Customer Reviews for

Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Extremely informative from one who knows all about the Met

    As a musician who sat on the other side of the negotiating table from Volpe, I can attest to the accuracy of many of the stories of conductors, singers and other notables detailed in these pages. Volpe writes like he speaks, bluntly and to the point. What I found especially notable is that, whether he's writing about Kathleen Battle or Jonathan Miller, he respectfully presents positives as well as negatives. Volpe's account of his climb through the ranks from assistant carpenter to chef makes fascinating reading. If you want to know what the Met is like from the inside, you'll learn about it here!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Just wonderful

    A brash, honest writer. I cheered for him throughout the book. He essentially broke the WASP-Park Avenue system in its Citadel, The Met. He makes it sound alive, with good nights, bad nights, GREAT singers, good directors, bad directors, good shows, poor shows. Honest, heartwarming, informative about the backstage antics of everyone¿a fun, pleasurable read. I especially liked that fact that Volpe thought so highly of Theresa Stratas, my favorite, especially in 'Macbeth'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012


    Very interesting read concerning the Met during Mr Volpe's years-

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A little self congratulatory - but worth the read!

    I came upon this as part of research on a writing project. It's not as great as Johanna Fiedler's MOLTO AGITATO or W. Murray's FORTISSIMO, who both are also very entertaining reads. What I mostly don't Like about Joseph Volpe's biography is the self congratulatory satisfaction with which he narrates his account - for example when he describes a backstage walk he has been taking and everybody in the company just happens to love him so much. Too smug not just here, but a few places as well. And a tad dry elsewhere. I also don't like how much in love he is with the rich patrons of the house. That must be because he has come from less privileged backgrounds and views himself as a success. But there are gems and highlights in here - especially when he describes his dealings with stars and agents or how particular problems were solved. If you want to know what goes on inside the head of an impresario, it's a good place to start.

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