources of revenue would restore the company to fiscal health. Wasn’t it obvious three years ago that the plan wasn’t working?

Early proposals from Met management suggest that they want to roll back labor expenses to what they were before Gelb even started as General Manager. As draconian as that may be, I’m not even sure that is enough. It’s very difficult to judge because the Met management has been just as guilty of tossing around numbers without context as the unions have been. They cite the Met’s massive annual fundraising obligation but give no indication of what they think a healthy annual fundraising goal should be.

In a sure sign of institutional cowardice, the WSJ has to resort to citing an anonymous “person familiar with the matter” for the information that the Met would like to refocus its fundraising to building an endowment and reducing the need for annual giving.

That’s an admirable plan, but it’s one that should be shared with the unions and eventually the public that is providing those donations. Nowadays, donors expect unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability from the organizations they support. So it does not sit well that the most recent published annual report from the Met is from two seasons ago. Even then, that financial document reveals as little as possible. Nonprofits that don’t provide a full view of spending and revenue are viewed with suspicion and distrust.

The Met seems to forget that the NY opera public is still recoiling from the demise of the New York City Opera. The City Opera gave the impression that they were slowly recovering, then suddenly they needed $8 million… and then they were gone. City Opera never adequately explained their pressing need for this large amount and as a result they couldn’t raise it. While the Met is in not in the precarious straits of City Opera, their endowment could quickly be drained by a few more years of lackluster box office and slackening donations.

Moreover, no one at the Met has shared their ideas for how they will get box office and attendance back to healthier levels. The Met can’t succeed through cost cutting alone; it can only slow its own demise. What in the Met’s future artistic plans is intended to generate interest or excitement? Where in the programming are there the productions that might lead curious music lovers to find their way to the Met for the first time or inspire someone who hasn’t been to the Met in a while to return?

On paper at least, next season promises to be mind-numbingly dull. It’s not the season of an opera company that aspires to generate interest or increased attendance. In fact, it is the perfect season for a company that is anticipating a lockout as there is little that will be missed if it doesn’t happen.

Peter Gelb promised to revitalize the Metropolitan Opera through an increased number of theatrically exciting new productions, better casting, and innovative media initiatives. He had the right ideas, but has been largely unable to execute on them. The media initiatives have been a notable success drawing attention, if not attendees, from well outside the operasphere.

New productions of core repertory works have largely been serious disappointments that rarely improved upon the tired productions they replaced. Productions of works new to the Met have provided more artistic successes, but not enough to inspire any confidence in the company’s ability to nurture a great opera production. Casting has been equally exciting and bewildering, with an over-reliance on singers that appear to have been chosen for the Met rather than by the Met.

To return to the union’s complaints about his stewardship of the Met, they had it almost right. The problem isn’t that Gelb’s business model is failing; it’s that he’s failing at his own business model.

In part 2, we’ll have some ideas on how to get the business model back on track.


  • La Valkyrietta says:

    Oh Dawn fatale, oh dawn crudel!

    This dialogue which I never thought I would ever have took place a few days ago at the Met box office,

    - Do you have Family Circle partial view seats for Sonnambula?
    -Ah…as a matter of fact we do.
    -I’d like one.

    Years ago I was agaist Met titles, too distracting, but the Sonnambula production is so horrible -yes, I saw it years ago- that I will spend my time during the performance reading the titles in Italian. I like the opera so much that I am willing to pay to hear the acclaimed leads live. I would have paid more than ten times more for Orchestra front had they offered a decent production, or only maybe a painting of the Alps in the back with adequate peasant costumes. It is not that I yearn for Virgil, or that I remember Maria had a villa not far on lake Garda, or Sutherland lived on those mountains later in life, but Bellini was inspired by a whole atmosphere that is part of his musical dream in this work.

    I learned to love opera in great part thanks to the Met. These days I still love opera, but sometimes it seems in spite of the Met. :(

    • olliedawg says:

      There were a fair number of unsold seats at an Enchanted Island matinee two weeks ago. That’s a show that should sell out on a weekend. My tickets cost $200/per, and I did it gladly as a way to take an opera neophyte to the hallowed hall (more on that when we go off topic), but, really, it was startling after having a matinee subscription for 6-7 years to see so many empty spaces for a good cast and an easygoing opera experience.

  • Carlo says:

    Another issue is that the Met invests so much in new productions that it is almost impossible to admit that some of the new productions are failures and should be replaced with the older productions that worked. Two examples of major failure are the new Ring cycle and the most recent Tosca. Many people will never pay to see these again.

    On the other hand, some of the new productions, such as Madama Butterfly are brilliant. I have seen it three times (including once on HD at the movies).

    The Met needs new audiences, but it also needs the kinds of productions that people will want to revisit when new casts are scheduled.

    • Feldmarschallin says:

      Well I happened to have seen the old and new production of Tosca and while I am not a fan of the Bondy production it is light years better than the Zeffirelli production. Sometimes I have the feeling that many here love seeing opera in a sort of museum. Opera is something living. Otherwise just stay at home and listen to the old recordings.

      • luvtennis says:

        Feldmarschallin, my dear, I hear you and appreciate what a wonderful person you are, but your comment is simply not helpful. You may think the Bondy Tosca was better than the Zefferelli, but what does the box office say? And I don’t think the Met can afford to tell ANYONE to stay at home and listen to their records.

