A Response to James Jorden

The Metropolitan Opera’s ongoing labor dispute has hit a bit a lull—there is a freeze in negotiations while an independent financial analysis takes place.

As both sides prepare for the next round of negotiations, a new article has appeared—a piece by James Jorden in the New York Observer. Jorden’s stated goal with this piece is to show that the maligned Peter Gelb is not as bad as we think. Gelb has, Jorden argues, enjoyed many successes over his tenure. Fair enough. I’ve been strongly critical of him here in my blog, but I’m open to hearing a different perspective… particularly from someone who knows him far better than I do.

That said, in reading through the piece, I’m not sure fully agree with Jorden. Let me explain.

* * *

“It’s not hard to understand how the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager Peter Gelb got a bad rap.”

First, I appreciate the honest assessment of some of Gelb’s potential drawbacks in this section. As both sides become more and more entrenched, nuance and balance can go flying out the window. Thank you.

“…as one member of his administrative staff puts it, ‘Nothing can change his mind.’ ”

This hits on a major issue…one that may overwhelm all the others. The problem is that the Met is heading into a tough series of negotiations, and I think it’s fair to say that neither side is going to get everything they want. The union representatives have acknowledged this, with D. Joseph Hartnett of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees stating “We feel that, just as any family that has a budgetary crisis, everything needs to be on the table. And that includes Mr. Gelb’s spending. And if we’re being asked to tighten our belts, Mr. Gelb is gonna have to cut up some credit cards.”

But it is somewhat alarming to see that those closest to Gelb freely state that “nothing can change his mind.” Does that mean he is willing to fight to the death for his positions? Does that mean nothing will convince him that his data could be off? Or there might be better options than the ones he has already chosen?

As I’ve mentioned many times on my blog, this whole situation has an eerie parallel with the Minnesota Orchestra dispute. There, too, leadership simply refused to budge from its pre-established position and never developed a “plan B.” The management’s intransigence was ultimately its undoing—after 16 months the state government had enough, and the City of Minneapolis came within a hair’s breadth of taking over Orchestra Hall.

Refusing to budge can make you look strong, but it can also make you look stubborn… and unsympathetic.

This goes beyond being obstinate in labor negotiations; in general, it is dangerous to have an inflexible leader running a large, complex arts organization. Yes, a strong leader can sometimes be an asset, and sometimes an organization needs an indomitable force of nature to get things done. But it is dangerous to fetishize this autocratic approach to leadership, as there are other ways to push through difficulties and achieve organizational goals.

As I discussed in a previous post, the Harvard Business Review ran a fascinating article that looked into autocratic vs. collective management styles. “How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight,” by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy and L. J. Bourgeois III, suggested that the most effective approach to running an organization was one that encouraged dissent, healthy conflict, and finding win-win solutions. The authors concluded:

[T]eams whose members challenge one another’s thinking develop a more complete understanding of the choices, create a richer range of options, and ultimately make the kinds of effective decisions necessary in today’s competitive environments.

That is not what Peter Gelb seems to be encouraging now.

“When Mr. Gelb defends his management of the Met, he tends to lead with less than his strongest card. Since his first season in 2006-2007, he has doubled the number of new productions the company presented to six or seven a year. Unfortunately, the quality of these has been uneven….”

Agreed, this is a mixed bag at best, and is probably not Gelb’s strongest card. In fact, the varying quality of the productions is most worrisome, and has long-range implications for the future of the Met. For example, these productions may be fully funded by private donors (and a full financial review may help determine if the productions really were fully funded, as Gelb claims), but they also represent a huge drain on the organization’s overall capacity—taking time, attention, and resources from other projects. Plus, as has been pointed out, many of these new productions have fared poorly in revival, meaning that they will remain expensive albatrosses around the Met’s neck for years to come.

I would toss out a different question, too: should new productions be Gelb’s top area of concern right now? Are they providing the strongest possible return on investment, relative to the resources expended? I absolutely agree that new productions are important, if not critical, to the Met’s overall success. But Gelb claims that the Met is in a precarious position right now. Could limited resources be better applied elsewhere, where they might make a more positive impact? Is this emphasis on new productions putting undue strain on the organization’s human resource capacity, and forcing it to rely too heavily on overtime to get things ready on time? Would a scaling back on new productions reduce the overall strain on the Met’s capacity and give it breathing room? Could new productions be done smarter, so that they are cheaper and easier to pull off?

