Manuela Hoelterhoff suggests the Met finds another Music Director to make the experience more “pleasant”.

In an article published through Bloomberg Press, New York opera critic Manuela Hoelterhoff has cited 10 ways America’s top opera company could improve its patrons’ experience. The first nine are fairly ordinary – ranging from refreshment options to letting people into the hall before interval if they miss the start.

All of these seem pretty reasonable – the kind of useful list that all opera houses might benefit from perusing – it’s the last suggestion that is causing a stir. In a surprising dig at the Met’s Director of Music, she has called for a “visible, socially engaged leader” to take over the musical helm. Levine, she suggests, should be relegated to the title “emeritus”, allowing for “a charismatic music director to articulate a vision for the future and excite a new generation.”

With this comment, Manuela Hoelterhoff is beginning a debate about the otherwise ‘untouchable’ place Levine occupies in the opera company’s leadership. When she says, “It’s time for a change”, she’s not just talking about sippy cups being allowed into the auditorium.

Here’s the full list of the New York critic’s suggestions for improvement: