Metropolitan Opera
Overview
 
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 company, located in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb is an American arts administrator. He is currently General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Early life:...

 as general manager. The music director
Music director
A music director may be the director of an orchestra, the director of music for a film, the director of music at a radio station, the head of the music department in a school, the co-ordinator of the musical ensembles in a university or college , the head bandmaster of a military band, the head...

 is James Levine
James Levine
James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

.

The Met performs at the Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House (Lincoln Center)
The Metropolitan Opera House is an opera house located on Broadway at Lincoln Square in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the theater opened in 1966. It replaced the former Metropolitan Opera House at Broadway and 39th St...

, which is located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York City's Upper West Side. Reynold Levy has been its president since 2002.-History and facilities:...

 on Broadway, in New York's Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

. The Met was a founding member of Lincoln Center where it remains one of the center's twelve resident organizations.

The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 organization in North America.
Encyclopedia
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 company, located in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb is an American arts administrator. He is currently General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Early life:...

 as general manager. The music director
Music director
A music director may be the director of an orchestra, the director of music for a film, the director of music at a radio station, the head of the music department in a school, the co-ordinator of the musical ensembles in a university or college , the head bandmaster of a military band, the head...

 is James Levine
James Levine
James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

.

The Met performs at the Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House (Lincoln Center)
The Metropolitan Opera House is an opera house located on Broadway at Lincoln Square in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the theater opened in 1966. It replaced the former Metropolitan Opera House at Broadway and 39th St...

, which is located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York City's Upper West Side. Reynold Levy has been its president since 2002.-History and facilities:...

 on Broadway, in New York's Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

. The Met was a founding member of Lincoln Center where it remains one of the center's twelve resident organizations.

The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 organization in North America. It presents about 27 different operas each year in a season which lasts from late September through May. The operas are presented in a rotating repertory
Repertory
Repertory or rep, also called stock in the United States, is a term used in Western theatre and opera.A repertory theatre can be a theatre in which a resident company presents works from a specified repertoire, usually in alternation or rotation...

 schedule with up to seven performances of four different works staged each week. Performances are given in the evening Monday through Saturday with a matinée on Saturday. Several operas are presented in new productions each season. Sometimes these are borrowed from or shared with other opera houses. The rest of the year's operas are given in revivals of productions from previous seasons.

The operas in the Met's repertoire consist of works written in many different musical genres, from 18th Century Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 and 19th Century Bel canto
Bel canto
Bel canto , along with a number of similar constructions , is an Italian opera term...

, up through the Minimalism
Minimalist music
Minimal music is a style of music associated with the work of American composers La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. It originated in the New York Downtown scene of the 1960s and was initially viewed as a form of experimental music called the New York Hypnotic School....

 of the late 20th Century. These operas are presented in staged productions that range in style from those with elaborate traditional decors to others that feature modern conceptual designs.

The Met's performing company consists of a large symphony-sized orchestra, a chorus, children's choir, ballet company, and many supporting and leading solo singers. The Met's roster of singers includes both international and American artists, some of whose careers have been developed through the Met's young artists programs. While many singers appear as guests with the company, others, such as Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming is an American soprano specializing in opera and lieder. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice.Fleming has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano repertoires. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also...

 and Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo KBE , born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range...

, have long maintained a close association with the Met, appearing many times each season.

Beyond performing in the opera house in New York, the Met has gradually expanded its audience through technology. It has broadcast regularly on radio since 1931 and on television since 1977. In 2006, the Met began live satellite radio and internet broadcasts as well as live high-definition video
High-definition video
High-definition video or HD video refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition video, and most commonly involves display resolutions of 1,280×720 pixels or 1,920×1,080 pixels...

 transmissions presented in cinemas throughout the world.

History

Inaugural season

The Metropolitan Opera Company was founded in 1880 to create an alternative to the old established Academy of Music opera house. The subscribers to the Academy's limited number of private boxes represented the highest stratum in New York society. These "old money" families were loath to admit New York's newly wealthy industrialists into their long-established circle. Tired of being excluded, the Metropolitan Opera's founding subscribers determined to build a new opera house that would outshine the old Academy in every way. Its theater would include three tiers of private boxes in which the scions of New York's powerful new industrial families could display their wealth and establish their social prominence. The first Met subscribers included members of the Morgan, Roosevelt,and Vanderbilt families, all of whom had been excluded from the Academy. Their new opera house was an immediate success. The Academy of Music's opera season folded just three years after the Met opened.

In its early decades the Met did not produce the opera performances itself but hired prominent manager/impresario
Impresario
An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays or operas; analogous to a film producer in filmmaking, television production and an angel investor in business...

s to stage a season of opera at the theater. Henry Abbey
Henry Eugene Abbey
Henry Eugene Abbey was an American theatre manager and producer. During the 1870s - 1890s, he managed such prominent Broadway theatres as Booth's, Wallack's, and the Park Theatre, promoting the talents of some of the foremost American actors of his day, as well as European stars...

 served as manager for the inaugural season 1883-1884 which opened with a performance of Charles Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

's Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

on October 22, 1883 starring the brilliant Swedish soprano Christina Nilsson
Christina Nilsson
Christina Nilsson, Countess de Casa Miranda, was a Swedish operatic soprano. She possessed a brilliant bel canto technique and was considered a rival to the Victorian era's most famous diva, Adelina Patti...

. (Faust was performed in Italian, as were all of the operas staged during the first season, including those written in French and German.)
The Met in Philadelphia

The Metropolitan Opera began a long history with the city of Philadelphia during its first season, presenting its entire repertoire in the city during January and August, 1884. The company's first Philadelphia performance was of Faust (with Christina Nilsson) on January 14, 1884 at the Chestnut Street Opera House. The Met continued to perform annually in Philadelphia for nearly eighty years, taking the entire company to the city on selected Tuesday nights throughout the opera season. Performances were usually held at the Academy of Music
Academy of Music (Philadelphia)
The Academy of Music, also known as American Academy of Music, is a concert hall and opera house located at Broad and Locust Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1857 and is the oldest opera house in the United States that is still used for its original purpose...

, with close to 900 performances having been given in Philadelphia by 1961 when the Met's regular visits ceased.

On April 26, 1910 the Met bought the Philadelphia Opera House from Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I was a businessman, theater impresario and composer in New York City. His passion for opera led him to open several opera houses, and he rekindled opera's popularity in America...

. The company renamed the house the Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House (Philadelphia)
The Metropolitan Opera House is a historic opera house located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 858 North Broad Street. Built over the course of just a few months in 1908, it was the ninth opera house built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. It was initially the home of Hammerstein's Philadelphia...

 and performed all of their Philadelphia performances there until 1920, when the company resumed performing at the Academy of Music.

During the Met's early years, the company annually presented a dozen or more opera performances in Philadelphia throughout the season. Over the years the number of performances was gradually reduced until the final Philadelphia season in 1961 consisted of only four operas. The last performance was on March 21, 1961 with Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli in Turandot. After the Tuesday night visits were ended, the Met returned to Philadelphia on its spring tour in 1967, 1968, 1978, and 1979.

