Saturday, July 26, 2014
Peter Gelb Part II
I always intended to write a Peter Gelb Part II after my Peter Gelb Part I. Missing from the previous essay was a dollar figure attached to each production. The main problem with any of these productions I discussed is how much they cost. The infamous Ring is the high end at $19.6 million. Gelb seems to think spending money on productions is a good thing. It is significant to note that new productions are usually separately funded from the general budget.
What exactly is the problem with Peter Gelb? I think this can be briefly summarized: he imagines himself to be saving the opera genre and not managing the Metropolitan Opera. He seems to correlate spending money on productions with saving opera, a significant logical mistake.
His actual job is to manage the Metropolitan Opera which basically consists of putting on operas people will enjoy, hiring singers to sing them while keeping the budget in balance. I think a sensible opera board would fire him asap. He would be vastly more successful if he stuck strictly to his real job.
And now we hear this. Here is an article that suggests that what we are now witnessing is simple union busting. I like it that the author cites a couple of illegal things going on. Labor law in the US is strict. If he's right, let's hope that shortly after the lock out will come the law suit. The goal of union busting is to get rid of the unions, not merely to reduce their pay.
I have already suggested that there will be no 2014-15 Met season. And I so wanted to see Anna Netrebko sing Lady Macbeth.
It has been suggested that we lend them David Gockley, a man who actually knows how to manage an opera company.
I remind myself at this point of my recent Friday night visit to the San Francisco Opera where lots of young people were seen. Are we sure opera really needs saving?
P.S. The extension of the lockout deadline gives me at least a little hope.
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Doc, good thoughts - you should post links to your blog on Twitter and FB.
Umm, need to point out re: your "union-busting" comment that the singers have an average salary of $200K and are upset that they are being offered a high deductible health care plan. All I can say is, welcome to 2014. The gravy train pulled out of the station in terms of cadillac health care plans for private sector unions a LONG time ago. This is one of the reasons tickets are unaffordable.
If I got the feeling they were bargaining over specific features of the change, I would be a lot less horrified.
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