And Who Would Have Thought I’d Ever Have Anything in Common with the Metropolitan Opera

It looks like me and the Met are now on the same blacklist, and how cool is that?

I used to figure it was just my bad luck that Opera News would publish reviews of a number of other Berkeley Opera (now West Edge Opera) productions but always seemed to skip over mine. Over the years, though, I’ve heard from a few people that Opera News actually made a decision that no review of my work could be published in the magazine. Apparently this was decided about a decade ago, and they’ve stuck to it. I have no idea why — they review lots of Bay Area productions, and they review lots of productions of operas performed in the vernacular or in unorthodox ways. I even know that reviewers have at times asked to be assigned to write a review of one of my productions, and they’ve been refused every time.

What gives? I have no idea why this is, or who decided it, but it seems petty and unprofessional, doesn’t it? Still, I’ve taken a perverse pleasure in knowing that, no matter how unsuccessful I am, no matter how completely unknown I am outside the Bay Area (and not all that well known within it, really), I have somehow managed to acquire one enemy in a high place.

Now Opera News has declared that they will no longer publish reviews of Metropolitan Opera productions. I can only assume that the Met is quivering in its boots.

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4 Responses to “And Who Would Have Thought I’d Ever Have Anything in Common with the Metropolitan Opera”

  1. Lisa Hirsch Says:

    Well – that last line would be funnier if it weren’t for the fact that the Met itself demanded that ON stop reviewing the Met, which people who don’t click through won’t figure out from what you say.

    Your productions are well-liked and well-reviewed in the Bay Area, for good reasons. I should think it would be possible to find out on the operatic grapevine just what gives with ON.

    • dsmarley Says:

      All I know is that at least two reviewers over the last decade or so have asked Opera News (I’ve been told that one of them pleaded) to assign them to review one of my productions, and both were turned down and told ON would not review my adaptations.

      I’m not well connected to the operatic grapevine, and I have no idea who I would ask to learn more. And really, I don’t know that I even want to know more. My works get rejected regularly enough that I don’t feel a need to wallow masochistically in the details behind any particular rejection. I haven’t thought twice about Opera News in at least five years; just was reminded of it by the news.

      • Lisa Hirsch Says:

        The advantage to knowing what’s going on is that if it’s one person making the policy, when that person leaves there’s an opening to get reviewed. If at any point you want to know more, I can ask around. I know people who know people, etc. and can think of two avenues through which I might be able to find something out.

  2. Lisa Hirsch Says:

    P. S. The Met reversed itself.

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