B1599. (METROPOLITAN OPERA) JOHANNA FIEDLER. Molto Agitato the Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera. New York, Doubleday, 2001. 393pp. Index; Bibliography; Photos; DJ. - 0-385-48187-X
"Behind the gold curtains of the Metropolitan Opera House, amidst the elaborate sets, bejeweled costumes, and labyrinth of administrative offices, the Met has traditionally operated in great secrecy. Until now. Johanna Fiedler, who was the Met's general press representative for fifteen years, draws upon her insider's knowledge and riveting reveals for the first time the company's Byzantine inner workings and the personal, social, economic, and artistic policies.
Ms. Fiedler drew on her experience as the chief press liaison for the Metropolitan Opera from 1975 to 1989 to write MOLTO AGITATO: THE MAYHEM BEHIND THE MUSIC (2001). She wrote in the preface that the book was an attempt to open up the Metropolitans world, which she considered as insular as the Kremlin or the Vatican.
Critics praised her vivid descriptions of events that occurred during her tenure, including an insightful account of the British director John Dexters stewardship of the Met and the 1980 murder of the violinist Helen Hagnes, who was found naked and bound in a ventilation shaft after disappearing during an intermission.
But some critics complained that Ms. Fiedler was less candid than she could have been about other aspects of life at the Met.
Fiedler comes across as a decent, bright and perceptive observer who admires the Met and is not entirely comfortable relating all the gossip she knows her readers are counting on, Anthony Tommasini wrote in The New York Times in 2001.
- Daniel E. Slotnik, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 June, 2011