Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

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lennygoran
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Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by lennygoran » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:39 pm

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Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera


By Michael Cooper

Nov. 25, 2019, 5:18 p.m. ET

The show will go on: Peter Gelb’s contract as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera has been extended through at least 2027, the company announced on Monday.

The five-year extension, which was approved on Thursday by the Met’s board of directors, will give Mr. Gelb at least a 21-year reign at the opera house, the largest performing arts organization in the United States. The only Met general managers with longer tenures than that have been Giulio Gatti-Casazza (who held the post for 27 years beginning in 1908) and Rudolf Bing (1950-72).

Mr. Gelb — who earned $2.1 million in pay and benefits, including for his pension and deferred compensation, in the fiscal year ending in July 2018 — said in a telephone interview that he looked forward to having more time to put into effect the ideas he is forming with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the company’s new music director.

“In opera we plan four to five years ahead of time, so there are some exciting artistic plans that Yannick and I are working on,” he said, “the fruits of which won’t be harvested for years.”


The Gelb era has been transformative, but also tumultuous. A record executive before joining the Met in 2006, he began the company’s successful program of cinema simulcasts, which now shows operas on 2,200 screens in more than 70 countries across six continents. He appointed Mr. Nézet-Séguin, the Met’s first new music director in over four decades. And he has worked to modernize the company by bringing in new stage directors and 81 new productions. There have been 23 Met premieres during his tenure, of both neglected older works and newer ones by composers including John Adams, Philip Glass, Kaija Saariaho and Nico Muhly.

But amid industrywide struggles, Mr. Gelb has also faced fiscal pressures and weak box office revenues, which prompted him to curb expenses, causing occasional labor strife. He had to navigate the case of James Levine, the company’s former music director, who was fired in 2018 after an inquiry the Met commissioned in response to news reports found evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexual misconduct, which he denied. Mr. Levine’s subsequent lawsuit against the Met, and the Met’s countersuit, were quietly settled in August.

When Plácido Domingo, long one of the Met’s biggest stars, was accused in news reports this summer of sexually harassing multiple women, Mr. Gelb initially said he would await the results of an inquiry into the matter before taking action. But after some members of the Met’s company expressed concerns about that approach, the Met asked Mr. Domingo to withdraw from its fall production of “Macbeth” — which he did, adding that he did not expect to ever return.

The financial challenges facing the Met were underscored last week when the news that it had run modest deficits for the past two years — including a $1.1 million deficit on a budget of $312 million in the 2019 fiscal year — prompted S & P Global Ratings to announce that it was keeping the company’s “A” credit rating but revising its outlook to negative, from stable.

“There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of finding the formula for economic stability and sustainability,” Mr. Gelb said.

He and Mr. Nézet-Séguin are planning to bring new works to the Met, collaborate with other New York institutions, and sometimes perform works outside of the opera house.

“It’s very exciting for me to actually be working with somebody who is so creatively engaged in the artistic process, and to have a true artistic partner,” Mr. Gelb said. “It’s something that I wasn’t used to.”

He has also begun to change the Met’s performance schedule to make opera-going more convenient for modern audiences — adding Sunday matinees this season and, in the coming years, taking a break in the depths of winter and adding more performances in the spring. Mr. Gelb said he still hoped to expand the theater’s lobby, which is thronged before performances.

“We are winning new audiences,” he said, noting that this fall’s new productions of the Gershwins’s “Porgy and Bess” and Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten” both sold out. “But we need to win a lot more.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/arts ... opera.html

Lance
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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by Lance » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:06 am

The Met board must like what Gelb is doing to extend his contract for another five years (at least). Who else would be able to handle the circumstances that the Met has/is going through?
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John F
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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by John F » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:14 pm

I'd say the Met's board has taken the line of least resistance, as boards do. Only once has it failed to retain a general manager who wanted to remain: Hugh Southern, who everyone soon realized wasn't up to the job. The Met would have had to be in terrible shape, like actual bankruptcy, for the board to have taken on the difficult task of choosing a new manager from scratch. Much easier not to rock the boat.
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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by barney » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:14 am

In terms of human politics, you make considerable sense, John. But would you rather the board had acted differently?

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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by John F » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:23 am

I've no candidate of my own for the job, now that James Levine is out of the picture. By all accounts he wasn't much of an admnistrator but he did have an ear for talent and the level of casting at the Met is no longer what it was during his prime years.
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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by Lance » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:53 am

Exactly, given credit when it is due regarding Levine. Tragic his career has concluded in this way.
John F wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:23 am
I've no candidate of my own for the job, now that James Levine is out of the picture. By all accounts he wasn't much of an admnistrator but he did have an ear for talent and the level of casting at the Met is no longer what it was during his prime years.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by maestrob » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:01 pm

I have a feeling that this situation will improve with time, as it must. I've watched Nezet-Seguin coach singers, and he has what it takes to bring out the best in these artists. It will take time, but as his reputation spreads great singers will again be attracted to the MET, now that Levine's misdeeds can receed into the past.

barney
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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by barney » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:29 pm

I heard a very young Nezet-Seguin conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing Wagner in Wellington 12 years ago. It was obvious even then that he is a really fine conductor.

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Re: Peter Gelb’s Contract Is Extended at the Metropolitan Opera

Post by THEHORN » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:19 pm

Being general manager of the Met is one of the most thankless jobs in classical music . You're damned if you do and damned if you don't . No matter how hard you try , somebody will always be pissed off about your choice of repertoire , casting, conductors , directors and designers etc .
Some people want to you to do more new operas and others want you to concentrate on standard repertoire . People will complain you aren't getting enough star conductors or not getting the singers they want , for doing traditional productions by Zefirelli and others and doing production of the Eurotrash kind .
It's a no win situation , and it's often very difficult to get the most famous singers and conductors even though you are desperate to do this .

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