These are honest questions… I don’t have answers. But I think the questions have to be raised.

“It’s going to take the Met’s audience a while to catch up to European sophistication about stage direction…”

This is a curious statement, and one I’m surprised to read. Taste is, of course, a highly subjective thing, and for everyone who lauds current European productions as avant-garde, I can find several more who reject them as “Eurotrash.” Even the Germans seem to have lost patience for over-sophisticated productions; for example, stagings of Wagner’s Ring have drawn raw derision at the Bayreuth Festival for the last two years.  While I speak only for myself, I can appreciate both cutting-edge and traditional stagings—as long as they serve the opera itself. The problem with avant-garde productions is they can be so concerned with making a statement about, say, “patriarchy as hegemonic discourse” that we never get a sense why the two characters standing in front of us fell in love in the first place.

“[I]n the meantime, though, they might keep in mind Mr. Gelb’s greatest triumph at the Met. His comprehensive media initiative is spearheaded by the HD program, which transmits 10 Met performances a season in real time to cinemas across the United States and internationally.”

This is again a curious point to make. I personally think the HD telecasts are great, and many of my friends here in Minneapolis mob the theaters where they are shown. But why are they successful? Based on what criteria? There are concerns that they are not financially self-sustaining, and have not helped diversify the audience by attracting younger viewers. How specifically do they help the organization? What is their goal?

This is important to clarify, because it is possible that this specific initiative could technically be considered “successful,” yet still be a drag on the organization as a whole. Is it a loss leader, and is that sufficient? Or is this program distracting the organization from its core mission? This is, after all, the position of Gelb’s critics, who argue that the telecasts are siphoning off audience members from the live productions…and this is negatively impacting the bottom line. The critics also point out that more and more resources have to be expended to make the costumes, sets and makeup look acceptable for the HD presentations. As a result, workers have to work overtime, blowing a huge hole in the budget, and siphoning off resources that could be used elsewhere.

So again, while I think the HD telecasts are great, I can see the counter-argument that they represent a net drain on the Met’s resources.

“Mr. Gelb has also proven himself adept in the more traditional skills of the impresario. He has introduced to the Met conductors Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti and William Christie.”

I agree that it is important to bring in new talent… and concur that these conductors are certainly important artists. And yes, an arts organization has to concentrate both on its artistic product and its finances to thrive.  I wish, however, there was more of a sense of how these conductors fit into a strategic plan, even an artistic strategic plan. How does bringing them in add value, or help with the Met’s overall mission? Were they scattershot one-offs, or did they build off each other’s strengths? Did these conductors create buzz, and attract audiences? Will they be back? Were they worth the investment, or did Gelb break the bank by bringing in expensive talent with little to show for it?

I am all for bringing in new talent, and can be persuaded that this is indeed one of Gelb’s areas of strength… but I’d like more proof that bringing in these conductors clearly helped the artistic and financial bottom lines.

“The Met’s top-line casting is unrivaled, with practically every important star singer appearing annually.”

This is indeed a current strength… but it has a fragile base. Great singers might be attracted by Gelb’s managerial skill, but I would guess that the more important lures are the Met’s reputation, its reach, and its pay. And if a prolonged, ugly labor dispute breaks out, these incentives will go away. For example, singers (or critically, their agents) may decide it isn’t worth the bad publicity to appear onstage. And while some top performers might be happy to take a pay cut, others may not, particularly over the long-term. And in these cases, it wouldn’t matter how persuasive Gelb is—the singers still probably won’t come.

“Of all Mr. Gelb duties, though, probably his most important, and perhaps his area of greatest success, is development, the art of getting donors to contribute to the not-for-profit company. With less than half the Met’s annual $300 million budget covered by ticket sales and other revenue, that means going hat in hand to donors for more than $150 million.”

