“You’re wearing a jacket and tie this time.” I was tail-tweaking Peter Gelb, General Manager of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, not a risk-free gambit. “Well, I’m straight out of a lunch with sponsors, Gerry,” he replied. He and I were recording an interview for an online Zoom-delivered programme – sorry, program – “Cadenza” which I produce and present for my cherished Metropolitan Opera Club. Ain’t it amazin’ what moonlighting Reaction opera critics turn their hand to during Covid?

In our first interview, aeons ago in July, Peter had sported his signature black tee-shirt and dark jacket. He had taunted me for appearing onscreen in a semi-formal jacket and tie. Even that was dressing down for the Met Club – supporting the opera company since 1893 – whose dress-code in its discreet Lincoln Center dining room is White Tie. Shock horror, dressing down is now allowed – to the level of a tux, and maybe velvet monogrammed pumps for the brash and pushy. I wore my favourite dress tartan trews with a DJ on my first visit and should have remembered my leper’s bell.

In July Peter Gelb and I had looked forward to the Met’s Gala Opening on 31st December 2020. On 23rd September he had announced the cancellation of the entire 20-21 season, and that the 21-22 season would open on 21st September 2021. Another year of ghost lights at the Met.