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Well, that’s one way to solve the bad review problem…

May 22, 2012

… I guess the other way would be to put on better performances

From the New York Times:

Opera News, 76 years old and one of the leading classical music magazines in the country, said on Monday that it would stop reviewing the Metropolitan Opera, a policy prompted by the Met’s dissatisfaction over negative critiques. The decision by the magazine, which is published by a Met fund-raising affiliate, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and which freely reviews companies around the world, troubles some opera experts. It is also the latest sign of sensitivity from the Met under its general manager, Peter Gelb, in the face of criticism over its productions.[…] Mr. Gelb said in an interview on Monday that the decision was made “in collaboration with the guild” but that he never liked the idea that an organization created to support the Met had a publication passing judgment on its productions. Worse yet, he said, is a publication that “continuously rips into” an institution that its parent is supposed to help.[…]

“As of the June 2012 issue, Opera News is not reviewing Metropolitan Opera productions,” F. Paul Driscoll, the magazine’s editor in chief, said in a terse telephone interview. He declined to elaborate but acknowledged that no other opera company had been banished from its pages.[…]

In the April issue, a review by Fred Cohn criticized the staging of Götterdämmerung, the final work in the “Ring” cycle. The productions of the four operas, which finished their run this month and were directed by Robert Lepage, were the subject of much critical scorn, although they had many fans too. Mr. Lepage’s huge piece of machinery used for all the operas functioned as a lightning rod. “The physical scale of Robert Lepage’s ‘Götterdämmerung’ may have been immense, but its ambitions seemed puny,” Mr. Cohn wrote.

An essay in the May issue by Brian Kellow, the features editor, may have spelled the end. It read, “The public is becoming more dispirited each season by the pretentious and woefully misguided, misdirected productions foisted on them.” Mr. Gelb singled out the line in Monday’s interview. Such negative comments from a publication that is part of a Met support organization “certainly would not be in the best interests of the Met,” he said.[…]

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 22, 2012 10:37 pm

    That was fast:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/arts/music/metropolitan-opera-reverses-itself-on-review-ban.html

    Still, I have to wonder about the editorial independence of Opera News after Gelb showed his had as willing to “crack down.” Will we ever see an opinion in its pages as freely expressed as May’s essay?

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