Metropolitan Opera House
By Anna Lynn Sibal
Are you a music enthusiast? Do you love the opera? If you love the opera, then you must make a plan to head for New York City the next time you go on a holiday and see a live performance at the Metropolitan Opera House.
The Metropolitan Opera House is considered to be one of the greatest opera houses in the entire world. For more than one hundred years, ever since its inception in 1883, it has staged some of the most memorable opera productions ever, often the American premieres of some of the most important works in the history of opera. These productions include Wagner’s Ring cycle, Madama Butterfly, Puccini’s Turandot and La Fanciulla del West, Faust, Eugene Onegin and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The likes of Maria Callas, Placido Domingo, Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli and many other notable names in opera sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. Famous conductors such as Dimitri Mitropoulos, Pierre Monteux, Fritz Reiner and Arturo Toscanini also waved their batons here.
The Metropolitan Opera House was established as a response to the refusal of the Academy of Music in Manhattan to admit the newly rich families of New York City into the Academy. To create the necessary alternative, the families of Astor, Morgan, Roosevelt and Vanderbilt, all well-known names in history today, started the Metropolitan Opera House. The Met has long since outlived the Academy when the building housing the Academy was demolished in 1926.
What kind of performances and productions can an opera lover expect from the Metropolitan Opera House? While it is hard to divide opera into distinct and different genres, the Metropolitan Opera House stages opera productions in a wide variety of the recognized genres – from the baroque to the bel canto, from romantic to comedy, from historical to fantastic.
Although music listeners nowadays are often turned off by the idea that opera is boring to listen to, the Metropolitan Opera House is trying to turn that mindset around by reaching out to their audiences. The Metropolitan Opera House broadcasts on a 24-hour subscription-radio channel that is heard in around 40 countries all over the world. Their live radio broadcast is a tradition they started in 1931. They also have an online audio and video streaming on their website. Also, in December 2006, they started high-definition transmission of their productions to 110 movie theaters in North America and in Europe. So, opera lovers who cannot possibly fly to New York City to listen to a performance on stage will still get to enjoy them through other means.
Right now, the Metropolitan Opera House stages 240 performances annually and these productions are seen by approximately 800,000 attendees every year. Previously, they were located on Broadway at 39th Street; it was the Metropolitan Opera House’s home from 1883 to 1966. After they have outgrown this building, the company moved to its present home at Lincoln Center. The Metropolitan Opera House is also the principal venue for the performances of the American Ballet Theatre.
New York City Guide