Cher Public

Gettin’ Ligeti Wit It

macabreWhen invited to participate in a discourse on artistic standards (hello, internet!), it’s easy — pleasurable, even — for an aesthete to bray about “the fall.” Where are the true heldentenors? Your kingdom for a Callas! (Or a Stratas, or a Rysanek!) And might the public, at long last, deserve a stable of directors who possess the good sense to avoid both the trope-y familiar as well as the ill-advised pathways of, ugh, the modern? Read more »

Rear view

looking_back“The Met at this point is not a place where even a talented opera director can make good, strong work, let alone a place where a director inexperienced with the genre — as so many of Mr. Gelb’s favored artists are — can be guided toward an understanding of it.” Gadfly-at-large Zachary Woolfe takes “A Look Back at Peter Gelb’s Met.” [New York Observer]

United we…?

backstageWe’ve all had a rough time in the last few years; but cultural institutions have had it worse than they could have possibly imagined. With a business model that relies entirely on private donations to achieve fiscal viability, the challenge to make ends meet has never been greater.  Read more »


“I agree that Gelb has had problems actually identifying what’s going to make a successful production. But I submit that the real problem is exactly the same problem the Met had under Gelb’s predecessor, Joe Volpe: not that the company engages unusual directors, but that it doesn’t let them actually do what they’re good at. Gelb seems to me to have the same micromanaging side that Volpe did: the side that would see something unusual in a new production, get nervous about it, and try to rein it in.” [The Classical Beat]

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Forced perspective

As we approach the end of the first all-Peter Gelb season at the Met, there’s already a certain amount of editorial judgment on the General Manager’s “aesthetic agenda.” That’s only fair, of course: judgement is what critics do.  

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That Touch of Munk

Getting the “screaming heads” treatment on CNBC is not good news for Peter Gelb.

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La Cieca’s favorite couple of sentences from that Vanity Fair piece, and why

“Volpe, who is 69, wants to set the record straight, now that Peter Gelb is being held up as the architect of a new, dynamic Met: with enough money, he too could have been creative. ‘Peter spends money in ways I never could,’ Volpe told me. ‘If I had Mercedes Bass and I could have spent money upon money in those days, it would have been a lot different. But I couldn’t. You know, I couldn’t’.”

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Market Sher

La Cieca hears that Bartlett Sher has already signed a new three-opera deal with the Met. The director, who completes his first trifecta with next season’s Le Comte Ory, will reportedly return to the company in 2013-2014 for two productions, one of which will be that new Nico Muhly work, Two and a Half Men or whatever it’s called. 

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