Peter Gelb Receives Ukraine’s Order of Merit

By Francisco Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera’s General Manager Peter Gelb has received Ukraine’s Order of Merit.

Gelb received the award on Sept. 21 during an address by President Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady Olena Zelenska at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He was one of several recipients recognized for the Met’s support of Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.

Since the war began the Metropolitan Opera allegedly fired “all Putin-supported artists” and later performed two concerts dedicated to Ukraine. The company has also worked alongside the Polish National Opera to form the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. It has also invited the First Lady of Ukraine who held a fundraiser and invited Ukrainian soldiers and the Ukrainian ambassador to a performance of “Tosca” starring Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska. Last spring the Met displayed the Ukrainian flag on the facade of the theater for four weeks and on August 24 observed Ukrainian Independence Day.

Gelb received the award a few days after inviting the Saudi National Orchestra to the Met and said “Art has the possibility of triumphing over adversity.”

The Metropolitan Opera officially opens its 2023-24 season on Sept 26 with a performance of “Dead Man Walking” starring Joyce DiDonato, Ryan McKinny, and Latonia Moore, Susan Graham.