German seasons

Following Abbey's inaugural season which had resulted in very large deficits, the Met's directors turned to Leopold Damrosch
Leopold Damrosch
Leopold Damrosch was a German American orchestral conductor.- Biography :Damrosch was born in Posen , Kingdom of Prussia, and began his musical education at the age of nine, learning the violin against the wishes of his parents, who wanted him to become a doctor...

 as General Manager for its second season. The revered conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra
New York Symphony Orchestra
The New York Symphony Orchestra was founded as the New York Symphony Society in New York City by Leopold Damrosch in 1878. For many years it was a fierce rival to the older Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York. It was supported by Andrew Carnegie who built Carnegie Hall expressly for the...

 was engaged to lead the opera company in an all German language repertory and serve as its chief conductor. Under Damrosch, the company consisted of some the most celebrated singers from Europe's German-language opera houses. The new German Met found great popular and critical success in the works of Wagner and other German composers as well as in Italian and French operas sung in German. Sadly Damrosch died only months into his first season at the Met. Edmund Stanton replaced Damrosch the following year and served as General Manager through the 1890-1891 season, the last of the all German repertory. The Met's six German seasons were especially noted for performances by the celebrated conductor Anton Seidl
Anton Seidl
Anton Seidl was a Hungarian conductor.-Biography:He was born at Pest, Hungary. He began the study of music at a very early age, and when only seven years old could pick out at the piano melodies which he had heard at the theatre...

 whose Wagner interpretations were noted for their almost mystical intensity. The conductor Walter Damrosch, Leopold's son, also initiated a long relationship with the Met during this period.

Abbey and Grau

Italian opera returned to the Met in 1891 in a glittering season of stars organized by the returning Henry E. Abbey along with co-manager Maurice Grau. After missing a season to rebuild the opera house following a fire in August 1892 which destroyed most of the theater, Abbey and Grau continued as co-managers along with John B. Schoeffel, initiating the so-called "Golden Age of Opera". Most of the greatest operatic artists in the world then graced the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in Italian as well as German and French repertory. Notable among them were the brothers Jean
Jean de Reszke
Jean de Reszke, born Jan Mieczyslaw, , was a Polish tenor. Renowned internationally for the high quality of his singing and the elegance of his bearing, he became the biggest male opera star of the late 19th century....

 and Edouard de Reszke
Edouard de Reszke
Édouard de Reszke, originally Edward, was a Polish bass from Warsaw. Born with an impressive natural voice and equipped with compelling histrionic skills, he became one of the most illustrious opera singers active in Europe and America during the late-Victorian Era.-Career:Édouard de Reszke was...

, Lilli Lehmann
Lilli Lehmann
Lilli Lehmann, born Elisabeth Maria Lehmann, later Elisabeth Maria Lehmann-Kalisch was a German operatic soprano of phenomenal versatility...

, Emma Calvé
Emma Calvé
Emma Calvé, born Rosa Emma Calvet , was a French operatic soprano.Calvé was probably the most famous French female opera singer of the Belle Époque. Hers was an international career, and she sang regularly and to considerable acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and the Royal Opera...

, Lillian Nordica
Lillian Nordica
Lillian Nordica was an American opera singer who had a major stage career in Europe and her native country....

, Nellie Melba
Nellie Melba
Dame Nellie Melba GBE , born Helen "Nellie" Porter Mitchell, was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century...

, Marcella Sembrich
Marcella Sembrich
Marcella Sembrich was the stage name of the Polish coloratura soprano, Prakseda Marcelina Kochańska...

, Milka Ternina
Milka Ternina
Milka Ternina was a Croatian dramatic soprano who enjoyed a high reputation in major American and European opera houses...

, Emma Eames
Emma Eames
Emma Eames was an American soprano renowned for the beauty of her voice. She sang major lyric and lyric-dramatic roles in opera and had an important career in New York, London and Paris during the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century.-Early life:The daughter of...

, Sofia Scalchi
Sofia Scalchi
Sofia Scalchi was an Italian operatic contralto who could also sing in the mezzo-soprano range. Her career was international, and she appeared at leading theatres in both Europe and America.-Singing career:...

, Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Ernestine Schumann-Heink was a celebrated Austrian, later American, operatic contralto, noted for the size, beauty, tonal richness, flexibility and wide range of her voice.- Early life:...

, Francesco Tamagno
Francesco Tamagno
Francesco Tamagno was an operatic tenor from Italy who sang with enormous success throughout Europe and America. On 5 February 1887, he cemented his place in musical history by creating the role of Otello in Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece of the same name...

, Francisco Vignas, Jean Lassalle, Mario Ancona
Mario Ancona
Mario Ancona , was a leading Italian baritone and master of bel canto singing. He appeared at some of the most important opera houses in Europe and America during what is commonly referred to as the "Golden Age of Opera".-Career:Ancona was born into a middle-class Jewish family at Livorno, Tuscany,...

, Victor Maurel
Victor Maurel
Victor Maurel was a French operatic baritone who enjoyed an international reputation as a great singing-actor.-Biography:...

, Antonio Scotti
Antonio Scotti
Antonio Scotti was an Italian baritone. He was a principal artist of the New York Metropolitan Opera for more than 33 seasons, but also sang with great success at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Milan's La Scala.-Life:Antonio Scotti was born in Naples, Italy...

 and Pol Plançon
Pol Plançon
Pol-Henri Plançon was a distinguished French operatic bass . He was one of the most acclaimed singers active during the 1880s, 1890s and early 20th century—a period often referred to as the "Golden Age of Opera".In addition to being among the earliest international opera stars to have made...

. Maurice Grau continued as sole manager of the Met from 1898 to 1903.

The early 1900s saw the development of distinct Italian, German and later French 'wings' within the Met's roster of artists including separate German and Italian choruses. This division of the company's forces faded after World War II when solo artists spent less time engaged at any one company.
Mapleson Cylinders


From 1900 to 1904 a remarkable series of early sound recordings were made at the Met by Lionel Mapleson (1865–1937). Mapleson was employed by the Met as a violinist and music librarian. He used an Edison
Edison Records
Edison Records was one of the earliest record labels which pioneered recorded sound and was an important player in the early recording industry.- Early phonographs before commercial mass produced records :...

 cylinder
Phonograph cylinder
Phonograph cylinders were the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. Commonly known simply as "records" in their era of greatest popularity , these cylinder shaped objects had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was...

 phonograph
Phonograph
The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

 that he set up near the stage to capture short, one to five minute recordings of the soloists, chorus and orchestra during performances. These unique acoustic documents, known as the Mapleson Cylinders
Mapleson Cylinders
The Mapleson Cylinders are a group of more than 100 phonograph cylinders recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, primarily in the years 1901–1903, by the Met librarian Lionel Mapleson ....

, preserve a unique audio picture of the early Met, and are the only known extant recordings of some renowned performers including the tenor Jean de Reszke and the dramatic soprano Milka Ternina. The recordings were later issued on a series of LPs and, in 2002, were included in the National Recording Registry.
Annual spring tour

Beginning in 1898, the Metropolitan Opera company of singers and musicians undertook a six-week tour of American cities following its season in New York. These annual spring tours brought the company and its stars to cities throughout the U.S., most of which had no opera company of their own. The Met's national tours continued until 1986. After 88 years the cost of touring had resulted in growing financial losses, and by this time many American cities now had companies of their own to present opera locally.

Conried and Gatti-Casazza

The administration of Heinrich Conried
Heinrich Conried
Heinrich Conried was a theatrical manager and director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Biography:...

 in 1903–1908 was distinguished especially by the arrival of the Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso, the most celebrated singer who ever appeared at the old Metropolitan. Conried was followed by the 27-year tenure, from 1908 to 1935, of the magisterial Giulio Gatti-Casazza
Giulio Gatti-Casazza
Giulio Gatti-Casazza was an Italian opera manager. He was general manager of La Scala in Milan, Italy and later the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Life and career:...

, whose model planning, authoritative organizational skills and brilliant casts raised the level of Metropolitan Opera to a prolonged and unforgettable Silver Age. Gatti-Casazza brought with him Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

, the fiery and brilliant conductor who had led La Scala
La Scala
La Scala , is a world renowned opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the New Royal-Ducal Theatre at La Scala...

 during Gatti's years there as manager. The prominent lawyer Paul Cravath became Chairman of the Met in 1931.

