At the end of almost every Met Opera curtain call a slight, unassuming, dapper, bespectacled, grey suited, white-haired gentleman appears. He takes his bow modestly. Amidst all the flamboyance and audience-kissing, waving frenzy in which he is upstaged could he be a misplaced caretaker building his part? Wandered in from Columbus Avenue by mistake, perhaps? The Met’s banker, making sure the in hock Chagals are still secure? Who he?

“He” is Maestro Donald Palumbo,