The Toughest Show on Earth is the ultimate behind-the-scenes chronicle of the divas and the dramas of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, by the remarkable man who rose from apprentice carpenter to general manager.
Joseph Volpe gives us an anecdote-filled tour of more than four decades at the Met, an institution full of vast egos and complicated politics. With stunning candor, he writes about the general managers he worked under, his embattled rise to the top, the maneuverings of the blue-chip board, and his masterful approach to making a family of such artist-stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Teresa Stratas, and Renee Fleming, and such visionary directors as Franco Zeffirelli, Robert Wilson, and Julie Taymor. Intimate and frank, The Toughest Show on Earth is not only essential for music lovers, but for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the culture business.
About the Author
Joseph Volpe was born in Brooklyn. He joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1964 and was its general manager for sixteen years. He lives in New York City with his wife, the former ballet dancer Jean Anderson Volpe, and their daughter.
Charles Michener was senior editor for cultural affairs at Newsweek and senior editor at The New Yorker and has written widely on music for many publications. He collaborated with Robert Evans on The Kid Stays in the Picture and was coauthor with Peter Duchin of Ghost of a Chance. He lives in New York.
Praise for The Toughest Show on Earth…
“Engaging . . . delightful . . . A classic American success story.”
—The New York Times
“This engaging volume will delight readers for whom opera is not only an art but also an endless fount of good gossip. . . . A rarity–one of those much-ballyhooed ‘insider books’ that actually delivers the goods.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Fascinating. . . . [Volpe’s story] has the golden glow of the American dream.”
—The New York Sun
“A gripping journey of personal and professional discovery.”