Sir Rudolf Bing

(1902–1997)

Sir Rudolf Bing

Anecdote 1...

In Sir Rudolf Bing’s 5000 Nights at the Opera there is a photograph of the author sitting all alone in the old Metropolitan Opera House, a solitary figure in a sea of empty seats. On seeing this picture his brother commented, “No wonder you have a deficit.”

In Sir Rudolf Bing’s 5000 Nights at the Opera there is a photograph of the author sitting all alone in the old Metropolitan Opera House, a solitary figure in a sea of empty seats. On seeing this picture his brother commented, “No wonder you have a deficit.”

Quote-worthy...

The opera always loses money. Thats as it should be. Opera has no business making money.

~Sir Rudolf Bing

Anecdote 2...

Maria Callas and Rudolph Bing

When Bing cancelled Maria Callas’s contract with the Metropolitan Opera, in 1958, he engaged Leonie Rysanek to sing Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s opera. He was fearful, however, that the audience, resenting the absence of Callas, would give Rysanek a hostile reception. He therefore hired someone to shout “Brava, Callas,” as Rysanek made her first entrance. As he had guessed, the Met audience rallied to the stand-in, and the performance was a great success.

Biographical Note: 

Sir Rudolf Bing was an Austrian-born opera administrator. He was manager of the Glyndebourne Festival Operat (1935-39, 1946-49), artistic manager of the Edinburgh Festival (1947-49), and general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, New York (1950-72).