        My sense is that this news from the Met is really terrifying for the music community in the states. Our flagship opera house and one of our great cultural icons is teetering. We need reliable analysis, clear-headed planning and decisive action. The Met can’t afford axe-grinding at this point, however charming the source.

        • messa di voce says:

          The Bondy Tosca has generally sold pretty well, and the Met has gotten a lot of use out of it already.

        • oedipe says:

          It’s interesting that the Bondy Tosca has become the whipping boy of all those who want to believe that (even vaguely) modern productions chase away the Met’s loyal and reliable audience. Well, it’s simply not the case: Bondy or not Bondy, Tosca did relatively well at the box office this season.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            Well that Tosca really isn’t that modern is it? Personally I find it quite tame and is neither fish nor fowl.

      • Carlo says:

        The Bondy Tosca ignores Puccini’s intent. Tosca without the candelabras at the end of Act II destroys the emotional state intended by Puccini.

        • La Cieca says:

          And that would be?

        • armerjacquino says:

          I’ve even seen some productions where she doesn’t wash her fingers or check her hair in the mirror! Imagine!

          (“prende una bottiglia d’acqua e inzuppando un tovagliolo si lava le dita, poi si ravvia i capelli guardandosi allo specchio”)

          • kashania says:

            When people are aghast that Oscar smokes a cigarette in Ballo (the horror!), anything’s game for pearl-clutching.

            • messa di voce says:

              Or orange trees in The Barber of SEVILLE.

            • armerjacquino says:

              In L’ELISIR, Netrebko WORE A HAT!!!!!!

            • kashania says:

              Rossini is turning over in his grave.

            • messa di voce says:

              The hat criticism is the same one used 50 years ago against that other famous fiasco, the Visconti Traviata. And we used to wonder were there really people who were that petty . . .

            • semira mide says:

              “Rossini is turning over in his grave.” Actually Rossini has seen much worse, and it’s really only bad singing and conducting that disturbs him these days!

    • messa di voce says:

      Look at the record of new productions since the new house opened. Very few were considered great triumphs when they opened. The short list would include both Fraus, Carmelites, Tannhauser, Puritani, Lulu, Rosenkavalier, maybe Boheme and Turandot if that’s your thing. So far Gelb has had Butterfly, House of the Dead, Parsifal, The Nose, Igor (and I’d add Ballo). A lot of them, such as Carmen and Trovatore, are way better than what they replaced. Taking the big view, I think his record is above average.

      • Poison Ivy says:

        I’d definitely add Traviata to that list.

      • armerjacquino says:

        I’d say the Decker TRAVIATA is preferable to the dancing cow ladies, too…

      • fletcher says:

        “Considered great triumphs” by whom ? Critical consensus ? And what’s the relationship between this critical consensus and box office margins ? The Bondy Tosca may be disliked around here, but it’s still Tosca. Was The Nose a big money maker or something ?

      • kashania says:

        I wasn’t as big a fan of the Decker Traviata as many others here but it was still an improvement over Zeff’s heavy-handed extravaganza.

    • La Cieca says:

      Can you offer an example of a time at the Met when a new production failed and was replaced by a revival of an old production? People act like this kind of thins happens all the time, and honestly I can’t think of even a single instance at the Met or anywhere else.

      The Graham Vick Trovatore in 2000 was an absolute fiasco, but the Met didn’t drop it and replace it with the 1987 Melano/Frigerio. It played two seasons and then was dropped. The equally disastrous Francesca Zambello Lucia played two seasons from 1992 to 1994 and then was junked, to be replaced with the almost equally dire Nicolas Joël staging in 1998 (which, true to form, was redirected the second season.)

      Both these productions were dreadful, but I don’t recall anyone at the time saying, “bring back to the old staging.” This bit of reactionary rhetoric seems be be new to the Gelb regime.

      And I can tell you, the Met’s current Tosca is in no way or shape as bad as the worst of the Volpe era. The only difference is that nobody was able to imagine that the crap Volpe put on stage was agenda-driven by those awful Regie people who are out to destroy opera and rape our daughters.

      • Gualtier M says:

        La Cieca there was a disastrous new Pagliacci production early in Bing’s regime done in January 1951 by Horace Armistead. When it was revived they renovated the older one by Joseph Novak.

        Peter Gelb would rather die than restore an old production but when the Met toured Japan a few seasons ago the old John Dexter/Peter J. Hall “Don Carlo” production was taken out of the mothballs despite its replacement with the Nicholas Hytner production. I think this had to do with its portability or fitting into the theater.

  • messa di voce says:

    The Nose got uniformly rave reviews and sold out every performance during its initial run. What’s your point?

    • fletcher says:

      Sorry, I shouldn’t have added the snarky “or something” at the end there -- it was a real question. I simply have a suspicion that the productions that are considered critical successes aren’t always box office successes and these two things should be distinguished.

      • messa di voce says:

        Got it. I was specifically responding to Carlo’s post and the implication that Gelb’s productions are worse than the historical norm. This impression is, I think, the result of 1. the failure of the Ring and all the publicity it got, and 2. the continual internet coverage, with all its bitching and griping, of the house. I think opera is a lot like Broadway: 25% successes and 75% failures. Gelb’s average looks pretty good to me. I think we have to look elsewhere for the explanation of declining attendance.

  • Camille says:

    It’s always a rosy dawn when breaks a new Dawn Fatale story.

    Let’s hope this one will start some conversations that end up in some definitive executive actions for something new and better, if that is at all feasible, and not just more high-flown rhetoric.

