By Emily Coleman
After rising through the ranks of The Metropolitan Opera from apprentice carpenter to general manager, Joseph Volpe, retiring general manager, was honored at a star-studded Gala Concert last Saturday that will be rebroadcast on Classical 89 tomorrow morning.
Eric Glissmeyer, co-host for the program, said the broadcast, even though it is a delayed broadcast, will be completely “undoctored.”
The Gala Concert, which will end the 2005-2006 season, will be the last live performance done by the company. Classical 89 has been airing the performances since 1971. It is the longest running classical music series in American broadcast history. The broadcasts will cease after tomorrow”s performance due to a lack of funding.
The pre-show, which will air directly before the broadcast, will also provide an opportunity for opera fans to give financial support for broadcasts of the Met Opera as well as other opera offerings on Classical 89.
The Met Opera is also seeking support for their broadcast future through the “Save the Mets Broadcasts Campaign,” launched internationally. Listeners wishing to contribute can contribute by phone at 1-800-METOPERA, on the website www.metopera.org or by mail.
This concert marked an important time in the Met Opera”s 123-year history. In that time, Volpe was one of only 16 people to hold the company”s top job. In addition to this, 80 years have been represented by only four administrations.
Volpe began his career in The Met Opera as an apprentice carpenter in 1964. He is the first manager of The Met Opera to advance through the ranks of company”s management.
According to a press release from The Met Opera, as general manager Volpe greatly expanded the Met”s international touring. The company has visited Spain, Germany and Japan and now has an annual series at Carnegie Hall.
Classical 89 will have a pre-show before the performance that will serve as their own tribute to Volpe”s career.
“Classical 89 broadcasts opera year round on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., even when the Met broadcast season is over,” said Glissmeyer. “We plan to compliment and even sometimes counter-program the repertoire that will be on the gala.”
Because of the retirement of Volpe, many of the singers performing in the broadcast are of critical acclaim.
“The retirement of a general manager is always a major event,” said Walter Rudolph, general manager of Classical 89. “In every generation, there is a small handful of great, great voices and these people will be there for this performance. It”s a once in a lifetime event.”