Again, many of the greatest singers in the world appeared at the Met under Gatti-Casazza's leadership, including Rosa Ponselle
Rosa Ponselle
Rosa Ponselle , was an American operatic soprano with a large, opulent voice. She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.-Early life:She was born Rosa Ponzillo on January 22, 1897,...

, Elisabeth Rethberg
Elisabeth Rethberg
The German soprano Elisabeth Rethberg was an opera singer of international repute active from the period of the First World War through to the early 1940s. Some hailed her as the greatest soprano of her day...

, Maria Jeritza
Maria Jeritza
Maria Jeritza , born Marie Jedličková, was a celebrated Moravian soprano singer, long associated with the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera...

, Frances Alda
Frances Alda
Frances Alda was a New Zealand-born, Australian-raised operatic soprano. She achieved fame during the first three decades of the 20th century due to her outstanding singing voice, fine technique and colourful personality—and frequent onstage partnerships at the New York Metropolitan Opera with the...

, Frida Leider
Frida Leider
Frida Leider was a German opera singer.Leider was one of the most important dramatic sopranos of the 20th century. Her most famous roles were Wagner's Isolde and Brünnhilde, Beethoven's Fidelio, Mozart's Donna Anna, and Verdi's Aida and Leonora...

, Amelita Galli-Curci
Amelita Galli-Curci
Amelita Galli-Curci was an Italian operatic soprano. She was one of the best-known coloratura singers of the early 20th century with her gramophone records selling in large numbers.-Early life:...

, Lily Pons
Lily Pons
Lily Pons was a French-American operatic soprano and actress who had an active career from the late 1920s through the early 1970s. As an opera singer she specialized in the coloratura soprano repertoire and was particularly associated with the title roles in Léo Delibes' Lakmé and Gaetano...

, Jacques Urlus
Jacques Urlus
Jacques Urlus , was a Dutch dramatic tenor. He sang to great critical acclaim at major opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic, and his recordings of the music of Richard Wagner are considered to be among the finest ever made.-Biography:Jacques Urlus was born to music-loving Dutch parents in the...

, Giovanni Martinelli
Giovanni Martinelli
Giovanni Martinelli was a celebrated Italian operatic tenor. He was particularly associated with the Italian lyric-dramatic repertory, although he performed French operatic roles to great acclaim as well...

, Beniamino Gigli
Beniamino Gigli
Beniamino Gigli was an Italian opera singer. The most famous tenor of his generation, he was renowned internationally for the great beauty of his voice and the soundness of his vocal technique. Music critics sometimes took him to task, however, for what was perceived to be the over-emotionalism...

, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi was an Italian tenor with a lyric-dramatic voice of exceptional range and technical facility. He performed throughout Europe and the Americas in a top-class career that spanned 40 years....

, Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior was a Danish and later American opera singer. He was the pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and has since come to be considered the quintessence of his voice type.-Biography:...

, Titta Ruffo
Titta Ruffo
Titta Ruffo , born as Ruffo Titta Cafiero, was an Italian opera star who had a major international singing career. Known as the "Voce del leone" , he was greatly admired, even by rival baritones, such as Giuseppe De Luca, who said of Ruffo: "His was not a voice, it was a miracle" Titta Ruffo (9...

, Giuseppe De Luca
Giuseppe de Luca
Giuseppe De Luca , was a famous Italian baritone who achieved his greatest triumphs at the New York Metropolitan Opera...

, Pasquale Amato
Pasquale Amato
Pasquale Amato was an outstanding Italian operatic baritone. Amato enjoyed an international reputation but attained the peak of his fame in New York City, where he sang with the Metropolitan Opera from 1908 until 1921....

, Lawrence Tibbett
Lawrence Tibbett
Lawrence Mervil Tibbett was a great American opera singer and recording artist who also performed as a film actor and radio personality. A baritone, he sang with the New York Metropolitan Opera company more than 600 times from 1923 to 1950...

, Friedrich Schorr
Friedrich Schorr
Friedrich Schorr , was a renowned Austrian-Hungarian bass-baritone opera singer of Jewish origin. He later became a naturalized American....

, Feodor Chaliapin
Feodor Chaliapin
Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin was a Russian opera singer. The possessor of a large and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.During the first phase...

, Jose Mardones, Tancredi Pasero
Tancredi Pasero
Tancredi Pasero was an Italian bass who enjoyed a long and distinguished singing career in his native country and abroad.-Career & recordings:...

 and Ezio Pinza
Ezio Pinza
Ezio Pinza was an Italian basso opera singer with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice. He spent 22 seasons at New York's Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas...

—among many others.

Toscanini served as the Met's principal conductor (but with no official title) from 1908 to 1915, leading the company in performances of Verdi, Wagner and others that set standards for the company for decades to come. The Viennese composer Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 also was a Met conductor during Gatti-Casazza's first two seasons and in later years conductors Tullio Serafin
Tullio Serafin
-Biography:Tullio Serafin was a leading Italian opera conductor with a long career and a very broad repertoire who revived many 19th century bel canto operas by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti to become staples of 20th century repertoire...

 and Artur Bodanzky
Artur Bodanzky
Artur Bodanzky was an Austrian-American conductor particularly associated with the operas of Wagner.- Career :...

 led the company in the Italian and German repertories respectively.

Edward Johnson

Gatti-Casazza's successor as General Manager was the former Met bass Herbert Witherspoon
Herbert Witherspoon
Herbert Witherspoon was an American bass singer and opera manager.-Biography:A native of Buffalo, New York, Herbert Witherspoon graduated from Yale University in 1895 where he had performed as a member of the Glee Club. After leaving school he studied music with Horatio Parker, Edward MacDowell,...

, but barely six weeks into his term he collapsed dead at his desk from a heart attack. The former Canadian operatic tenor, Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson (tenor)
Edward Patrick Johnson CBE was a Canadian operatic tenor who was billed outside North America as Edoardo Di Giovanni, and became director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.- Early life :...

, was then appointed and served as General Manager between 1935 and 1950. Johnson successfully guided the Met through the dark years of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, although the depth of the company's singing talent was reduced due to the effects of these twin upheavals.

During the Depression's worst years the Met's season was curtailed and its very existence was threatened by the financial difficulties of the wealthy families that had supported it since its founding. Ticket sales were down, but on given nights the brilliant Wagner pairing of the Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Målfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano...

 with the great heldentenor Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior was a Danish and later American opera singer. He was the pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and has since come to be considered the quintessence of his voice type.-Biography:...

 proved irresistible to audiences even in such troubled times. To expand the Met's support to its national radio audience, the Met board's Eleanor Robson Belmont
Eleanor Robson Belmont
Eleanor Robson Belmont was an English actress and prominent public figure in the United States. George Bernard Shaw wrote Major Barbara for her, but contractual problems prevented her from playing the role. Mrs...

, the former actress and wife to industrialist August Belmont
August Belmont
August Belmont, Sr. was an American politician.-Early life:August Belmont was born in Alzey, Hesse, on December 8, 1813--some sources say 1816--to Simon and Frederika Elsass Schönberg, a Jewish family. After his mother's death, when he was seven, he lived with his uncle and grandmother in Frankfurt...

, founded the Metropolitan Opera Guild. The Guild recruited members through subscriptions to its magazine, Opera News
Opera News
Opera News is an American classical music magazine. It has been published since 1936 by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, a non-profit organization located at Lincoln Center which was founded to support the Metropolitan Opera of New York City...

