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Rudolph Bing
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (January 9, 1902-September 2, 1997)
    Born in Vienna, Austria
    Opera impressario
    Naturalized British citizen (1946)
    Assistant Manager of the Darmstadt Opera (1928-34) and Municipal Opera of Berlin (1931-34)
    General Manager of the Glyndebourne Festival (1935-49)
    Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Festival (1946-49)
    General manager of the Metropolitan Opera (1950-72)
    Wrote the memoirs '5000 Nights at the Opera' (1972) and 'A Knight at the Opera' (1981)
    He failed the exam required for university admission in Austria.
    A former assistant called him ‘a martinet, a dictator.’
    He was accused of favoring European singers and ignoring American ones. For example, Beverly Sills was not invited to perform at the Met until after Bing’s retirement.
    He was also criticized for ignoring contemporary music.
    When he was 85, he married a woman four decades younger than him; two and a half years later the union was annulled on the grounds that he was incompetent to enter into a marriage contract due to Alzheimer’s disease.
    He was married to ballerina Nina Schelemskaya-Schlesnaya for 54 years until her death.
    His careful budgeting allowed him to expand the Met’s season from 18 weeks to over 30.
    He established a pension plan for poorly paid members of the Met orchestra, chorus and ballet corps.
    He broke racial barriers at the Met by hiring Marian Anderson (1955).
    He arranged for Marc Chagall to paint murals for the Met’s new home at Lincoln Center and to design sets for Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute.’
    He said about working in opera, ‘With all this pressure, amid all these crises, with artists losing their nerves and their heads several times a day, a young man who kept his nerve and his head could make a real contribution.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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