Peter Gelb talks to Dan Wakin of the New York Times about forthcoming Met seasons. The prospectus is much as advance rumor led one to expect: a chic list of directors for repertory pieces (Patrice Chéreau, George C. Wolfe, Robert Lepage doing the Ring), a starry assortment of guest conductors (Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen), various collaborative ventures and technological tie-ins. I mentioned the Anthony Minghella Butterfly in my column in December. A lot of this sounds good. After years of committee-ish, catch-up choices at the Met, it's a relief to have an identifiable sensibility at work. I'm especially encouraged by the news that Gelb is lowering prices on a big bloc of tickets, even as he raises prices on the choicest seats. Less encouraging are his ideas about new music. An Osvaldo Golijov opera is a splendid notion, but not exactly daring; the composer had already talked to Joe Volpe about a commission. So what else? I'm not sure what to make of plans for a music-theater workshop with the likes of Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel, Wynton Marsalis, and Michael Torke. It's intriguing, but I have a hard time visualizing how music theater would play in such a huge house, and there's a long list of composers I'd have gone to first (though the choice of Rufus Wainwright may turn out to be inspired). The Met should be doing late twentieth-century classics like Messiaen's St. Francis, Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Glass's Einstein on the Beach. It should have new grand operas by John Adams, Kaija Saariaho, Thomas Adès. It should have an avant-garde wing, in talks with Robert Ashley or Helmut Oehring or Björk or whom have you. Of course, I'm not the one asking for the checks. It's not yet time to pass judgment; check back in 2011. By the way, the Times piece appeared on page 1, which was cool to see.
Correction to the above: It turns out that although Volpe did once suggest an idea for an opera to Golijov the conversation hardly amounted to official talks about a commission.