Rudolf Bing the lively and sometimes-unyielding opera impresario servered as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera from 1950 until 1972. He is credited as establishing the Met as the biggest opera company in the world. He oversaw the Met’s move to its prominent position at Lincoln Center, mentored new artist such as Leontyne Price, and broke down racial barriers by hiring the first black singer in a lead role, Marian Anderson. He is also known as “the man who fired Maria Callas” when in 1958 a feud between Bing and the famous Diva Callas led to Bing cancelling her contract at the Met (she was later re-hired). Bing famously didn’t put up with diva attitudes and spoke his mind. He ushered in new stage directors and wonderful European stars to the Met including Tebaldi. Bing preferred European singers and notably never allowed the great coloratura soprano Beverley Sills to perform at the Met. In a later interview Bing said that was a mistake. Bing firmly established the Met as the most important opera house in the world and an important cultural institution.
Metropolitan Opera Gala honoring Rudolf Bing
From The Metropolitan Opera Archives, click here.