Joseph Volpe talks about The Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitian Opera. On the occasion of his retirement from The Metropolitan Opera - where, as general manager since 1990, he was NY's most powerful and outspoken culture czar - Volpe gives a behind-the-scenes look at this grandest of grand opera companies.
In August of 1990, Joseph Volpe became the first head of the Metropolitan Opera to advance from within the ranks of the company's management, marking the culmination of a 26-year career at the Met.
Born in Brooklyn on July 2, 1940, Mr. Volpe joined the Metropolitan Opera in August 1964, as an apprentice carpenter, after running his own business and working as a theatrical carpenter on Broadway. Mr. Volpeâ€™s abilities in the technical and production areas were recognized quickly, and he became the companyâ€™s master carpenter in 1966 and was named technical director in 1978, working closely with John Dexter, then the Metâ€™s director of production.
Mr. Volpe is married to Jean Anderson Volpe, a former ballet dancer, and resides in Manhattan. He announced in February 2004 that he will retire from his post as general manager on August 1, 2006.