Back in the Eighties, not long after I arrived in New York, I spent a couple of happy years covering second-cast Metropolitan Opera performances for Opera News. It amazed me that the magazine was willing to publish whatever I wrote, even though I occasionally submitted some pretty rough reviews. Moreover, it impressed me that the Met was willing to allow such reviews to be published, seeing as how Opera News was in essence its house organ. This editorial independence ensured that the magazine was taken seriously and read widely.
It’s now widely felt among knowledgeable operagoers that similarly frank pieces are very much called for these days. Alas, they will no longer be found in Opera News. Peter Gelb, who runs the Met, has castrated the magazine, declaring that it will no longer be allowed to publish reviews of the company’s performances and frankly admitting that the purpose of this decision is to prevent the publication of negative reviews and commentary.
In so doing, he has guaranteed that nothing published in Opera News about the Met, be it positive or negative, will henceforth be taken at face value, and that no reputable music journalist will ever again agree to appear in its pages.
Gelb should be ashamed–and he should reverse his pusillanimous decision at once.
UPDATE: A friend writes:
Thanks for this, Terry–saves me the $23 I would have spent on next year’s subscription.
As well it should.