How the Met was fixed
By Norman Lebrecht / November 11, 2004
The Metropolitan Opera House in New York regards itself, with some justice, as the world's greatest. In America, it has no close competitor: the Met's annual deficit can exceed the entire operating budget of its nearest rival.
As the sole gateway to US fame, the Met has a monopoly on singing talent. Renee Fleming, Magdalena Kozena, Anne-Sofie von Otter -- divas beyond the reach of Covent Garden -- appear several times each season at the Met. Everything the Met does is massive. With 3,800 seats to sell, programmes are familiar and stagings spectacular. The archtepyal Met show involves a gold curtain, several zoo animals and Franco Zeffirelli. When the Met sneezes, the rest of the opera world catches pneumonia.
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