Alex Ross Couldn’t Be More Right (again)

The 6/25/2014 edition of The New Yorker published an article by Alex Ross which examines the Metropolitan Opera’s (Met) ongoing “Klinghoffer” saga. Ross adds yet one more prominent voice of reason to the growing chorus of negative feedback surrounding the Met’s series of executive decisions that produced their decision to cancel the opera’s broadcasts. At the same time, Ross adds an additional bit of observational insight that connects “Klinghoffer” with the ongoing labor dispute in such a way that casts genuine doubts on the Met’s executive credibility.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-003It is an excellent piece and one of the best examples yet that helps provide a reasonable frame of reference while watching the labor dispute unfold.

In the wake of Ross’ article, it is difficult to imagine that the “Klinghoffer” saga will serve as nothing more than an Albatross around the neck of the Met’s leadership, both inside the bargaining room and within the broader realm of public scrutiny. Nonetheless, it will be fascinating to see whether or not this has any impact on the institution’s governance as it navigates what is almost certainly going to be a challenging season.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “Alex Ross Couldn’t Be More Right (again)

  1. “(Gelb) earned a generous salary of $1.8 million. When that figure, which includes benefits, surfaced last week, Tino Gagliardi, speaking for the A.F.M., told the Times, ‘Local 802 doesn’t take any issue with the general manager of the Met earning a competitive salary. Our position is that the person needs to be effective in that position.'” Ouch.

    Also, why perform an opera that tends to alienate or infuriate–whether justified or not–some percentage of your major contributors?

  2. A few comments:

    I support free speech and the right of the Met to put on any opera of any kind, including for example a racist/sexist/pornographic opera.
    When I watch John Adams’ remarks http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2014/jun/18/the-death-of-klinghoffer-if-john-adams-opera-isnt-anti-semitic-how-can-it-fan-anti-semitism
    He comments that he wants listeners to “see the humanity” of both sides and that there “have to be reasons why they [the terrorists] did this” He included no such view of both “sides” in his 9/11 work “On the Transmigration of Souls”
    To Alex Ross, what is wrong with saying America is one big Jew? Is that an insult?
    Finally, just because an opera doesn’t directly incite violence doesn’t mean it is not harmful.

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