发信人: yschong (yschong), 信区: OperaHouse
标 题: No news ... is good news?
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Fri May 25 03:30:35 2012, 美东)
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
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. The move came after a review in April
took aim at the Met’s new production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle — a
hallmark of Mr. Gelb’s tenure that has led to a firestorm — and after a
top Opera News editor criticized the Met’s direction in a scathing essay in
the May issue.
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.
Last month Mr. Gelb protested to WQXR over a blog posting that called his
leadership into question. It was immediately pulled. Last year the Met asked
a blogger to stop revealing programming choices for future seasons before
the official announcement. The blogger complied.
The newest subject of wrath is Opera News. Citing a circulation of 100,000,
the largest for a classical music magazine in the country, it provides
information on Met casts and broadcasts and glossy profiles of star singers.
Along with features on other opera houses, performers of past eras and
festivals, it also publishes critiques of performances around the world by
knowledgeable and respected reviewers. They have included professional
musicians, academics and local newspaper critics.
“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.
During Mr. Gelb’s tenure, the Met has tightened the reins on the guild.
The company’s assistant manager for operations, Stewart Pearce, was made
managing director of the guild, and the Met plays a stronger role in its
educational programs. Three guild board members also have ex officio
positions on the Met board, and donors solicited by the Met receive a
subscription to the magazine as a perquisite. Slightly fewer than half the
subscribers receive it that way.
Mr. Gelb may have reason to be more sensitive these days. He is under
enormous pressure to raise money for the Met’s voracious seasons, which
command budgets in excess of $300 million. Mr. Gelb has also been a tireless
promoter of theatrically innovative productions and the importance of
replacing old productions with new ones. Both leave him open to fire from
critics and traditionalists.
Opera News has reviewed Met productions continuously since at least the mid-
1970s, Mr. Driscoll said. While not frequent, negative notices have
periodically made their way in, to the discomfiture of previous Met
administrations. But no ban was imposed, at least in recent decades.
In the April issue, a review by Fred Cohn criticized the staging of Gö
tterdämmerung, 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.
One prominent opera supporter saw the ban as something else: censorship.
“It is irrational and interferes with the business of presenting artistic
events,” said Nathalie Wagner, president of the Wagner Society of New York
and a longtime Opera News subscriber. “Censorship doesn’t work in other
countries, and it should not exist here. We think Opera News does an
excellent and a vital job in covering opera.”
David J. Levin, a professor at the University of Chicago and the editor of
the academic journal Opera Quarterly, also criticized the decision. “It’s
inconceivable to me that the Met wouldn’t welcome nuanced and challenging
criticism,” he said. If the Met is serious about presenting innovative
productions and repertory, he added, they should not be met with a “rubber
※ 来源:·WWW 未名空间站 海外: mitbbs.com 中国: mitbbs.cn·[FROM: 174.88.]