They are both aware of these issues, but somehow these points don't emerge in the articles, other than that Tommasini does mention the misbegotten Lepage Ring in passing, a production that Peter Gelb has unsuccessfully tried to pass off as innovative and risk-taking. (To repeat why this isn't so: a unit-set production with terrible Personregie isn't innovative. It's dumb.) In any event, my major point is that I do not think the words "artistic risk" and "Met" can reasonably be used in relation to each other.
- The Met has close to 4000 seats to fill, hence the tourist-friendly, everpresent Zefirelli Boheme and its ilk.
- The company operates in an expensive city with expensive union contracts.
- Some of the big donors are conservative to a fault: note the Sibyl Harrington Foundation's lawsuit over the Dieter Dorn Tristan, which is spare but not in any way radical.
- The Met's idea of "risk" is that Willy Decker Traviata that, again, is pretty conventional, or the Prince Igor that Tommasini discusses. Yes, the Igor is reimagined in an interesting way, and it is a rarity, but it is not musically risky, being full of beautiful tunes.
- The Met has whole seasons where only two operas of 25 were written later than Turandot. This year, there are three: The Rake's Progress, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and The Death of Klinghoffer. Of these, only Klinghoffer represents much of a risk, and that is not because of its musical idiom.