Institutional Note:
Klinghoffer and the Met
26 June 2014

¶ At The New Yorker, Alex Ross deplores Peter Gelb’s handling of the Klinghoffer broadcast, and questions the director’s achievements so far. Ross calls attention to hints of mortality at the Met that we can only pray a complacent board will not fail to see. (via ArtsJournal)

Especially disheartening is the fatalistic tone that Gelb has struck in discussing the Met’s biggest crisis, “Klinghoffer” notwithstanding: the ongoing negotiations with the sixteen unions that represent the Met’s great beehive of performers and workers. Gelb has said that expenses have become ruinous and that employees must accept cuts. The unions have responded by blaming Gelb for rising expenses and diminishing receipts. The underlying financial situation is difficult for an outsider to assess, and Gelb may have valid points to make. But he loses credibility when he blames wider cultural trends for the Met’s particular problems: “There aren’t enough new audience members replacing the older ones who are dying off. It’s no secret that the frequency of operagoing in the U.S. is decreasing.” Such actuarial language is unworthy of the leader of one of the world’s largest arts institutions. Incidentally, Gelb has revealed that seventy-five per cent of the Live in HD audience is sixty-five or older. “Those are people who are so old that they can’t go the Met, to the theatre, anymore,” he has said. This, apparently, is the same audience that would have become bloodthirsty after a viewing of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

One Response to “Institutional Note:
Klinghoffer and the Met
26 June 2014

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