    [Maybe Michael Fabiano and Lisette Oropesa, neither of whom will be singing in this upcoming season to the lament of many here, are secretly informed of imminent doom at the Met and have wisely decided to sell their wares elsewhere. Just kidding.]

    Those Fourteen Fledermice were something that really brought up a lot of issues for me as to WHY THIS? Limping on into the third week of February they could hardly even give away the tickets. Something wrong there.

    There is no real solution, most likely, and things will limp along, hoping for an ANGEL to appear, until they limp no further.

    • grimoaldo says:

      “Maybe Michael Fabiano and Lisette Oropesa, neither of whom will be singing in this upcoming season to the lament of many here, are secretly informed of imminent doom at the Met and have wisely decided to sell their wares elsewhere. Just kidding.”

      I don’t know, there might be an element of truth there, on that blind thread someone who claims to know what the Met offered Oropesa says of the coming season -

      “jrance says:
      And the Met could go on strike too.”

      Obviously they plan their seasons years ahead, but anyone interested could have found out when contracts were due to be re-negotiated and it would not have required a crystal ball to foresee that there might be trouble when that happened.

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      Those Fourteen Fledermice were something that really brought up a lot of issues for me as to WHY THIS? Limping on into the third week of February they could hardly even give away the tickets.

      At the risk of beating a dead horse — and I have no dog in this fight either way — but does anyone actually have hard data indicating that the new Fledermaus was a bomb? Fourteen performances does seem excessive, and the Met shelled out for a lot of TV commercials in the NYC area, which suggested that tickets weren’t exactly being snapped up. But beyond impressions and anecdotes, does anyone have access to numbers?

      The contrast with theatre is striking, in that you can go to at any time and see the previous week’s attendance for every show on Broadway. In the absence of that kind of transparency, it strikes me that none of us in a position to say what will turn the Met around, because none of us knows what “works” right now.

    • SilvestriWoman says:

      Would you rather Gelb follow Lyric’s lead and stage The Sound of Music with lesser stars than you’ll find on Broadway? Oh, wait -- Billy Zane is playing the Captain!

  • luvtennis says:

    Here are my suggestions to Gelb:

    1. Commission some in-depth marketing analysis by someone with no axe to grind. Why are some productions/performances selling and others not?

    2. Learn from the Norma and Frau triumphs -- great singers pack the house. You may have never thought that Goerke could be a star in your world as evidenced by your reaction to her success. To your credit you seemed to get that. Now put that lesson into action. Better to spend hundreds of thousands getting and developing stars than millions on productions which will always be a riskier proposition- at least until attendance improves and stabilizes.

    3. You need to use HD more effectively to market the house and its singers. The folks I know who go to HD are going for the performers, the opera, and the conductor in that order. Use research to validate or refute. Televise more concerts on HD. Folks form attachments to singers through concerts. Now that the major recording labels are no longer star making you have to do it.

    4. The desire to improve the theatrical side of things is admirable but effective drama requires an investment in the folks doing the acting not just the sets and physical production. Get directors who are more concerned in getting the best out of the individual performers and less in deconstructing the repertory. Stats would suggest that if you can turn just 10 singers into stars you can reverse the decline in attendance. Do it.

    5. You need a young star conductor to start replacing Levine. Pay whatever it takes.

    6. Be more judicious in choosing new rep. The Met is better positioned to rock Schreker, Korngold, et al than most houses in the world and the HD format would work amazingly well for those works. Much better than it would for baroque pastiches, for example. You could market the holy heck out of Die Gezeichneten in New York on HD. Tell Elina G that you will pay her $100k for every child she doesn’t have and get her half-naked on a poster in the grotto of love. Writhing. This will stimulate Anna to get back into the gym. Anna is nothing if not competitive,

    Just do it. You wanted the job. Now save or freakin MET, dude.

    • armerjacquino says:

      Interesting ideas, and a lot I agree with. However, one thing leapt out:

      Get directors who are more concerned in getting the best out of the individual performers and less in deconstructing the repertory.

      This is a leap, isn’t it? I don’t think there are any iconoclasts among the directors Gelb has hired. Even one of the most regie of Gelb’s new productions- the TRAVIATA, doesn’t ‘deconstruct’ the work, it tells the story exactly as written. A change of setting isn’t a deconstruction.

      Plus, of course, at least once he did exactly what you suggest: he hired a director whose reputation is founded on detailed work on character, who delivered a production which fitted a traditional framework. The result- the Grandage DON GIOVANNI- doesn’t exactly represent the way forward for the Met.

      • luvtennis says:

        Hey, I am making suggestions. What are yours?

        • armerjacquino says:

          Steady there. Which bit of ‘interesting ideas, and a lot I agree with’ did you find particularly combative?

          • luvtennis says:

            That wasn’t meant as combative, AJ. You are my bud. Sort of. In an anonymous non-creepy way.

      • messa di voce says:

        And, interestingly, the Traviata has been a big hit with 3 different leading ladies. Audiences don’t seem to be put off by it at all.

        • luvtennis says:

          Yes, and it is just the sort of production I think is awesome for star building and showcasing…. I never suggested otherwise…..

      • SilvestriWoman says:

        He may not be an iconoclast, but Gelb should bring McVicar’s Elektra to the Met, with Goerke in the lead. Not only would her performance be the talk of New York, but the production itself is both true to the work and visually interesting. It would be terrific on HD.

        Speaking of which, it sill grieves me that Frau Ohne Schatten was not presented in HD. Gelb lost a huge opportunity to introduce Goerke and Schwanewilms to a wider audience.

