In what La Cieca hopes may be a quiet voice of reason, or, failing that, just for the sake of clarity, she would like to quote from the press release announcing the Met’s program for the summer of 2008.

“We are trying something new this summer, which we think will be especially appealing to all New Yorkers,’ said Met General Manager Peter Gelb.

And now a line from yesterday’s item in the New York Times:

Peter Gelb, the Met general manager, called the plan an experiment.

One detail conspicuous by its absence is any statement by a Met official saying there will never be a return to the traditional Parks format. In fact, the most that has been said is that this summer the company will try as an experiment a different sort of presentation. The implication here is that if the experiment should not return favorable results, there are several options available: dropping the new format and returning to the old format are two.

The Met has done Parks concerts in essentially the same format for 40 years now.  Surely any institution bears re-examination after that long a time. It may be that in the summer of 2009 the Met will return to the traditional opera in concert format. It may be that they will present another gala concert like the one planned for this summer. Or they may do something entirely different. But unless they try something new, how will they ever be able to implement the next great idea.

In 1967, the “next great idea” was concert opera performances in New York City’s parks. This program was introduced several years after the Met ceased its regular Tuesday night out of town performances in Philadelphia and as the company was gradually cutting back on it annual national tour.  Surely  Rudolf Bing and his staff faced at least some opposition for trying something that flew in the face of tradition. Fortunately, though, Bing had the same firmness of resolve that Peter Gelb has displayed in his incumbency at the Met thus far.