EDITOR’S NOTE: In response to repeated urging by La Cieca (left), Our Own Dawn Fatale (right) has devised a “to do” list for the benefit of Met management, assuming the company makes it out of this summer alive. The listicle follows the jump.
Turn the Met Around
- Dream Big. Ambitious programming will excite the audience and the company. Endless runs of Aida, Boheme, and Carmen will have everyone in the doldrums. (PS: “Ambitious” doesn’t have to mean “expensive.”)
- Experiment. The next few seasons have to include experiments in terms of venue, timing, pricing, and repertoire to see what brings in the new audience the Met needs and deserves. The new contracts have to allow for flexibility.
- Create More Content Unique to the Met: Shared productions are budget-friendly, but there need to be more great productions that can only be seen at the Met—particularly of operas that are closely associated with the company like the Wagner works. Do this, even if this means cutting back slightly on the numbers of new productions.
- Kill the Five-Year Plan. The Met hires more major artists for more performances than any other company on earth. That means the Met can take the lead in doing away with this unimaginative and wasteful method of programming. Plan as if your next season were your last unless it goes really, really well.
- Show Your Math. If you are going to take out a full page ad in the Times, then provide the math to…
- Show Your Forecast. Share your high-level plan. If the Met is beginning an endowment campaign, share your high-level plan. There will be unprecedented demands on donors over the next few seasons, so you have to be transparent and honest if you want them to keep opening their checkbooks.
- Ditch the Lepage Ring. It was a dud, and no one wants to pay to see it again. The overtime costs in reviving it will be unprecedented. Better to get the Schenk Ring out of the deep freeze or, better, borrow someone else’s. In the meantime, start planning for the New New Ring so it can get on the boards early in the 2020s.
- Make the Trains Run on Time. The Met has to fix its existing productions that have endless intermissions caused by scenic designs that don’t work in the house (Lucia is exhibit A.) They kill the dramatic momentum of the show and make going to the opera more of an ordeal than it should be. While you’re at it, address those “brief pauses” in works like Eugene Onegin that leave the audience bored and firing up their smartphones for the five minutes it apparently requires to move a few chairs around.
- Buy One HD/Get One Free: Give every HD subscriber one free pass to bring a guest to the screening of their choice during the season.
- Page Dr. Repertoire: Run your proposed new production teams and designs by the dramaturgs in waiting at parterre box. We’ll tell you what will work!
As excellent as Dawn’s suggestions are, La Cieca feels that a mere 10 feels a bit skimpy. So she challenges you, cher public, to come up with more serious, thoughtful ideas about what can be done to turn the Met around. Should we reach a nice round 100 “to dos,” La Cieca pledges she will personally send the conflated list directly to Peter Gelb himself.