        • la vociaccia says:

          I heard great things about the Mcvicar production but the Chereau production, which is slated for a future Met season, is a really wonderful production (based on the webcast). I think Gelb would be doing right by the Met using that production, not in the least because of it being the last production Chereau completed before his death

        • operadunce says:

          I’m not sure about who is creating the production, but Michigan Opera Theatre has Goerke as Electra next season, October 18, 22, 25, and 26. I tried to convince all of you to come to the D last season to see Latonia Moore in Aida, but I guess you found better things to do. Anyway, we welcome Parterrians with open arms. Our city may be bankrupt, but we still have our opera. Oh, and did I forget to mention: DEBBIE VOIGT DOES DETROIT! in April, 2015. More info at

          • operadunce says:

            Oops! EleKtra, of course. Wish I could blame spellcheck, but it’s just an operadunce mistake.

    • La Cieca says:

      Get directors who are more concerned in getting the best out of the individual performers and less in deconstructing the repertory.

      Beat that straw man!

      • armerjacquino says:


      • luvtennis says:

        Honestly, la Cieca, I was making an observation that I think is generally true, not trying to score points. I mean those numbers are too scary for opera lovers to be axe grinding. The new Met Parsifal shows you can do both, right?

        • La Cieca says:

          If you will give an example of a director at the Met who is “concerned about deconstructing the repertory,” I’m glad to talk. Perhaps the closest you can get to that is Tcherniakov, who has been praised to the skies for his detailed character work.

          I don’t see the point of trying to argue against something that doesn’t exist, that’s all. The Met hasn’t presented any “deconstructionist” directors on Gelb’s watch, so what’s the point of saying “get rid of them?” You might as well call for an immediate ban on all singers of Martian birth.

          • luvtennis says:

            I have. I fucking hate Mars.

            And my post was very poorly worded. Apologies. I meant find directors who are going to showcase your talent cause you need that now. That’s all.

      • luvtennis says:

        Again, I ask la Cieca what her suggestions might be. I think we would all like to hear them. And I mean that sincerely. The article above comes as a real eye-opener to me….

        • La Cieca says:

          Dawn Fatale has promised a series of recommendations in the follow up article, and I don’t want to scoop a parterre writer. It’s important to discuss all this of course, but honestly, if you want a “solution” to what’s wrong with the Met, here it is:

          1. Get full employment in New York City with a strong, vibrant middle class with a sizable amount of discretionary income.

          2. Find a way to run the Met more cheaply, and then lower ticket prices by 20% or so.

          The house would be packed every single night, I guarantee you, even if you put on crap like what happened 3 nights out of 4 under Volpe. The difference would be that people would be flocking to good opera instead of crap.

          • messa di voce says:

            I’d add: more NYC more attractive to foreign tourists by addressing: the lousy airports, terrible visa/immigration issues, TSA hassles, etc.

            We can dream.

            • armerjacquino says:

              I don’t think any of those things put us off, to be honest. Not those of us in the UK, anyway. Ask any Brit which foreign city they’d most like to visit and I’m pretty sure a sizeable majority would say NYC.

            • David says:

              Agree with armerjacquino -- travel issues not a problem (at least from the UK). Hotel prices perhaps, but not travel.

            • messa di voce says:

              Thanks for the correction.

          • Dabrowski says:

            1. Get full employment in New York City with a strong, vibrant middle class with a sizable amount of discretionary income.

            LOL, yep! The Gini Coefficient in the New York Metro area is 53.5, which means that inequality there is worse even than the already-high US national average, and is around the same level as Brazil. Some of the other things that people have been suggesting on this thread — relying even more on the largesse of the rich — are just not going to work. At the end of the day, there are just not enough of them — and they have so much of the country’s money that there’s not enough wealth in the rest of the population to support a stable audience for the arts.

            I acknowledge that opera will always be an art form appreciated by a minority, but that minority doesn’t have to be an “elite,” and in fact it can’t be if the art form has a future. It’s the concentration of wealth, combined with the attack on public education — and the accompanying de-emphasis on broad-based arts and humanities education, in favor of the idiotic corporate-driven standardized-testing regime — that means that has led to the economic crisis for all of the fine arts in the USA.

            This is why I am a socialist of the “Nothing’s too good for the working class” variety.

            • armerjacquino says:

              *stands on chair applauding wildly*

              This has cheered me right up after that post earlier which blithely said that opera isn’t supposed to be for ‘average’ people.

            • redbear says:

              The new megarich don’t much care about art. Gates gave away 4.4 billion last year and you couldn’t find the arts with a microscope. And he’s only one of hundreds who don’t care. There’s not a Medici among them. And, sorry to say, the middle class is gone and ain’t coming back and downsizing is only a temporary solution.

          • grimoaldo says:

            “crap like what happened 3 nights out of 4 under Volpe”
            I was living in London at that time, I am genuinely curious as to why you say it was crap, do you mean the Zeffirelli or Zeffirelli type productions? I listened to quite a few of the radio broadcasts, I don’t remember thinking they were mostly crap, but of course that is very different to seeing the shows live.

            • grimoaldo says:

              I’m sorry La C I see you gave examples of the productions you thought were crap in an earlier post, I had not seen that one.

          • kennedet says:

            Agreed. That would take care of a lot more problems than the Met, Cieca. Also, if they could do a better job of eradicating poverty, this world would be a lot better off.