Again, curious. I congratulate Gelb on raising this sizable sum, and recognize how much effort it must have taken. That said, I don’t know that I’d call this a unique strength or consider this a unique success—as I’ve mentioned before, the Met is classified by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. This means that by definition, it relies on fundraising for its budget. So really, raising money is one of his most fundamental job duties. I’m also curious as to how Gelb stacks up to his counterparts at similar-sized non-profits, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, PBS, or the Art Institute of Chicago. Does he stand out from his peers? Gelb is described as abrasive in this articles first paragraph—this coming from someone sympathetic to him. Would someone with more charisma enjoy better success with donors?

“And right now Mr. Gelb performs that role better than anyone in the world.”

Well… perhaps. Although I suspect that if that was the case, the Met wouldn’t be in the situation it is right now, and we would not be having this conversation. If things were going great, there wouldn’t be deficits, there wouldn’t be demands for huge budget cuts, there wouldn’t be a decline in ticket sales, there wouldn’t be threats to Opera News to stop publishing negative reviews of the Met’s performances, there wouldn’t be donor fatigue, and there wouldn’t be friction with the unionized workforce.

Since we do have all these problems, I think it’s safe to conclude that Gelb is not doing the right things, or he’s doing things badly. Or both. As I mention throughout this response, many of the initiatives Gelb is pursuing such as the HD simulcasts or the focus on new productions are not necessarily bad, but I’m not convinced they’re the right ones he should be pursuing right now. And based on the Met’s drooping numbers, I don’t know that he’s excelling at them.

Moreover, other opera companies are having banner years, including companies in Chicago, Houston, and St. Louis. If leaders in these companies are enjoying record ticket sales, increased donations, and high levels of community engagement—and Peter Gelb is not—I’m not sure how we can say that “Mr. Gelb performs that role better than anyone in the world.”

* * *

In the end, I hardly begrudge the press for taking a deeper look at Peter Gelb, or pointing out his successes as part of a broader examination of his tenure. I’m still not convinced, however, that his successes have been all that successful.

Xochipilli

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29 thoughts on “A Response to James Jorden

  1. To clarify about the “sophistication” remark: this is not about aesthetic taste but rather about a sense in the audience that a bad production (or a production they don’t like) is not the end of the world. I think because of the higher number of new productions done in European theaters (and therefore the more frequent replacement of even standard repertory pieces) audiences have become accustomed to the idea than an opera production is ephemera. It will play this season, and next, and maybe two or three times in coming years, and then it will go out of the repertoire and the theater will revisit the work with another new production.

    This faster cycling through productions, at least on an intentional basis, is a fairly new idea to Met audiences. (I say “on an intentional basis” because in the 1900s and early 2000, the company burned through two dreadful productions each of Lucia, Trovatore and Faust, none of which stagings survived beyond a second revival.) Because the standard at the Met has been to continue to use a production of a standard opera until it literally crumbles into dust, the Met audience has come to think that until a production crumbles into dust, no renewal or rethinking is necessary. I think this is an unsophisticated and even provincial attitude, and it’s something of a hurdle that Gelb has to overcome, .e.g., “Why do we need a new Tosca? The 20 year old Zeffirelli sets can still stand up.”

    Relative to the Met’s budget as a whole, there is not much money to be saved by cutting back on productions: at the most perhaps $8 million a year out of $300 million, or something less than 3% of the whole. But it would fundamentally damage the central mission of the opera house, which is to present well-prepared staged opera. That doesn’t mean revivals of shows whose directors are long dead or so gaga they can’t be trusted to sit in the theater, and it doesn’t mean trying to revisit someone’s 30 year old interpretation. The constant re-examination and renewal of the operatic repertoire is a, if not “the” central mission of an opera house; the presentation of revivals is really ancillary to this primary function. (And, ideally, each revival should be at least in part a revision of the original production: the original director should return and have a full rehearsal period with the new cast, instead of trying to make one size fit all for two or three decades of performers. A production of, say, “Manon Lescaut” with Kristine Opolais is going to emphasize certain dramatic qualities whereas even with the same sets and costumes and basic stage movement, the Manon of Anna Netrebko is going to be a quite different characterization. This kind of detailed revision is only possible if the production has a fairly brief shelf life.

    The company is already economizing on new productions: the 2010 “Traviata” cost, adjusted for inflation, only a little more than a third of what the 1998 production did. The “Prince Igor” had a net cost of $1.5 million less than the original estimate because a co-producer signed on during the creative process. So, yes, economies are being made. However, suggesting that the production budget be slashed by $10 million (as Local 802 proposed) is very poor economy: not much money is saved, and the Met suffers enormous artistic damage.