, and through Mrs. Belmont's weekly appeals on the Met's radio broadcasts it raised money to help keep the struggling company afloat. In 1940 ownership of the opera company and the opera house was transferred to the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association from the company's original partnership of New York society families.

Zinka Milanov
Zinka Milanov
Zinka Milanov was a Croatian-born operatic spinto soprano who had a major career centred on the New York Metropolitan Opera.-Biography:...

, Jussi Björling
Jussi Björling
Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th Century, Björling appeared frequently at the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as well as at other major European opera...

, and Alexander Kipnis
Alexander Kipnis
Alexander Kipnis , was a Ukrainian-born operatic bass of great artistry and vocal endowment.Having initially established his artistic reputation in Europe, Kipnis became an American citizen in 1931, following his marriage to an American...

  were first heard at the Met under Johnson's management. During World War II when many European artists were unavailable, the Met recruited American singers as never before. Eleanor Steber
Eleanor Steber
Eleanor Steber was an American operatic soprano. Steber is noted as one of the first major opera stars to have achieved the highest success with training and a career based in the United States.-Biography:...

, Dorothy Kirsten
Dorothy Kirsten
Dorothy Kirsten was an American operatic soprano.-Biography:...

, Helen Traubel
Helen Traubel
Helen Francesca Traubel was an American opera and concert singer. A dramatic soprano, she was best known for her Wagnerian roles, especially those of Brünnhilde and Isolde. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, she began her career as a concert singer and went on to sing at the Metropolitan...

 (Flagstad's successor as Wagner's heroines), Jan Peerce
Jan Peerce
Jan Peerce was an American operatic tenor. Peerce was an accomplished performer on the operatic and Broadway concert stages, in solo recitals, and as a recording artist. He is the father of film director Larry Peerce....

, Richard Tucker
Richard Tucker
Richard Tucker was an American operatic tenor.-Early life:Tucker was born Rivn Ticker in Brooklyn, New York, into a family of Romanian immigrants from Bessarabia. His father, Shmul Ticker, and mother Fanya-Tsipa Ticker had already adopted the surname "Tucker" by the time their son entered first...

, Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren was a famous American opera singer. A baritone, he was a leading artist for many years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.-Biography:...

 and Robert Merrill
Robert Merrill
Robert Merrill was an American operatic baritone.-Early life:Merrill was born Moishe Miller, later known as Morris Miller, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, to tailor Abraham Miller, originally Milstein, and his wife Lillian, née Balaban, immigrants from Warsaw, Poland.His mother...

 were among the many home grown artists to become stars at the Met in the 1940s. Sir Thomas Beecham
Thomas Beecham
Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet CH was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras...

, George Szell
George Szell
George Szell , originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born American conductor and composer...

 and Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

 were among the leading conductors engaged during Johnson's tenure. Kurt Adler
Kurt Adler
Kurt Adler was an Austrian classical music conductor, chorus master and pianist with a European musical education. He was best known as the chorus master and conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1943 to 1973...

 began his long tenure as Chorus Master and staff conductor.

Rudolf Bing

Austrian-born Rudolf Bing replaced Johnson. Serving from 1950 to 1972, he became one of the Met's most influential and reformist leaders. Bing modernized the administration of the company, ended an archaic ticket sales system, and terminated the company's weekly one-night stands in Philadelphia. He presided over an era of fine singing and glittering new productions, and guided the company's move to a new home in Lincoln Center. While many outstanding singers debuted at the Met under Bing's guiding hand, music critics complained of a lack of great conducting during his regime, even though such eminent conductors as Fritz Stiedry
Fritz Stiedry
Fritz Stiedry was an Austrian conductor and composer.-Biography:While studying law at the University of Vienna, Stiedry's musical abilities were noticed by Gustav Mahler who appointed him his assistant at the Vienna Court Opera in 1907...

, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Erich Leinsdorf
Erich Leinsdorf
Erich Leinsdorf was a naturalized American Austrian conductor. He performed and recorded with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, earning a reputation for exacting standards as well as an acerbic personality...

, Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century.-Biography:...

, and Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm
Karl August Leopold Böhm was an Austrian conductor. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century.- Education :...

 appeared frequently in the 1950s and '60s.

Among the most significant achievements of Bing's tenure was the opening of the Met's artistic roster to singers of color. Marian Anderson
Marian Anderson
Marian Anderson was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century...

's historic 1955 debut was followed by the introduction of a whole generation of outstanding African-American artists led by Leontyne Price
Leontyne Price
Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in the Deep South, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.One critic characterized Price's voice as "vibrant",...

 (who inaugurated the new house in Lincoln Center), Reri Grist
Reri Grist
Reri Grist is an American coloratura soprano, one of the pioneer African-American singers to enjoy a major international career in opera.-Biography:...

, Grace Bumbry
Grace Bumbry
Grace Bumbry , an American opera singer, is considered one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, as well as a major soprano for many years...

, Shirley Verrett
Shirley Verrett
Shirley Verrett was an African-American operatic mezzo-soprano who successfully transitioned into soprano roles i.e. soprano sfogato...

, George Shirley
George Shirley
George Irving Shirley is a renowned tenor opera singer.He is a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.-External links:*** by Bruce Duffie...

, Robert McFerrin
Robert McFerrin
Robert McFerrin Sr. was the first African-American male to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City...

, and others. Other celebrated singers who debuted at the Met during Bing's tenure include: Maria Callas
Maria Callas
Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique, a wide-ranging voice and great dramatic gifts...

, who had a bitter falling out with Bing over repertoire, Renata Tebaldi
Renata Tebaldi
Renata Tebaldi was an Italian lirico-spinto soprano popular in the post-war period...

, Joan Sutherland
Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s....

, Montserrat Caballe
Montserrat Caballé
Montserrat Caballé is a Spanish operatic soprano. Although she sang a wide variety of roles, she is best known as an exponent of the bel canto repertoire, notably the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi....

, Birgit Nilsson
Birgit Nilsson
right|thumb|Nilsson in 1948.Birgit Nilsson was a celebrated Swedish dramatic soprano who specialized in operatic and symphonic works...

, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, DBE was a German-born Austrian/British soprano opera singer and recitalist. She was among the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century, much admired for her performances of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Wolf.-Early life:Olga Maria Elisabeth Friederike...

, Anna Moffo
Anna Moffo
Anna Moffo was an Italian-American opera singer and one of the leading lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation...

, Franco Corelli
Franco Corelli
Franco Corelli was a famous Italian tenor who had a major international opera career between 1951 and 1976. Associated in particular with the spinto and dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertory, he was celebrated universally for his powerhouse voice, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, a...

, Carlo Bergonzi
Carlo Bergonzi
Carlo Bergonzi is an Italian operatic tenor. Although he performed and recorded some bel canto and verismo roles, he is above all associated with the operas of Giuseppe Verdi, including a large number of the composer's lesser-known works that he helped revive...

, Nicolai Gedda
Nicolai Gedda
Nicolai Gedda is a Swedish operatic tenor. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is said to be the most widely recorded tenor in history...

, Jon Vickers
Jon Vickers
Jonathan Stewart Vickers, CC , known professionally as Jon Vickers, is a retired Canadian heldentenor.Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he was the sixth in a family of eight children. In 1950, he was awarded a scholarship to study opera at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto...

, Sherrill Milnes
Sherrill Milnes
Sherrill Milnes is an American operatic baritone most famous for his Verdi roles. From 1965 until 1997 he was associated with the Metropolitan Opera....

, and Cesare Siepi
Cesare Siepi
Cesare Siepi was an Italian opera singer, generally considered to have been one of the finest basses of the post-war period. His voice was characterised by a deep, warm timbre, and a ringing, vibrant upper register. On stage, his tall, striking presence and elegance of phrasing made him a natural...