    • oedipe says:

      Learn from the Norma and Frau triumphs — great singers pack the house.

      Except that they don’t. I went to 3 Frau performances and none was anywhere near packed.
      The presence of great singers no longer suffices to fill the house.

      • luvtennis says:

        Which is why I recommended analysis over anecdote as my first recommendation. And I am not so sure you the Met’s best interests at heart given your recent posts.

      • Geoffrey Riggs says:

        I would look forward keenly to further analysis of various trends, using the most rigorous statistical guidelines. That said, there is a bit of a difference between great singers versus star singers.

        I would suggest that one possible option would be something that “luvtennis” already more than hinted at in #3: Develop the visibility of their greatest singers more than they have so far. Many of these great singers could be easily developed into star singers through proper nurturing, publicity and personal encouragement, based on authentic artistic stature, in my view.

        Yes, they have done well by Anna Netrebko, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now let’s see if that approach can’t be ratcheted up considerably for a whole phalanx of talent today that has suddenly burst on the scene in the last decade or so.

        I wonder if Gelb realizes just what a generational gold mine he’s sitting on today. Yes, I count myself lucky to have seen many of the dazzling stars in the 1960s and ’70s, like Christa Ludwig, Leonie Rysanek, Franco Corelli, Renata Tebaldi, Leontyne Price, Margaret Price, Mirella Freni, Martina Arroyo, Nicolai Gedda, Carlo Bergonzi, Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano (these last two in concert only), Jon Vickers, Birgit Nilsson, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Yuri Mazurok, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballe, Luciano Pavarotti, Sandor Konya — and I’m sure many other obvious luminaries too numerous to mention.

        I know and am deeply grateful for just how lucky I was to catch all these superb artists in person. It was in experiencing their artistry that I became in childhood a lifelong opera lover. Those experiences were indelible. Many of those performances were so vivid for me I can practically relive them today scene by scene!

        At the same time, given all those wonderful memories, I have been just as inspired by the veritable benchmarks I have attended in the last few seasons. I honestly feel we are in a new silver age today at the least, and the general standard today actually strikes me as a distinct improvement on the undoubtedly accomplished performers I was hearing in general coming out of the new generation in the ’80s/’90s.

        Yes, there were some superb artists who came up in the ’80s/90s, who were every bit as great as those in the ’60s, but truly, their numbers simply were not so abundant as in the ’60s. I would submit that such numbers are finally being matched today, IMO.

        I fully recognize that everyone’s taste is individual, and no two — however knowledgeable — opera lovers will agree on everything. But my personal response has varied from general satisfaction to utter amazement at what I’ve been hearing these last ten years.

        I found Krasimira Stoyanova’s Desdemona last season every bit the equal of Teresa Zylis-Gara and Margaret Price and Mirella Freni in the 1970s. I found Klaus Florian Vogt’s Lohengrin every bit the equal of Sandor Konya in the 1960s. I found Jonas Kaufmann’s Maurizio (at Carnegie Hall) every bit the equal of Franco Corelli in 1963. I found Christine Goerke’s Dyer’s Wife every bit the equal of Birgit Nilsson. I found Sondra Radvanovsky’s Norma every bit the equal of Montserrat Caballe and Joan Sutherland. I found Peter Mattei’s Onegin every bit the equal of Yuri Mazurok.

        These only scratch the surface. I’m sure there are others I’m inadvertently overlooking. It is a long dry time since I have experienced such benchmarks and in such abundance.

        I can only repeat that all the ’60s/’70s artists referenced in the previous paragraph were artists that I was fortunate enough to experience in person, artists with whom I was totally smitten at the time, artists who fully deserved every ounce of the renown they have earned. And in the same breath, fully grateful for having seen them in person as a child, I can assert that each of the benchmarks cited from today — Stoyanova, Vogt, Kaufmann, Goerke, Radvanovsky, Mattei — thrill me just as much as their counterparts of fifty years ago!

        I never thought I’d see such abundance again. This is not to say that all corners of the rep are uniformly marvelous today: We don’t have any Verdi baritone that quite matches Robert Merrill or Matteo Manuguerra or Piero Cappuccilli, in my view (although Lucic and Hvorostovsky are certainly effective and even moving on occasion, and I find Hvorostovsky’s Posa arguably the finest since Merrill’s, at the least). I also admired Heppner enormously, and I was sorry for the rough road he had in the ’00s, leaving no one today who can match him or Vickers.

        But it’s sheer numbers that I’m addressing here, and in numbers, today’s generation can match the greatest cornucopia of my lifetime. If Gelb could concentrate more on developing the visibility of the finest vocal benchmarks of today, across the board, I have a feeling that that could trigger better sales at the Met to a significant degree.

        The objection has sometimes been made that concentration on great singers can somehow shortchange repertoire. Quite the contrary, I feel. Great singers can actually help bring back forgotten and exciting repertoire. Look at the upcoming Three Queens with Sondra Radvanovsky. Would we have ever reacquainted ourselves with Donizetti’s staggering tragic genius without the impetus of Callas’s or Sutherland’s or Caballe’s or Gencer’s or Sills’s star power? Star power drives rediscovery. It is a healthy synergy, and it should be encouraged.

        Imagine the buzz that could be created for a Kaufmann in Chenier, or a Radvanovsky in Medea, or a Vogt in Tote Stadt, or a Stoyanova in Semiramide, or a Mattei in Vixen, or a Goerke in Die Feen — if the Met would heighten the visibility of all these artists and effectively celebrate their outstanding talents across the board!