    So that’s what I mean by “sophistication” — the idea that new productions are central to a theater’s mission and that failed productions are not catastrophic. I would even go so far as to say that the occasional failed production is part of the price one pays for successful ones: the experimental process that generates brilliant productions also inevitably generates some flops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your detailed response—you bring up important points that certainly need to be raised.

      And I agree that the creation of new art should be at the core of the Met’s mission, for exactly the reasons you point out. And in a perfect world, that would be an end to the conversation… we would shake hands and eagerly await the season premiere.

      For me, the difficulty is that Peter Gelb has pointedly said that the Met is teetering on the brink of ruin. He has announced a $2.8 million deficit, and demanded steep cuts in order for the organization to winter the storm. And in those terms, I look at things slightly differently. You are correct in pointing out that the $8 million in new production costs is a tiny portion of the Met’s $300 million budget… but partial cuts there would more than cover the deficit. I want the Met to continue innovative programming and staging, but I have to believe there are ways to shave expenses—you can be fresh innovative without having to break the bank. And these cuts will no doubt be linked with other cuts throughout the organization.

      To me, it seems Gelb wants the Met to preserve his vision of artistic excellence at the cost of sacrificial pay cuts by the singers, musicians, and workers of the Met, and I’m not sure that’s the right decision, or that he has struck the right balance.

      And I greatly appreciate that last paragraph of your response. Yes. Absolutely. The only thing that I would add is that when one of the inevitable flops comes around, the institution has to have the mechanisms and strength to absorb them, without suffering calamity. That’s where strategic planning—and strategic artistic planning—become so important. My fear with the Met’s situation is that the only plan is simply to cut workers’ pay, and I’m not sure that’s sustainable over the long-term.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is a canard, that the only problem is a $2.8 million deficit. For one thing, that figure will be a good deal larger this year, and for another, that $2.8 million loss is accomplished only by dint of extraordinary fundraising at a level that cannot realistically be sustained. Gelb has stated this argument in exactly these terms, i.e., that the Met cannot continue to depend on covering $150 million or more in shortfalls through the generosity of donors. These donors get tired and they get tapped out eventually. So The Met needs to produce opera in a more economical way, and logically the largest economies should come from the largest line item in the current budget, i.e., the over $200 million spent annually on compensation.

        What I am hearing from the unions is, “cut anything and everything, but not a penny from my paycheck, Jack,” which is not exactly how teamwork works.

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      • More good thoughts, but let me take a few minutes to respond.

        Yes, many sources have warned that the next financial report will be worse. But to my knowledge we have only gotten two bits of information in the ramp up to the lockout: 1) the last reported deficit was $2.8 million, and 2) Gelb wants concessions totaling $30-35 million. I’m not the first person to wonder what the connection is—if the deficit is $2.8 million, why do they need $35 million in cuts? Where did that larger number come from? Has the Met released projections that explain this?

        And in regards to the fact that only superhuman fundraising kept the deficit from being worse, let me share a curious point from the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute. Board documents revealed that when it came time for the annual financial report, the board contracted a PR firm to determine a deficit number that would be high enough to demonstrate the need for the kind of cuts they were proposing, but not so high as to spark outright alarm. So, the board settled on a $6 million deficit (on a budget of $27 million or so). While it was not documented directly in the minutes, there was much “off the record” discussion that the organization modified their fundraising to meet the $6 million deficit goal, and several board members reduced their annual giving as a result. Records also revealed that the board manipulated endowment draws to create specific financial targets—surpluses for when they approached the state for bonding money, and deficits when they began negotiations. So I approach budgets with a fair amount of skepticism.

        As to the $150 million in fundraising. I do not want to suggest that that is an easy target to hit. It is hard work, and I’m glad I don’t have to raise it. But with all due respect, that’s the principal job duty of the leader of a non-profit—any non-profit. His colleagues in other non-profits of similar size are engaged in fundraising at a similar level. And while I am fully aware of the difference between raising money for general operating and a capital campaign, I don’t know that Gelb is doing himself any favors by claiming that as soon as the unions take $35 million in cuts, the board will launch a $300 million campaign for the endowment. It begs the question why they can raise $300 million, but not $2.8 million and cover the deficit.