.

Gentele to Southern

Following Bing's retirement in 1972, the Met's management was overseen by a succession of executives and artists in shared authority. Bing's intended successor, the Swedish opera manager Göran Gentele
Göran Gentele
Göran Gentele was a Swedish actor, director, and opera manager.Born in Stockholm, Gentele studied from 1944 until 1946 at the Dramatens elevskola, beginning a brief career as a film actor not long afterwards...

, died in an auto accident before the start of his first season. Following Gentele's tragic loss came Schuyler Chapin
Schuyler Chapin
Schuyler Garrison Chapin was an Assistant General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City during the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani...

 who served as General Manager for three seasons. From 1974 to 1981 the Met was guided by a triumvirate of directors: the General Manager (Anthony A. Bliss), Artistic Director (James Levine
James Levine
James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

), and Director of Production (the English stage director John Dexter
John Dexter
John Dexter was an English theatre, opera, and film director.- Theatre :Born in Derby, England, Dexter left school at the age of fourteen to serve in the British army during World War II. Following the war, he began working as a stage actor before turning to producing and directing shows for...

). Bliss was followed by Bruce Crawford and Hugh Southern. Through this period the constant figure was Levine. Engaged by Bing in 1971, Levine became Principal Conductor in 1973 and the Met's dominant artistic force through the last third of the 20th century.

During the 1983-84 season the Met celebrated its 100th anniversary with an opening night revival of Berlioz's mammoth opera Les Troyens
Les Troyens
Les Troyens is a French opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz. The libretto was written by Berlioz himself, based on Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid...

and with an eight-hour Centennial Gala concert that unfolded in two parts on October 22, 1983 and was broadcast on national television. The gala featured all of the Met's current stars as well as appearances by 26 of the Met's veteran stars of the past. Among the artists, Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 and Birgit Nilsson
Birgit Nilsson
right|thumb|Nilsson in 1948.Birgit Nilsson was a celebrated Swedish dramatic soprano who specialized in operatic and symphonic works...

 gave their last performances with the company at the concert.

Joseph Volpe

The model of General Manager as the leading authority in the company returned in 1990 with the appointment of Joseph Volpe. Volpe was the Met's third-longest serving manager, 1990–2006. He was the first head of the Met to advance from within the ranks of the company, having started his career there as a carpenter in 1964. During his tenure the Met's international touring activities were expanded and Levine focused on expanding and building the Met's orchestra into a world-class symphonic ensemble with its own Carnegie Hall concert series. Under Volpe the Met considerably expanded its repertory, offering four world premiers and 22 Met premiers, more new works than under any manager since Gatti-Casazza. Volpe named Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev
Valery Abisalovich Gergiev is a Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.- Early life :Gergiev,...

 as Principal Guest Conductor in 1997 and broadened the Met's Russian repertory. Marcelo Álvarez
Marcelo Álvarez
Marcelo Raúl Álvarez, , is an Argentine lyric tenor who achieved international success starting in the mid-1990s....

, Cecilia Bartoli
Cecilia Bartoli
Cecilia Bartoli is an Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist. She is best-known for her interpretation of the music of Mozart and Rossini, as well as for her performances of lesser-known Baroque and classical music...

, José Cura
José Cura
José Cura is a prominent operatic tenor known for his intense and original interpretations of his characters, notably Verdi’s Otello and Saint-Saëns’ Samson, as well as for his unconventional and innovative concert performances. He is also able to perform high baritone roles with the extended...

, Diana Damrau
Diana Damrau
Diana Damrau is a German lyric coloratura soprano of the operatic stage.-Biography:Diana Damrau was born in 1971 in Günzburg, Bavaria, Germany, and began her operatic studies with Carmen Hanganu at the Musikhochschule in Würzburg. After graduating from music conservatory she worked in Salzburg...

, Natalie Dessay
Natalie Dessay
Natalie Dessay is a French coloratura soprano. She dropped the silent "h" in her first name in honor of Natalie Wood when she was in grade school and subsequently simplified the spelling of her surname outside France...

, Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming is an American soprano specializing in opera and lieder. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice.Fleming has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano repertoires. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also...

, Juan Diego Flórez
Juan Diego Flórez
Juan Diego Flórez is a Peruvian operatic tenor, particularly known for his roles in bel canto operas. On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest decoration, the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Sol del Perú....

, Marcello Giordani
Marcello Giordani
Marcello Giordani is an Italian operatic tenor who has sung leading roles in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. He has had a distinguished association with the New York Metropolitan Opera, where he has sung in over 170 performances since his debut there in 1993...

, Angela Gheorghiu
Angela Gheorghiu
Angela Gheorghiu is a Romanian soprano opera singer. Since her professional debut in 1990, she has sung as soprano leading roles at New York's Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden's Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Milan's La Scala, and many other opera houses in Europe and the United States...

, Susan Graham
Susan Graham
Susan Graham is an American mezzo-soprano.Raised in Midland, Texas, she is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music. She studied the piano for 13 years...

, Ben Heppner
Ben Heppner
Ben Heppner, CC is a Canadian tenor, specializing in opera and other classical works for voice.Heppner was born in Murrayville, British Columbia, and lived in Dawson Creek...

, Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky , is a leading baritone opera singer from Russia.Hvorostovsky was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. He studied at the Krasnoyarsk School of Arts under Yekatherina Yofel and made his debut at Krasnoyarsk Opera House, in the role of Marullo in Rigoletto...

, Salvatore Licitra
Salvatore Licitra
-Early life and debuts:Born in Bern, Switzerland, to Sicilian parents, Licitra grew up in Milan. He fell into opera by accident. As many tenors before him, he was not altogether confident about his vocal capabilities and started working as a graphic artist for Italian Vogue...

, Anna Netrebko
Anna Netrebko
Anna Yuryevna Netrebko is an Russian operatic soprano. She now holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenship and currently resides in Vienna. She has been nicknamed "La Bellissima" by fans.-Biography:...

, René Pape
René Pape
René Pape is a German opera singer, a bass.-Biography:Rene Pape was born in Dresden, then part of East Germany. His mother is a hairdresser and his father a chef. His parents divorced when he was two years old and he sometimes lived with his grandmother, who opened the way for his interest in music...

, Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel Jones CBE is a Welsh bass-baritone opera and concert singer. Terfel was initially associated with the roles of Mozart, particularly Figaro and Leporello, but has subsequently shifted his attention to heavier roles, especially those by Wagner....

, and Deborah Voigt
Deborah Voigt
Deborah Voigt is an American operatic soprano. Voigt regularly performs in opera houses and concert halls worldwide.- Early life and education :...

 were among the artists first heard at the Met under his management.

Peter Gelb

The current General Manager is Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb
Peter Gelb is an American arts administrator. He is currently General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Early life:...

. He began outlining his plans for the future in April 2006; these included more new productions each year, ideas for shaving staging costs and attracting new audiences without deterring existing opera-lovers. Gelb saw these issues as crucial for an organization which, to a far greater extent than any of the other great opera theatres of the world, is dependent on private financing.

Gelb began his tenure by opening the 2006-2007 season with a colorful and highly stylized production of Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Puccini based his opera in part on the short story "Madame Butterfly" by John Luther Long, which was dramatized by David Belasco...

by the English director Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella, CBE was an English film director, playwright and screenwriter. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007....

 originally staged for English National Opera. Minghella's highly theatrical concept featured vividly colored banners on a spare stage allowing the focus to be on the detailed acting of the singers. The abstract concept included casting the son of Cio-Cio San as a bunraku
Bunraku
, also known as Ningyō jōruri , is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, founded in Osaka in 1684.Three kinds of performers take part in a bunraku performance:* Ningyōtsukai or Ningyōzukai—puppeteers* Tayū—the chanters* Shamisen players...