        Watch what would happen to the box office then!

        My two cents,

        Geoffrey Riggs

    • fletcher says:

      Suggestion 1. Yes. With actual data, not anecdotal impressions. I want charts!

      • turings says:

        I’d be very surprised if the Met hasn’t paid for research on this. Doesn’t mean they want to release it to the general public.

        • luvtennis says:

          And it doesn’t mean that it was done right. Nothing is more dangerous in the wrong hands than market research.

    • Henry Holland says:

      That’s a nice idea, to get Die Gezeichneten at the Met, but it will still be an opera that is unknown to the vast majority of the Met’s current and potential audience. I love the opera to bits, obviously, but marketing is marketing. It’s not like opera audiences in New York have this streak of adventurousness in them like those in Frankfurt, Hamburg or Munich that’s just waiting to be tapped either.

      As for Korngold, sure, the Met and that great orchestra is perfect for Die Tote Stadt but a quick check of the online Met archive shows it’s only been produced there once, two performances in 1921 (and one on tour in Philadelphia) and those were mostly because it had Maria Jeritza singing Marie/Marietta. Plus, the Met did one performance of Violanta on a double bill with Hansel und Gretel (!!!!).

      So conservative NY audiences + unknown operas = not very likely to happen. It’s nice to see another Schreker/Korngold fan post here, but still.

      • armerjacquino says:

        Completely depends on the cast and the production, I’d say. A house that sells out THE NOSE can sell out DIE GEZEICHNETEN if it gets it right.

        • Henry Holland says:

          Not an apt comparison, Shostakovich is a “name” that’s widely known in the symphonic rep and in the opera rep due to Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Schreker? Not so much.

          Schreker, at least on recordings, has been searching for the “right cast” since I’ve been listening to him (1989). Every single recording I have of his operas bar the Gezeichneten with Thomas Stewart, Evelyn Lear and Helmut Krebs from German radio in 1960 has second-rate, provincial-German-house casts and as has been discussed here countless times, singers will go where the money is. I mean, I’d love for the modern equivalents of Fritz Wunderlich and Leonie Rysanek to star in a staging of Der Ferne Klang, but they wouldn’t touch that, they make far more money singing Tamino and Sieglinde.

      • luvtennis says:

        I think the house would BE packed for Anna in Die Kathrin. With Jonas. Hell to the yes. And Antony and Cleo if theY can convince Anna to go topless for the HD.

        Also, I don’t mean to just stage those works. I mean find a musical identity again. And those works might be the path to explore. And their is a large segment of the Met audience who might be very interested in the works that we’re suppressed by the Nazis and lead to the birth of the Golden age of Hollywood scores.

        The Met was the place to be for big Verdi in the 60s. That’s BRANDING. What are they known for now. What does the brand stand for NOW.

        • antikitschychick says:

          “And Antony and Cleo if theY can convince Anna to go topless for the HD.” LOLOL maybe before she had her kid but I doubt she’d do that now…she’d perhaps consider something ‘sheer’ but topless is a stretch at this point imo. Although, it would send a positive message to women over 40…Jonas would then need to go topless too, otherwise it’d just be sexist :-P .

        • Henry Holland says:

          that were suppressed by the Nazis and lead to the birth of the Golden age of Hollywood scores

          Been there, done that, the Recovered Voices project at LA Opera was exactly that. They managed to eek out low-budget productions of Zemlinsky’s fab Der Zwerg/Ullmann’s awful The Broken Jug, Braunfel’s Die Vogel and Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten before the whole thing ground to a halt.

          The project was treated as a nuisance, a James Conlon vanity project by Domingo and his lackey Edgar Baitzel, they never got around to doing the promised Die Tote Stadt. Hell, the original director of the Schreker quit because he had no money to work with, it was all being used for the disastrous Achim Freyer Ring.

          Meanwhile, here’s the operas that Edgar Baitzel personally commissioned while at LA Opera:

          Drattell: Nicholas and Alexandra (2003)
          Goldenthal: Grendel (2006)
          Shore: The Fly (2008)

          The Drattell and Shore would surely be in the running for the title of “Worst Opera Written In The Last 50 Years” and the Goldenthal was a costly flop.

          So, pardon my cynicism about opera companies and their ability to do interesting things.

      • luvtennis says:


        A double bill of Violanta and Hansel. So crack is not so recent a phenomenon after all….

      • Flora del Rio Grande says:

        Henry, I am with you on Schrecker operas, Die ferne Klang as well as Gezeichneten -- love ‘em both. But they would never sell at the Met; far too arcane, and the mood is troubled and unsettled, so often in Korngold. Not popular just now. Best done at Carnegie Hall in concert form.
        What to do with the Met? Again, it is too large. It is too expensive by far; and I just have a hunch Gelb may be running out of ideas. Maybe they should look to a mix of concerts, opera and dance during their winter season — such was done in earlier decades by the Met and is done frequently in European houses. Then, there is the idea of government subsidy. Not much of an idea for today’s government, alas. Santa Fe Opera might be one’s best bet for a Schrecker opera; write them!

        • Henry Holland says:

          Best done at Carnegie Hall in concert form

          The ASO did Der Ferne Klang at Bard but, well, Leon Botstein.

