Cher Public

Luke swarm

La Cieca (pictured) fears that the parterre hive mind proved itself populated with more drones than workers this time around, since last month’s poll seems to have fallen rather wide of the mark.

  • ML

    Yep. We got it wrong.

  • redbear

    Where is the “They will kick the can down the road?” That’s what they did. What is simply amazing is that Gelb is no longer in charge. The conclusion of both board and unions, apparently, is that he overspent. In this month’s Opera they interviewed Pierre Audi (Netherlands Opera) who talked about the post 2008 struggle. LA Opera in 2008 cut their budget and season by a third. Yet the Met continued as if they were on another planet and drained their endowment, etc. Instead of being fired, Gelb will be under the direction of others regarding spending. Will this restriction end in fixing the deficit? Not likely, and the can is still not far down the road.

    • Can you try to remember that the Met cannot simply “cut their season by a third.” The contracts under which Gelb was operating call for 12-month employment for all union members. So if Gelb were to cut a couple of months from the season, he would still be paying the orchestra, the chorus, the stagehands, the costumers and so forth, meanwhile generating no ticket income.

      Don’t you ever get tired of screaming gloom and doom?

      • redbear

        Then why don’t you, great master, tell us how they are going to fix the simple cash flow problem? It is a simple, very simple business problem. There is not enough money coming in to pay the bills. If you don’t solve that, there is no future. It is not complicated.

        • They just put in place procedures that will cut annual expenditures by about $30 million, or around 10% of the current budget. Assuming donated income remains about the same or a little less, the company will be able to stay within budget and devote $20 million or more to (re)building the endowment. In the meantime, Gelb can try to create programs that will appeal to younger audiences, assuming he can get the old-timers to stop howling so much about “desecration” of the Holy Zeffirelli Styrofoam.

          • steveac10

            He also needs to get the choristers to stop howling. Everything we heard from their camp indicates they prefer to stand in a semicircle in lovely Anna Anni costumes and pretend they are the world’s best paid choir. The no modern works/no modern productions mantra was put out there loud and clear.

            • RudigerVT

              Because, if you had achieved a position that is 40 times more competitive than getting into Harvard, you should just say, meh. Go ahead. Why not?


            • steveac10

              Yes, you’d think they would want a challenge. When I was doing chorus work back in the 80’s we all prayed for directors that treated us as something other than props with voices. And we were doing it for not much more than minimum wage (and $60 bucks a performance, $90 if you got lucky and got a one liner).

            • I honestly think the “howling” comes from only a few in the chorus; most of them are really hard working and interested in trying new things dramatically, doing acting bits and so forth. It must get very dull just standing walking left and then walking right and then standing still in Boheme for example.

              The people who really, really don’t want to do anything but stand there and sing in a costume you can put in the back row and either hope they get tired of the long hours or else just wait for them to retire. There is that kind of, if not dead wood, moribund wood in a lot of organizations, and if you’re not in an at-will work situation, there’s not a lot you can do besides working around them.

            • Ilka Saro

              And at 60 bucks a pop in the 80’s, the Met was paying only slightly more than you could get for a paid position in a Sunday church choir.

          • Ilka Saro

            Styrofoam? You means that’s not actually granite/marble/the soil of Bari?

          • redbear

            Kicking the can, as I said. 10% is far from enough. Next question: where is that damned financial analysis? It is simply an insult to the press and public that it is hidden. Also, what is the response when I compare Sears, Roebuck & Co. to the Met: resting on laurels and steadily cranking out the SOS, while everyone else is recreating themselves. Among other things, the NYP is now third in budget size as donor money seems to be moving to the other coast. With their fixed costs, how much more can the Met continue to contract?
            Also, every year the LOC announces a balanced budget and everyone, except accountants, applauds. One of the line items in “receipts” is money transferred from the endowment. Now, LOC is being kept afloat by Showboat which is a prostitution of the art of opera. How long can that continue?

            • Oh, shut up.

            • redbear

              Then there’s this in case anyone thinks i’m the resident crank:

            • olliedawg

              redbear: Do you run a company, for-profit or otherwise? Do you think management should (not could) cut expenses to the bone, and still make a credible product the public wants to buy? Do you think Gelb created the (still) untenable/unsustainable labor situation (and I mean the precedent of giving the unions just about every sweetheart deal possible), and do you really believe he can “cure” it all in one fell swoop? If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, then you need to fire yourself because you are one shitty manager.

              As I’ve said in another post, this deal is evolutionary, which is what I think cost management needs to be in order for a business to continue to function without “cost” to its product and customer credibility. I’m living this reality as we speak.

              Our business sucks. The first salary to be cut was mine, and by 50%, plus I opted out of our pension plan, two huge hits. Then my VP was cut 20%. We cut our expenses in other ways. Then my VP took another 20% hit. And, yesterday, my admin took a 20% hit. Now, we continue to look top to bottom at our expenses. BUT, this has been going on over a period of 8-9 months, and we are a tiny company. The Met, with its multi-million-dollar budget, cannot take an axe to its expenses, and not all at once. With the financial “overseer” acting as an arbiter, both Met management and labor unions will have to negotiate the company’s expense profile carefully.

              The Met now needs to focus on increasing revenues, not stripping its expenses down to the bone.

            • olliedawg

              And one more thing, redbear: There is so much misery in the news. At least, with this particular negotiation, there is good (not great) news. You are a such a downer.

            • redbear

              A debater who abandons the topic to talk about the debaters would probably be asked to sit down. Another, who says “Oh, Shut Up!” would probably be suspended for a week or so.
              The point I am making is that the little things being done are only a bandaid. I remind all of where we started:
              And, it needs saying, if you strip away ballet costs, the budget of the Met is larger than the ROH, VSO and the Paris Opera combined! It is absolute madness.

  • grandtier

    Wrongo!! Heh heh.

  • la vociaccia

    I’ll repeat what I said in the comments section of this poll. Everyone went for the most dramatic vote. When Dessay pulled out of a Cesare performance, we had a vote here, and the highest vote predicted that she would skip the remaining performances, except for the HD broadcast. She ended up doing every single performance after that first cancellation.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Concerning unyielding, monolithic authoritarianism of some on this blog, on June 18, 2014 I posted: Dogmatic absolutism without axiological reasoning is vacuous and self-serving.