-style puppet, operated in plain sight by three puppeteers clothed in black.

Gelb has focused on expanding the Met's audience through a number of fronts. Increasing the number of new productions every season to keep the Met's stagings fresh and noteworthy, Gelb has partnered with other opera companies to import productions and he has engaged directors from the realms of theater, circus and film to produce the Met's own original productions. Theater directors Bartlett Sher
Bartlett Sher
Bartlett Sher , is an American theatre director. He received both the 2008 Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for his direction of the Broadway revival of South Pacific. The New York Times has described him as "one of the most original and exciting directors, not only in the American theater but...

, Mary Zimmerman
Mary Zimmerman
Mary Zimmerman is an American theatre director and playwright, born in Lincoln, Nebraska.-Career:Zimmerman is a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company and is an Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. She received her BS, MA and PhD from Northwestern University, where...

, and Jack O'Brien
Jack O'Brien (director)
Jack O'Brien is an American director, producer, writer and lyricist. He served as the Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California from 1981 through the end of 2007....

 have joined the list of the Met's directors along with Stephen Wadsworth, Laurent Pelly
Laurent Pelly
Laurent Pelly is a French opera and theatre director. At the age of 18, he founded the Compagnie Théâtrale du Pélican which, since 1982, has been co-directed by Agathe Mélinand...

, Luc Bondy
Luc Bondy
- Biography :Trained in Paris with the theatre teacher Jacques Lecoq, he received a job in 1969 as an assistant at the Hamburg Thalia Theatre. In a surprise, he took over in 1985 after the resignation of Peter Stein at the Schaubühne in Berlin. He also worked as a producer of both plays and operas...

 and other opera directors to create innovative new stagings for the company. Robert Lepage
Robert Lepage
Robert Lepage, is a playwright, actor, film director, and stage director from Québec City, Québec, and is one of Canada's most honoured theatre artists.- Life and work :...

, the Canadian director of Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil , is a Canadian entertainment company, self-described as a "dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment." Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy...

 has been engaged by the Met to produce a new technically ground-breaking production of Wagner's four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner . The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied...

using hydraulic stage platforms and projected 3D imagery.

To further engage new audiences Gelb has initiated live high-definition video transmissions to cinemas worldwide and regular live satellite radio broadcasts on the Met's own SiriusXM radio channel.

New stars that have emerged during Gelb's tenure include Elina Garanca
Elina Garanca
-Biography:Garanča was born in the Latvian city of Riga into a musical family, her father a choral director, mother a lieder singer and singing teacher. Her mother Anita is a professor at the Latvian Academy of Music, an associated professor at the Latvian Academy of Culture, a vocal music teacher...

, Jonas Kaufmann
Jonas Kaufmann
Jonas Kaufmann is a German operatic tenor. Although he has sung a variety of leading roles including both the Mozart and Wagner repertoire, he is particularly known for his performances in spinto roles such as Don José in Carmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, and the title...

, Piotr Beczala
Piotr Beczala
Piotr Beczała is a Polish operatic tenor.Piotr Beczała was born in southern Poland and initially trained in Katowice. His first engagements were with the Landestheatre in Linz, after which he became a regular member of Zurich Opera. Between 2004-2006, Beczała made several major international house...

, Joseph Calleja
Joseph Calleja
Joseph Calleja, , is a Maltese tenor. He began singing at the age of 16 and, having been discovered by Paul Asciak, continued his studies with him. At 19, he made his operatic debut as Macduff in Verdi's Macbeth at Astra Theatre in Gozo and went on to become a prize winner at the Belvedere Hans...

, Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence Brownlee is an American operatic tenor particularly associated with the bel canto repertoire. In 2001 he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was named Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year in 2008 for his performances as Arturo in Bellini's I puritani. He has also...

, Mariusz Kwiecien
Mariusz Kwiecien
Mariusz Kwiecień is an operatic baritone who has sung leading roles in the major opera houses of Europe and North America...

, and Eric Owens
Eric Owens
Eric Owens may refer to:*Eric Owens *Eric Owens *Eric Owens...

. Debuting conductors have included Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is a French Canadian conductor. He is Music Director Designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and will become Music Director in 2012.-Biography:...

, Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons is a Latvian conductor.Nelsons was born in Riga. His mother founded the first early music ensemble in Latvia, and his father was a choral conductor, cellist, and teacher...

, and Fabio Luisi
Fabio Luisi
Fabio Luisi is an Italian conductor. On September 6, 2011, he was named Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera....

. Luisi was named Principal Guest Conductor in 2010 and Principal Conductor in 2011, filling a void created by James Levine's absences in recent seasons due to illness.

Met Titles

In 1995, under general manager Joseph Volpe, the Met installed its own system of simultaneous translations of opera texts designed for the particular needs of the Met and its audiences. Called "Met Titles", the $2.7 million electronic libretto system
Electronic libretto
The Electronic libretto system is used primarily in opera houses and is a device which presents translations of lyrics into an audience's language or transcribes lyrics that may be difficult to understand in the sung form....

 provides the audience with a translation of the opera's text in English on individual screens mounted in front of each seat. This system was the first in the world to be placed in an opera house with "each screen (having) a switch to turn it off, a filter to prevent the dim, yellow dot-matrix characters from disturbing nearby viewers and the option to display texts in multiple languages for newer productions (currently Spanish and German). Custom-designed, the system features rails of different heights for various sections of the house, individually designed displays for some box seats and commissioned translations costing up to $10,000 apiece." Due to the height of the Met's proscenium, it was not feasible to have titles displayed above the stage, as is done in most other opera houses. The idea of above-stage titles had been vehemently opposed by music director James Levine, but the "Met Titles" system has since been acknowledged as an ideal solution, offering texts to only those members of the Met audience that desire them.

Tessitura software

In 1998, Volpe initiated the development of a new software application, now called Tessitura
Tessitura software
Tessitura is an enterprise application used by performing arts and cultural organisations to manage their activities in ticketing, fundraising, customer relationship management, and marketing...

. Tessitura uses a single database of information to record, track and manage all contacts with the Met's constituents, conduct targeted marketing and fund raising appeals, handle all ticketing and membership transactions, and provide detailed and flexible performance reports. Beginning in 2000, Tessitura was offered to other arts organizations under license, and it is now used by a cooperative network of more than 200 opera companies, symphony orchestras, ballet companies, theater companies, performing arts centers, and museums in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Broadcast radio

Outside of New York the Met has been known to audiences in large measure through its many years of live radio broadcasts
Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts
The Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts are a regular series of weekly broadcasts on network radio of full-length opera performances. They are transmitted live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City...

. The Met's broadcast history goes back to January 1910 when radio pioneer Lee De Forest
Lee De Forest
Lee De Forest was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. De Forest invented the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. De Forest is one of the fathers of the "electronic age", as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use...

 broadcast experimentally, with erratic signal, two live performances from the stage of the Met that were reportedly heard as far away as Newark, New Jersey. Today the annual Met broadcast season typically begins the first week of December and offers twenty live Saturday matinée performances through May.

The first network broadcast was heard on December 25, 1931, a performance of Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck was a German composer, best known for his opera, Hänsel und Gretel. Humperdinck was born at Siegburg in the Rhine Province; at the age of 67 he died in Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.-Life:After receiving piano lessons, Humperdinck produced his first composition...

