New Era Brings Buzz (and Big Budgets) to the Met
By Anthony Tommasini
In his mission to reinvigorate the Metropolitan Opera, Peter Gelb, who completed his second season as general manager on Saturday night, has inaugurated outreach campaigns and digital-media ventures that are the envy of the opera world. There have been the enormously popular live high-definition transmissions of broadcasts to movie theaters worldwide, and the Met's lively 24-hour station on Sirius satellite radio. Mr. Gelb has proved a master of marketing and drawn high-profile directors from film and theater into the house.
It has all been exciting. It has also been expensive. As The Wall Street Journal reported last month, the Met's operating budget has grown more than 21 percent in two years, to a projected $268.3 million, and the company is drawing down nearly 6.5 percent yearly on its endowment. Mr. Gelb confirmed on Tuesday that this year's deficit will be $6 million to possibly $10 million. He added, though, that last year the Met had a break-even budget, and he anticipates another for next year.
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