When Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the mantle of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, a palpable change was felt in the air, from Novosibirsk to East Berlin. Words like glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) began to replace the gradually outmoded Leninist philosophies that had become warped under Stalin and Andropov. The possibilities were palpable, and soon manifested into thousands of Muscovites calling for Gorbachev to resign in 1990, following the latter half of the decade teeming with what David Remnick aptly described for the New Yorker as “argument, truth-telling, irony, hysteria, and scandal” on state television. Read more »
“’I’ve almost come to the conclusion that this Mr. Hitler isn’t a Christian,’ muses merry murderess Abby Brewster early in the first act of Arsenic and Old Lace, and to tell the truth I’m beginning to think I’m almost as far behind the curve as she was. Recent new productions at the Met suggest strongly that Peter Gelb either doesn’t quite know what he’s doing or else, if he does know, has some wildly inappropriate ideas about what music drama is supposed to be.” Our own JJ (not pictured) muses on “Peter’s Principles” at Musical America.
When Peter Gelb really wants an artist at the Met, he pulls out all the stops. La Cieca hears that Bryn Terfel, on his way back to New York after a brief visit with his family back in Wales, arrived at the airport in the UK this morning only to discover he left his passport and work visa behind in NYC before the trip. The Met honcho, our informant whispers, dispatched a Met staffer to fly to Manchester tonight with Bryn’s passport so that she can hand it to him in person, tomorrow morning. Terfel should be in place for a rescheduled Rheingold rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.
Finally, the background to the story that rocked the operatic world earlier this summer. Peter Stein withdrew from the Met’s Boris Godunov “because he felt offended by his treatment at the United States Consulate in Berlin when he applied for a work visa and by a lack of sympathy from Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, over confrontations with bureaucracy. ” [NYT]
Once again it takes an out-of-towner to write sensibly about Peter Gelb and the Met, though the “out of town” here refers only to geography: Anne Midgette is at heart and soul a New York newshen. [The Classical Beat]
The good news is that the Met reduced its operating deficit for 2008-2009 to $1.3 million, down from $12.2 million a year earlier. The bad news is the company’s assets fell by $72.6 million (down to $422.7 million) primarily because of investment losses. In other news, the Met paid James Levine a bit more than Peter Gelb received for the fiscal year, slightly over $1.5 million. (La Cieca will now sit back and listen to the online explanations of how unfair this is, because Jimmy actually makes music whereas Gelb just sits in an office all day thinking about how [...]
Intern JJ here, ready to go with live coverage of the Met’s 2010-2011 press announcement, which will begin in about 30 minutes. See you there, cher public! Latest coverage begins after the jump.
The arts journalist La Cieca would like be when she grows up, Zachary Woolfe, continues his analysis of Peter Gelb‘s Met tenure — now all the more interesting since Joe Volpe has returned to the fold. [Observer]