's
Hänsel und Gretel. The series came about as the Met, financially endangered in the early years of the Great Depression, sought to enlarge its audience and support through national exposure on network radio. Initially, those broadcasts featured only parts of longer operas, being limited to selected acts. Regular broadcasts of complete operas began March 11, 1933, with the transmission of Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting...

with Frida Leider and Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior
Lauritz Melchior was a Danish and later American opera singer. He was the pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and has since come to be considered the quintessence of his voice type.-Biography:...

.

The live broadcasts were originally heard on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 Radio's Blue Network
Blue Network
The Blue Network, and its immediate predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, were the on-air names of an American radio production and distribution service from 1927 to 1945...

 and continued on the Blue Network's successor, ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

, into the 1960s. As network radio waned, the Met founded its own Metropolitan Opera Radio Network which is now heard on radio stations around the world. In Canada the live broadcasts have been heard since December 1933 first on the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was Canada's first public broadcaster and the immediate precursor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.-Origins:...

 and, since 1934, on its successor, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

 where they are currently heard on CBC Radio 2.

Technical quality of the broadcasts steadily improved over the years. FM broadcasts were added in the 1950s, transmitted to stations via telephone lines. With the arrival of 1973/74 broadcasting season (December 1973), all broadcasts were offered in FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 stereo
Stereophonic sound
The term Stereophonic, commonly called stereo, sound refers to any method of sound reproduction in which an attempt is made to create an illusion of directionality and audible perspective...

. Satellite technology later allowed uniformly excellent broadcast sound to be sent live worldwide.

Financing the Met broadcasts during the Depression years of the 1930s was difficult, moving between NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, the American Tobacco Company
American Tobacco Company
The American Tobacco Company was a tobacco company founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco manufacturers including Allen and Ginter and Goodwin & Company...

, the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, and RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 (NBC’s parent company). Sponsorship of the Saturday afternoon broadcasts by The Texas Company (Texaco
Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

) began on December 7, 1940 with Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

's Le nozze di Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata , K. 492, is an opera buffa composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro .Although the play by...

. Texaco's support continued for 63 years, the longest continuous sponsorship in broadcast history and included the first PBS television broadcasts. After its merger with Chevron
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

, however, the combined company ChevronTexaco ended its sponsorship of the Met's radio network in April 2004. Emergency grants allowed the broadcasts to continue through 2005 when the home building company Toll Brothers
Toll Brothers
Toll Brothers is a Horsham, Pennsylvania based luxury homes builder.-Company Overview:Toll Brothers is a residential and commercial real estate development company with communities in 50 markets throughout 19 states...

 stepped in to become primary sponsor.

In the seven decades of its Saturday broadcasts, the Met has been introduced by the voices of only three permanent announcers. The legendary Milton Cross
Milton Cross
Milton John Cross was an American radio announcer famous for his work on the NBC and ABC radio networks.He was best known as the voice of the Metropolitan Opera, hosting its Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts for 43 years, from the time of their inception in 1931 until his death in...

 served from the inaugural 1931 broadcast until his death in 1975. He was succeeded by Peter Allen, who presided for 29 years through the 2003/2004 season. The present host of the broadcasts, Margaret Juntwait
Margaret Juntwait
Margaret Juntwait is an American radio broadcaster who is the voice of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. She debuted in this position on December 11, 2004, replacing Peter Allen upon his retirement after twenty-nine years.-Life and career:...

, began her tenure the following season. Since September 2006 she has also served as host for all of the live and recorded broadcasts on the Met's Sirius satellite radio channel. Other announcers have included Lloyd Moss who twice substituted for Cross and Deems Taylor
Deems Taylor
Joseph Deems Taylor was a U.S. composer, music critic, and promoter of classical music.-Career:Taylor initially planned to become an architect; however, despite minimal musical training he soon took to music composition. The result was a series of works for orchestra and/or voices...

 who was heard briefly as co-host during the early years. In recent seasons William Berger
William Berger (author)
William Berger is an American author, radio music host and commentator.Born in California 25 January 1961, studied Romance languages and musicology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For five years he worked in the San Francisco Opera, being responsible for acquiring company’s records...

 and Ira Siff have been heard as co-hosts with Miss Juntwait.

Satellite radio

Metropolitan Opera Radio is a 24-hour opera channel on Sirius XM Radio, which presents three to four live opera broadcasts each week during the Met's performing season. During other hours it also offers past broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast
Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts
The Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts are a regular series of weekly broadcasts on network radio of full-length opera performances. They are transmitted live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City...

 archives. The channel was created in September 2006, when the Met initiated a multi-year relationship with Sirius. Margaret Juntwait
Margaret Juntwait
Margaret Juntwait is an American radio broadcaster who is the voice of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. She debuted in this position on December 11, 2004, replacing Peter Allen upon his retirement after twenty-nine years.-Life and career:...

 is the main host and announcer, with William Berger
William Berger (author)
William Berger is an American author, radio music host and commentator.Born in California 25 January 1961, studied Romance languages and musicology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For five years he worked in the San Francisco Opera, being responsible for acquiring company’s records...

 as writer and co-host.

Television

The Met's experiments with television go back to 1948 when a complete performance of Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

's Otello
Otello
Otello is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare's play Othello. It was Verdi's penultimate opera, and was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on February 5, 1887....

was broadcast live on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

-TV with Ramón Vinay
Ramón Vinay
Ramón Vinay was a famous Chilean operatic tenor with a powerful, dramatic voice. He is probably best remembered for his appearances in the title role of Giuseppe Verdi's tragic opera Otello....

, Licia Albanese
Licia Albanese
Licia Albanese is an Italian-born American operatic soprano. Noted especially for her portrayals of the lyric heroines of Verdi and Puccini, Albanese was a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera of New York from 1940 to 1966...

, and Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren was a famous American opera singer. A baritone, he was a leading artist for many years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.-Biography:...

. The 1949 season opening Rosenkavalier was also telecast and in the early 1950s there was a short-lived experiment with closed circuit telecasts to movie theaters. Beyond these experiments, however, and an occasional gala or special, the Met did not become a regular presence on television until 1977.

In that year the company began a series of live television broadcasts on public television with a wildly successful live telecast of La bohème
La bohème
La bohème is an opera in four acts,Puccini called the divisions quadro, a tableau or "image", rather than atto . by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger...

with Renata Scotto
Renata Scotto
Renata Scotto is an Italian soprano and opera director.Recognized for her sense of style, musicality and as a remarkable singer-actress, Scotto is considered one of the preeminent singers of her generation, specializing in the bel canto repertoire with excursions into the verismo and Verdi...

 and Luciano Pavarotti. The new series of opera on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 was called Live from the Metropolitan Opera. This series remained on the air until the early 2000s, although the live broadcasts gave way to taped performances and in 1988 the title was changed to The Metropolitan Opera Presents. Dozens of televised performances were broadcast during the life of the series including an historic complete telecast of Wagner's Ring Cycle
Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner . The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied...

in 1989. In 2007 another Met television series debuted on PBS, Great Performances at The Met. This series airs repeat showings of the high-definition video
High-definition video
High-definition video or HD video refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition video, and most commonly involves display resolutions of 1,280×720 pixels or 1,920×1,080 pixels...

 performances produced for the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD cinema series.

In addition to complete operas and gala concerts, television programs produced at the Met have included: an episode of Omnibus with Leonard Bernstein (NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, 1958); "Danny Kaye's Look-In at the Metropolitan Opera" (CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, 1975); "Sills and Burnett at the Met" (CBS, 1976); and the MTV Video Music Awards
MTV Video Music Awards
An MTV Video Music Award , is an award presented by the cable channel MTV to honor the best in music videos...

(1999 and 2001).

High-definition video

Beginning on December 30, 2006, as part of the company's effort to build revenues and attract new audiences, the Met (along with NCM Fathom
National CineMedia
National CineMedia operates NCM Media Networks, an integrated media company reaching U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online and through mobile technology...