          As for Santa Fe, they named Harry Bicket as the MD in 2013, he doesn’t appear to have conducted anything written past about 1800. [looks at Santa Fe Opera press release] I stand corrected, he’s conducted Carmen and Rusalka! :)

          It’ll be a few years before his programing ideas fully kick in, but I’m not hopeful about anything that I’d find interesting being done there. The days of John Crosby and The Devils of Loudon, Der Junge Lord, Melusine and L’amour de Loin are long gone, I’d say.

      • Feldmarschallin says:

        Well you have another Schreker/Korngold fan here and apparently rumor has it that in two seasons the BSO will be giving Die Gezeicheten. I have suggested to Bachler many times that a Schreker opera would be nice to have. And at the last time he said it would be coming. So you might get your new production after all just not at the Met.

    • antikitschychick says:

      excellent suggestions luv :-) .

      Armer: I don’t think luvtennis was suggesting that a change of setting is equivalent to a deconstruction of said setting. Its possible to deduce that from what he suggested, but he could also just mean directors who are less interested in over-arching concepts and more on individual performances/interpretations from singers. I don’t think there are that many directors who’ve worked at the Met thus far that have been able to achieve both with equal panache, with the exceptions of Girard, David Alden, Tcherniakov and Decker. Satyagraha was also great but more so in terms of the production and because it was a novel work.

      • luvtennis says:


        Bless you, my dear. You give me hope for this world. And you are right about my intentions.


        It is 4 am in Singapore and I am using an iPad. My comment on directors was meant to tie into star-making. Kind of like Visconti and Callas.

    • JecofJH says:

      Yes so many times over to 4. Who can forget how the Lucia sextet was turned into background music for staging a family photo? Not I.

  • fidelio101 says:

    Nathan Lane was the original choice that I heard of.

  • operacat says:

    As a support for those saying that stars will bring in the ticketbuyers: I used to work at a major summer festival in the box office. I recall a season 33 years ago when virtually every advance ticket order we received requested Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Beverly Sills in ROBERTO DEVEREUX. It makes me sick to my stomach to suggest, but perhaps it is time for an opera singer to appear on DANCING WITH THE STARS.

    • antikitschychick says:

      either that or a talk show a la Ellen but dedicated to all things Opera needs to happen. It can start online (as a podcast or something) and move to cable TV once it gains traction. Renee or DV could host :-D .

      • luvtennis says:


        All I can say is (a la Andrew from Buffy) “get out of my MIIIINNNDDD!!!”

        • antikitschychick says:

          OMG shut the front door, I looooved Buffy!! :-P lol and no I will not get out of your mind, as it seems to have some very fab ideas :-D .

    • kashania says:

      Did someone say Dancing De Niese?

      • luvtennis says:

        We just need peaches and Herb to turn Shake your grooved thang” into a grand opera for la Dani.

    • Grane says:

      Now wait just a minute. Katherine Jenkins has already been on “Dancing with the Stars.”

      • operacat says:

        my upset stomach is now a migraine. I must now go and listen to LULU and retreat to my fantasy opera house game.

      • PetertheModest says:

        She was a very good amateur dancer.

        • antikitschychick says:

          Indeed she was peter…she was on the same season William Levy was on (which is why I watched, naturally :-P ) and I thought she was excellent! She should go on Broadway.

        • Grane says:

          She’s not too bad an amateur singer, either. Oh, wait…

          • Poison Ivy says:

            JDF could do DWTS. He incorporates dancing into a lot of his comic schtick. L’elisir d’amore, Le Comte Ory, L’Italiana are all stagings where I’ve seen him start dancing all over the stage.

  • Jack Jikes says:

    Some random thought on attendance and ticket prices -
    Met season 1955/56 -- opening night Nov. 14th -- closing April 14th.
    2013/2014 -- Sept 23rd -- May 10th. Big difference.
    1955 top price for My Fair Lady -- $4.80; in 2014 dollars -- $42.05 (CPI inflation index). Current ‘normal’ top for The Lion King $227.
    Opening of NY State Theater c. 1964 -- gallery (now 4th ring) rows C-N tickets were $1.00; in CPI’s 2014 dollars $7.57. Same tickets in NYCB’s forthcoming
    spring season $29; during Nutcracker season these seats go for $89.
    Movies -- 1st run -- 1955 $.25. 2014 dollars $2.14
    In NY and elsewhere tickets are wildly expensive compared to days of yore.
    Salaries have certainly not gone up proportionally.
    Thanks to CDs, DVDs, HD broadcasts and looming largest of all -YOUTUBE -
    there is a glut of opera opportunity that has no precedent.
    Think of what it was like to go by the shuttered old Met in August in the 1950s -
    longing for mid-November to arrive. We no longer have that desperate need.
    Given all THAT I am impressed that Met attendance sustains even its current levels.

    • Big Finn says:

      These are remarks on the mark:) NYC in general is PATHETICALLY expensive, beyond the ridiculous! I used to make 6-7 day holiday visits and see 3-4 broadway shows and 2 MET operas a visit, without pain. The prices in the last 15 years of tickets AND hotels have doubled, and doubled again.

      It seems the Manhattan is for Russian oligarchs and other filthy rich. And what do they care of?

      • Big Finn says:

        Just an example: December 2013 in Budapest. A genuinely DeLux **** star hotel in the center, room for two including a most fabulous breakfast: €60/night (booked thru internet 6 weeks prior). A most splendid, uniformly WELL sung and fabulously played Fliedermaus conducted by the State Opera’s new, young, energetic and heritage aware conductor/artistic director; orchestra seats €35 each. A most wonderful main course of Veal Tournedos topped with a quickly fried hefty slice of foie-gras AND porcini, served with portwine sauce, this at a stunning establishment working in the same location since 1887, with impeccable service…

        Well, one can make 10 seven-day cultural-holiday visits from Finland to Budapest, or Madrid, or Barcelona, with the price of one 5 day visit to NYC.

