“Margaret, what is it Big Daddy always says when he’s disgusted?” asks the immortal Big Momma in dear Tennessee Williams‘ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which Maggie answers, “He says bull when he’s disgusted.”
Well, your own Big Momma (i.e., La Cieca has been speaking to a Met insider (pictured) about certain recent headline-grabbing events. The insider says, “Bull!”
Now, remember, La Cieca is simply quoting her informant’s information and opinions here:
First I’ll start with the Gelb announcement.
They are in an utter panic as to whether Levine will even be able to remount the podium this season, and what happens in the future. Wilford is not helping matters whatsoever, and Levine’s [difficult] brother acting as liaison makes it all the worse. There are contenders, top among them Nézet-Séguin, who although rumored last season as a potential gentle lead-in replacement was taken out of contention when Philly offered him the Music Director position. [However, changes of events in Philadelphia] might lead Nézet-Séguin to the Met much faster than he, or Levine, thinks….
A certain Golden Girl essentially ended her Met career with that fall production…. From what I understand, all future offers that are not actually contracted have been pulled without discussion. All contracted performances on the table for the next few seasons are being given to the diva as a choice: if the administration feels the repertoire is appropriate and the Golden Girl can still sing it (and those roles are very limited as far as admin. is concerned) she can retain them but must prove in rehearsal that she can actually still sing them. Her choice with the other repertoire they had planned for her is that she gracefully pull out, or she will be unceremoniously bought out of the contract and replaced with little explanation other than vocal or “health” issues….
You might be wondering what happens with the upcoming second addition to the Ring Cycle. With Levine most likely off the podium, a Brünnhilde completely incapable of singing the part, a Wotan who has yet to get though a [production] of Walküre in a house half the size without canceling the majority of performances, and a production twice as long and technically the most complicated of the four that did not have the luxury Rheingold had with rehearsals in the fall, full scale panic has set in…. The one last thing I’ll say about the Golden Girl is that considering what has been occurring concerning her future, don’t be surprised if several others are already in line or being courted to take her place at this very moment as she is the centerpiece of the production and everyone knows she can’t sing it.
One last thing, which I know you won’t want to hear being a fan, Gheorghiu canceling the entire run of her Juliettes claiming illness (for a month, really?) has sealed her fate at the Met.