As the Oxford Companion to Music defines music criticism as the intellectual activity of formulating judgments on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres, it is astounding that the top player of the opera world is so against it, that a leading opera magazine has decided not to review this house’s productions anymore. Newspapers are proclaiming today that the internationally circulated magazine Opera News will no longer review productions from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The New York Times suggests that the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, complained about its bad press in Opera News. It was also alleged that one of the reasons is the pressure that Gelb and his team are under in order to raise funds for its budgets that are in excess of $300 million.
Performing artists need some form of objective opinion about their work in order to assess their progress within the business, but it can also assist their own development to an extend. International standards are often guaged through art/music criticism. Furthermore reviews serve a promotional purpose. How is it that Gelb feels it is better to play the ostrich than fixing the problems on the inside? Is 100% private arts funding a culprit here perhaps?