        Yes, the $200 million personnel budget is a large pool, and it is tempting to make cuts there because it is so large. My only concern is that there may be better areas elsewhere, where the cuts make less of an impact and give a better rate of return.

        I feel I have heard the unions say they were open to taking cuts, and provided a link in the above story. That said, I’m not particularly close to the story and maybe word on the street is different.

        But while we may disagree, thank you for the input!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just learned that Peter Gelb’s father is/was the former managing editor of the NYT. This makes things fall into place. The publisher of the StarTribune in Minneapolis is on the board of the MN Orchestra Association.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Certainly never a secret, Sarah. It’s an accomplished and highly influential NYC family, starting with the self-made father and the mother, a niece of Heifitz and a stepdaughter of playwright and New Yorker writer S.N. Behrman, and continuing at least to Gelb’s own son David who made the excellent 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Arthur Gelb just died at 90 and his understandably long obituary in the NYT is well worth reading. Peter Gelb has certainly never hidden the connection nor the calls Arthur Gelb made when he was still a kid to get him internship and bottom-rung arts jobs when it was clear that that was what Peter Gelb wanted to do. Arthur and his wife Barbara Stone Gelb were also heavy-research-driven biographers of playwright Eugene O’Neill. See, too, Maureen Dowd’s very strange NYT op-ed column about her recent dinner with Peter Gelb. As she writes, she was a protégé of and very fond of Arthur Gelb. There are certainly strong Times history connections with the MET, for better or worse.

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      • No, not a secret to people who follow such things. But for the casual observer wanting to know the details of what is going on, a crucial relationship to be aware of.

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  2. I’ve really enjoyed your thoughtful and reasonable analysis of this situation as it has developed. The most incisive and informative commentary I’ve seen. Cheers to independent and catty bullshit-free voices of reason without agendas or axes to grind! Keep up the good work man, it’s been a refreshing change of pace from what I’ve read elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Reflections on Anthony Tommasini’s Piece in the Times | Mask of the Flower Prince

  4. In my reading, nowhere in the Met Musician’s 84 page presentation
    (http://www.local802afm.org/MetMusicians/2014-07-25_802-Presentation_Gelb.pdf) does it say don’t do new and exciting new productions. It just says that
    IF financial times are tough (yet to be proven with any real numbers),
    perhaps cutting back (which the Met is already doing) from 6 or 7 new
    productions to 5 in a season, and do them more fiscally responsibly, the Met
    could have saved over $15 Million (in a year with a $2.8 Million deficit).
    Most importantly, this would ALSO cut labor costs. However, it seems as
    though Met Management feels that this would cut the artistic standard MORE
    than cutting the compensation of the people who perform the operas day in
    and day out by 16%; a number they have refused to budge on since February.
    Please keep in mind that the Met has ALWAYS done 4-5 new productions a
    season, so it is a bit of a stretch to say, as Jordan has, that the Met
    would “suffer enormous artistic damage.”

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    • The presentation calls for doing five productions for half the cost of what the Met is currently spending on seven. So, fewer productions, of significantly lower quality. Yes, I call that “enormous artistic damage.”

      Try cutting the orchestra budget IN HALF and see what kind of results you get.

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      • If you take away just the amount of money that was spent to reinforce the entire building so that it could bear the weight of the new ‘Ring’ machine, the savings would be enormous. It’s expenditures like that, of which there have been many, that have caused the costs of new productions to sky-rocket. You seem to miss the point that it is the quality of the music, and not the razzle-dazzle of the sets that brings opera lovers out to buy tickets and attend the performances.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You seem to miss the point that opera doesn’t always have to involve significant “razzle dazzle”.

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      • If a person is more interested in high-tech, over-the-top production gimmicks than the quality of the music (i.e, mic’d singers and no or very tiny orchestras), that person should head over to Broadway. I heard ‘Cosi’ at La Scala in July. A new production that was obviously not a budget buster, it was wonderful. The Italian audience certainly seemed to enjoy it, bells and whistles or no bells and whistles.

