But Mr. Gelb said that the Met will have to think and act differently in the future if it is to survive. “It’s really going to ultimately require an economic reset of the Met,” he said, declining to elaborate.
The pandemic will keep audiences away for longer than the labor unrest that halted weeks of performances in 1969 and 1980 — two interruptions that the Met took years to recover from, with some audience members not returning after the gaps. Mr. Gelb is already thinking about how the company will change.
“We’re going to have to be more nimble and more flexible,” he said, “and if anything we’re going to hope to have even more new productions, and more new experiences, to try to stimulate more interest.”
The abbreviated season to come will look very different from what was planned. Because of the lack of time for mounting technical rehearsals, which are usually held in the summer, the Met is postponing planned new productions of Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” and “Don Giovanni,” and will stage revivals of their old productions instead. Two new productions that had been planned for the fall, Verdi’s “Aida” and Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel,” have been postponed until later seasons. In February, when the house had been scheduled to be dark, the Met plans to stage popular titles, including Puccini’s “La Bohème,” Bizet’s “Carmen” and Verdi’s “La Traviata.”
To make attendance as appealing as possible, most show times will be moved to 7 p.m., and the company will explore cutting some operas, the way Shakespeare plays are typically cut in performance. Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” will be trimmed to three-and-a-half hours, with one intermission, from four-and-a-half hours, with two.
The Met does plan to go ahead with Ivo van Hove’s new production of Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking,” which is to be conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Met’s music director, who is still scheduled to conduct 26 performances, including a highly anticipated revival of Strauss’s “Die Frau Ohne Schatten.”