      • MontyNostry says:

        Gosh, sounds like London …

  • Don_Dano says:

    Does the MET box office ever call people on the telephone trying to sell tickets? I don’t recall ever getting a call from them; I always initiate the transaction.

    Over the past few years, there have been two times that I have been quite impressed with the San Francisco box office

    The first time was the season of the Nina Stemme Ring Cycle. When the box office called in late summer, I told them I definitely wanted to go to their Ring but I couldn’t commit to dates until the San Francisco Giants announced their season for the following June. In November, the same gentleman from the box office, reminded me of the baseball schedule conversation, and proceeded to sell me my tickets to that very enjoyable Ring.

    Last August, another gentleman from the San Francisco box office called to sell me tickets. He had my entire SFO purchase history before him so he knew that lived quite far from San Francisco so I would typically take a weekend mini vacation and see at least two operas. He was quite thorough about trying to design something for me, so it saddened me that I didn’t see any specific weekend this season that was going to get me on an airplane.

    Like I said, both times, I was quite impressed with the sales skills of the San Francisco box office.

    The MET on the other hand seems quite passive if I don’t order any tickets some season.

  • sdika says:

    Sad news. San Diego Opera folding at the end of this season.

    • antikitschychick says:

      Sad news indeed…and how telling that the article is only a few sentences long. That is very poor journalism.

    • fletcher says:

      This is really terrible news. I always thought San Diego Opera was one of the best second-tier companies in the States (and I don’t mean that as faint praise). It might be worth pointing out that San Diego is the eighth largest city in the US (with a larger urban population than Vienna, Munich, or Marseilles, for comparison) -- very sad that even a city of this size can’t sustain a small but excellent company.

      • peter says:

        San Diego Opera was supposed to present Harteros and Furlanetto in Rosenkavalier a few years ago. Of course they cancelled but it tells you that it was an important second tier house. Very sad news.

        • Poison Ivy says:

          Piotr Beczala and Krassimira Stoyanova just ended a run of Ballos there too.

        • grimoaldo says:

          Furlanetto will be in their last show,Massenet’s Don Quixote.

          Really really sad.
          opera officials apparently sensed trouble ahead, having spent down (at approximately a million dollars a year) a 2003, $10 million bequest from Joan Kroc. With its patrons apparently on the brink of what opera staff have in the past characterized as “donor exhaustion” and ticket sales for 2013 and 2014 coming in under projection, it was unwilling to go ahead with what would have been a celebratory 50th anniversary season at the Civic Theatre.

          “After 28 consecutive years of balanced budgets, it was clear that we could not continue,” said Karen Cohn, chair of the San Diego Opera’s board of directors. “In spite of excellent financial management, the opera faced increasingly higher ticket-sale and fundraising hurdles.”

  • leonora3 says:

    Dear Feldmarschallin,
    I understood you are from Munich and so your words about tickets for Macbeth in this blog brought hope to my expectation ‘There are of course still the expensive tickets which go on sale in the next week”. Unfortunatelly, today I received the mail from Munich Marketing Office that no tickets are available for Macbeth on July 1st, and with my client’s number I ordered the top price and at the beginning of September 2013, immediatelly when tho programme for Festival 2014 was announced. I fell very sorry and highly dissapoited as it should have been our 4th Munich festival(just last year we saw complete Ring and two Verdi’s operas). I organised and planned whole summer around this date and believed we would get them(after previous experience, as we always received the tickets). Seems to me, I can see Trebsy only at Met, never in Europe (what I do, but for me it would be much closer in Europe). What policy do they use for distributing? it’s a mystery!

    • Feldmarschallin says:

      No idea and most people that I know who are locals ordered tickets via mail or through friends and all of them got tickets so I am really surprised now that this is the second foreign Absage which I have heard about. They say they use the lottery system but have no idea how they exactly do it. Did you at least get other tickets or nothing at all?

  • OnlyOpera says:

    I really do not care how Opera Production companies spin there losses! The main facts are simple

    1. Not enough Young people are being engaged in this wonderful art form of Opera. Opera production Companies are not fighting back against the onslaught and might of Record Label Companies promoting Opera Singing as Opera. They will concentrate on plugging established methods and there rework the old list of known enthusiasts, rather than taking advantage of “Crossover” singing popularity and attempt to get these young followers to fill seats.

    2. The day will come sooner than later when an establishment closes because faithful donors have passed away with no one left to take their place, as long as the hardliners in Opera believes there are no problems and Opera will survive the aging factor, believe Opera is invincible and will live forever without actively getting the new generations into those seats.

    I am doing my bid to promote Opera to the masses but will you believe how many times a week I have to defend my thesis against Hardliners, how many times I have to explain what Only Opera is about.

    I know one thing for certain without Professional Performers, New Up and Coming Performers and followers of opera realizing we all have to our bit, and if we do it together we might just get the “Modern Youth” to fill tomorrow seats.

    We can not leave everything to the employer, especially those who are using selective marketing and advertising which do not reach far and wide. Ask yourself this : If you walk down Broadway, how many out of 10 will know you and how many of that same 10 will know Jackie Evancho?

    I rest my case. It can be different only if we all work together and promote this art. Stop by, have a read through my blogs at