There's an odd twist in yesterday's story about The Metropolitan Opera banning Opera News from reviewing its productions. Met creative director Peter Gelb has reversed his decision. Opera News is free to review productions at The Met because, "the public would miss Opera News not being able to review the Met, and we are responding to that." I can't think of a time where I've seen Peter Gelb this candid before. He says that the decision was reversed because of a "groundswell of disappointment" from people online. I can only hope that it was the disappointment and not ego that fueled this decision.
My inner cynic says Gelb might have banned Opera News reviews just so he could win this debate. If no one responded, then Opera News wouldn't be allowed to criticize his direction. If people did respond, he could demonstrate humility for once and act like he had the public's interest in heart. I warned you it was cynical.
I want to believe the decision is sincere. It's just so hard to imagine someone like Gelb wouldn't anticipate a negative response to silencing the biggest opera publication in America. No matter how it happened, it's a clear victory for criticism and free speech.
What do you think? Did Gelb and Opera News orchestrate the whole thing for headlines? Or did no one anticipate a huge falling out from losing reviews from one magazine? Sound off below.