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      • Mr. Jorden: I appreciate your perspective. However, I believe that the musicians’ position is precisely that they *do not* want to inflict artistic damage. If you look at the MET Musicians’ presentation (http://www.local802afm.org/MetMusicians/2014-07-25_802-Presentation_Gelb.pdf) in their Cost Savings Measures page, the New Productions proposal states an average proposed cost of $2.2M is based on the fact that the MET was able to create excellent new productions for an average of $2.2M (inflation adjusted) as recently as the 2005-06 season. This is nearly $1M less than Mr. Gelb’s average. Do you feel that new productions prior to 2006 were lower quality than today’s new productions, though they were produced with less? Similarly, do you feel that the *quantity* of new productions correlates with artistic quality? Thank you for your thoughts.

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  5. You know, I almost hesitate to offer this, because it’s something that could be misinterpreted. We will call it a musing. I know that times were tough in the Bliss era of the 1970s as well, and this is when John Dexter flourished there as the titled director of production — in part because he could deliver good work on a shoestring. “The English director was an articulate champion of bare-bones productions; instead of being discouraged by the Met’s financial problems, he found them inspiring […] He believed that removing extravagance from a production gave range to the intelligence and imagination of the director and designer. The more sparse the production, the more creativity was called upon, and the results were far more interesting than a more traditional stage set.” [Fielder, Molto Agitato, 108]

    Now, I realize that John Dexter is long gone, from the Met and from the earthly realm. I realize he could be difficult and his departure was acrimonious. And let’s say for the sake of argument that there is no one like him today who would want the job. Might there still not be lessons to be drawn from this period and this philosophy, and applied in the present day? Dexter gave the Met many acclaimed and durable productions in those years. Not everything worked. He was generally more successful with 20th-century works than with the warhorses, but Lulu, Billy Budd, and Carmélites were theatrical triumphs, and the Vespri and Don Carlo were much loved. Were even the least of his efforts, e.g., Aïda and Rigoletto, worse than the Met’s current Don Giovanni, Tosca, and Faust?

    Thanks to both you and James J. for your points. I am following this story closely without feeling very fired up about getting behind either side. I hope the best for the 2014-15 season.

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    • I can hardly imagine how demoralizing it must be to work for a man who has states openly, in an interview, that opera is dying. Should that man *really* be running an opera company?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for your well-reasoned and well-stated rebuttal to James Jorden. I have been an avid reader of both Parterre, Jorden’s website/blog, and Mr. Jorden’s reviews in the New York Observer and—prior to that—the New York Post.

    It seems odd that after panning most of Gelb’s new productions (with the exception being the five mentioned in the Musical America article referenced above and at most 3-4 more since that article was written) Jorden should both defend him and praise Gelb as an impresario. Don’t successful impresarios put on shows that the public wants to see and even get a bit more critical praise?

    Until recently, Parterre, was a free-for-all of Gelb bashing. Jorden posted links to his reviews; commenters bemoaned the lackluster stagings and bewailed Gelb’s artistic choices. Nowadays, Parterre has fostered a climate of disdain, contempt, and downright vitriol towards the Met’s unionized workers. Jorden, writing as La Cieca, loves to share Alan Gordon’s (Executive Director of the union that represents the chorus and the singers) memos to the union members. Gordon’s inflammatory rhetoric, put on public display, provokes a snarkfest towards Gordon, the chorus, and unions in general. Jorden’s posting of the orchestra’s 84-page proposal for cutbacks provoked a similar snarkfest.

    I find it incomprehensibly heart-wrenching that in a website allegedly devoted to the love of opera should so much disdain and disrespect be displayed toward the hard-working artists who put on the show, seven times a week. The Met’s orchestra and chorus are among the best in the world; why do “opera fans” resent them and/or their compensation so much?

    Perhaps Jorden, as a member of the press, has been ordered to “puff” Gelb just like Minnesota press clearly took the Minnesota Orchestra management’s perspective during that debacle. Or perhaps Jorden—a respected opera director in many circles—has himself run afoul of union regulations and felt his artistic vision was compromised. Of course, this is nothing but conjecture.
    I fear that should Gelb lockout the union, Jorden and his snarky friends may very well undermine or even prevent the kind of public support the Minnesota Orchestra had. That support was no small factor in ending the lockout and bringing back Maestro Vanska.

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