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September 17, 2015

With Focus on Fundraising, Met Opera Considers Naming Rights

As the Metropolitan Opera edges back into the black, General Manager Peter Gelb tells The New York Times that naming rights for the company's internationally known opera house could be on the table as it seeks to boost fundraising.

Preliminary financial results released Wednesday show a $1-million budget surplus for the 2014-15 season, compared to a $22-million deficit the previous year. The improvement reflects significant cost reductions, including wage cuts Met artists and staff accepted last year after bitter contract talks.

Preparing to launch his 10th season leading the Met, Mr. Gelb discussed ways to boost declining attendance and juice giving amid a five-year, $600-million campaign aimed at doubling the organization's endowment and financing major capital projects. "We’re looking for a significant gift — a major gift that could somehow be associated with this front-of-house renovation and perhaps even the naming of the building," he said.

Mr. Gelb did not say how big such a donation would have to be but noted that the Metropolitan Opera House is bigger and better known than neighboring Lincoln Center theaters that were renamed for $100 million donors David Geffen and David H. Koch.