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Gelb shamed: Met backtracks over Opera News ban

Just 24 hours after Peter Gelb forced Opera News to cease reviewing Met shows, the Metropolitan Opera has put out a statement saying that ‘in view of the outpouring of reaction from opera fans’,  the decision has been reversed.

This is a massive embarrassment for Gelb, who has been made to look vindictive, repressive, isolated and ultimately weak. His name is omitted from the Met statement. It will take him a long time to live this down.

Here’s the full statement:

Opera News Will Continue to Review Metropolitan Opera Productions

May 22, 2012


In view of the outpouring of reaction from opera fans about the recent decision to discontinue Met performance reviews in Opera News, the Met has decided to reverse this new editorial policy. From their postings on the internet, it is abundantly clear that opera fans would miss reading reviews about the Met in Opera News. Ultimately, the Met is here to serve the opera-loving public and has changed its decision because of the passionate response of the fans.

The Met and the Met Opera Guild, the publisher of Opera News, have been in discussions about the role of the Guild and how its programs and activities can best fulfill its mission of supporting the Metropolitan Opera. These discussions have included the role of reviews in Opera News, and whether they served that mission.  While the Met believed it did not make sense for a house organ that is published by the Guild and financed by the Met to continue to review Met productions, it has become clear that the reviews generate tremendous excitement and interest and will continue to have a place in Opera News.


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  1. Hats off to you — you win this round -
    But ———— i bet there will be sneaky inroads to how this is all played out …
    You don’t think that Gelb will let this’ slap in the face rest quietly .
    Annoying people can be declared redundant .. watch for that move .

    • Rosana Martins says:

      Ariel, it’s rather “hats off to us”! Norman acted like a true music lover, rather than allow the situation to remain as Mr.Gelb dictated.

      • Petros Linardos says:
      • Ms, Martins – I was referring to the comment I made to Mr.Lebrecht in which I praised his stance, but
        felt it would go nowhere -he felt otherwise and was correct – that true music lovers have some sort of moral
        compass that guides them in their actions is questionable ,I believe Mr. Lebrecht acted as a concerned citizen to challenge
        the reprehensible act of a person who has yet to arrive to the age of enlightenment . It is not the end of this matter – there is nothing wrong with Mr. Gelb except that he believes he is the omnipotent Peter Gelb .Unless
        he is dismissed he will act on that assumption- and I feel safe to disagree again with the point that he feels
        any sort of embarrassment -

  2. It remains to be seen how critically independent the upcoming Opera News reviews of Met productions will be. Potential reviewers should remember that for many of the performances, there is independent evidence available — of the vocalism, at least — in the form of the online and satellite streams of live Met performances, in addition to the Saturday radio broadcasts. The first performances of a production — the one usually attended by print critics — are habitually streamed live over the web. Any critical punch pulling would be immediately obvious.

  3. Randolph Magri-Overend says:

    Gelb’s not looking so glib then.

  4. Stuart Green says:

    Sounds like Gelb should get together with Tony Woodcock,they could destroy each other!

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