) broadcast a series of six performances live via satellite into movie theaters called "Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD". The first broadcast was the Saturday matinee live performance of the 110-minute version of Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor is an American director of theater, opera and film. Taymor's work has received many accolades from critics, and she has earned two Tony Awards out of four nominations, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design, an Emmy Award and an Academy Award nomination for Original Song...

's production of The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

. The series was carried in over 100 movie theaters across North America, Japan, Britain and several other European countries. During the 2006-07 season, the series included live HD transmissions of I puritani
I puritani
I puritani is an opera in three acts by Vincenzo Bellini. It was his last opera. Its libretto is by Count Carlo Pepoli, based on Têtes rondes et Cavaliers by Jacques-François Ancelot and Joseph Xavier Saintine, which is in turn based on Walter Scott's novel Old Mortality. It was first produced at...

, The First Emperor
The First Emperor
The First Emperor is an opera in two acts with a libretto written in English by Tan Dun and Ha Jin, and music by Tan Dun. The opera received its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center in New York City on 21 December 2006, conducted by the composer and with Plácido Domingo in the...

, Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin (opera)
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24, is an opera in 3 acts , by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by Konstantin Shilovsky and the composer and his brother Modest, and is based on the novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin....

, The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's comedy Le Barbier de Séville , which was originally an opéra comique, or a mixture of spoken play with music...

, and Il trittico
Il trittico
Il trittico is the title of a collection of three one-act operas, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi, by Giacomo Puccini...

. In addition, limited repeat showings of the operas were offered in most of the presenting cities. Digital sound for the performances was provided by Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio is a satellite radio service operating in North America, owned by Sirius XM Radio.Headquartered in New York City, with smaller studios in Los Angeles and Memphis, Sirius was officially launched on July 1, 2002 and currently provides 69 streams of music and 65 streams of...

.

These movie transmissions have received wide and generally favorable press coverage. The Met reports that 91% of available seats were sold for the HD performances. According to General Manager Peter Gelb, there were 60, 000 people in cinemas around the world watching the March 24 transmission of The Barber of Seville. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

reported that 324,000 tickets were sold worldwide for the 2006/07 season, while each simulcast cost $850,000 to $1 million to produce.

The 2007/08 season began on December 15, 2007 and featured eight of the Met's productions starting with Roméo et Juliette
Roméo et Juliette
Roméo et Juliette is an opéra in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. It was first performed at the Théâtre Lyrique , Paris on 27 April 1867...

and ending with La fille du régiment
La fille du régiment
La fille du régiment is an opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. It was written while the composer was living in Paris, with a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard.La figlia del reggimento, a slightly different Italian-language version , was...

on April 26, 2008. The Met planned to broadcast to double the number of theaters in the US as the previous season, as well as to additional countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The number of participating venues in the US, which includes movie theatre chains as well as independent theatres and some college campus venues, is 343. While "the scope of the series expands to include more than 700 locations across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia".

By the end of the season 920,000 people—exceeding the total number of people who attended live performances at the Met over the entire season—attended the 8 screenings bringing in a gross of $13.3 million from North America and $5 million from overseas.

Internet

Year round, online archived video and audio of hundreds of complete operas and excerpts are available via the Met Player. Hundreds of archived audio operas and selections are also available year-round on Rhapsody
Rhapsody (online music service)
Rhapsody is an online music store subscription service, launched in December 2001, and available in the United States only. On April 6, 2010, Rhapsody officially declared its independence from RealNetworks. Downloaded files come with restrictions on their use, enforced by Helix, Rhapsody's version...

, a service which is free for online listening, and downloadable with payment.

The Metropolitan Opera Radio channel on Sirius XM Radio (see above) is available to listeners via the internet in addition to satellite broadcast.

The Met's official site also provides complete composer and background information, detailed plot summaries, and cast and characters for all current and upcoming opera broadcasts, as well as for every opera broadcast since 2000. In addition, the Met's online archive provides links to all Rhapsody, Sirius XM, and Met Player operas, with complete program and cast information. The online archive also provides an exhaustive searchable list of every performance and performer in the Metropolitan Opera's history.

Metropolitan Opera House, Broadway

The first Metropolitan Opera House opened on October 22, 1883, with a performance of Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

. It was located at 1411 Broadway
Broadway (New York City)
Broadway is a prominent avenue in New York City, United States, which runs through the full length of the borough of Manhattan and continues northward through the Bronx borough before terminating in Westchester County, New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to...

 between 39th and 40th Streets and was designed by J. Cleaveland Cady
J. Cleaveland Cady
J Cleaveland Cady was a New York-based architect whose most familiar surviving building is the south range of the American Museum of Natural History on New York's Upper West Side...

. Gutted by fire on August 27, 1892, the theater was immediately rebuilt, reopening in the fall of 1893. Another major renovation was completed in 1903. The theater's interior was extensively redesigned by the architects Carrère and Hastings
Carrère and Hastings
Carrère and Hastings, the firm of John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings , located in New York City, was one of the outstanding Beaux-Arts architecture firms in the United States. The partnership operated from 1885 until 1911, when Carrère was killed in an automobile accident...

. The familiar red and gold interior associated with the house dates from this time. The old Met had a seating capacity of 3,625 with an additional 224 standing room places.

The theater was noted for its elegance and excellent acoustics and it provided a glamorous home for the company. Its stage facilities, however, were found to be severely inadequate from its earliest days. Many plans for a new opera house were explored and abandoned, including a proposal to make a new Metropolitan Opera House the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. It was only with the development of Lincoln Center that the Met was able to build itself a new home. The original Metropolitan Opera House closed April 16, 1966 with a lavish farewell gala performance. It was demolished in 1967.

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center

The present Metropolitan Opera House is located in Lincoln Center at Lincoln Square
Lincoln Square, New York
Lincoln Square is the name of both a square and the surrounding neighborhood within the Upper West Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan...

 in the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

 and was designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison
Wallace Harrison
Wallace Kirkman Harrison , was an American architect.-Career:Harrison started his professional career with the firm of Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray, participating in the construction of Rockefeller Center...

. It has a seating capacity of approximately 3800 with an additional 195 standing room places at the rear of the main floor and the top balcony. As needed, the size of the orchestra pit can be decreased and another row of 35 seats added at the front of the auditorium. The lobby is adorned with two famous murals by Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century."According to art historian Michael J...

, The Triumph of Music and The Sources of Music. Each of these gigantic paintings measures 30 by 36 feet.

After numerous revisions to its design, the new building opened September 16, 1966 with the world premiere of Samuel Barber
Samuel Barber
Samuel Osborne Barber II was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music...

's Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra (opera)
Antony and Cleopatra is an opera in three acts by American composer Samuel Barber. The libretto was prepared by Franco Zeffirelli based on the play Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare...

.

The theater, while large, is noted for its excellent acoustics. The stage facilities, state of the art when the theater was built, continue to be updated technically and are capable of handling multiple large complex opera productions simultaneously. When the opera company is on hiatus, the Opera House is home to performances of American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

 and touring opera and ballet companies.

Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia

To provide a home for its regular Tuesday night performances in Philadelphia, the Met purchased an opera house originally built in 1908 by Oscar Hammerstein I, the Philadelphia Opera House at North Broad and Poplar Streets. Renamed the Metropolitan Opera House, the theater was operated by the Met from 1910 until it sold the house in April 1920. The Met debuted at its new Philadelphia home on December 13, 1910 with a performance of Tannhäuser starring Leo Slezak and Olive Fremstad.

The Philadelphia Met was designed by noted theater architect William H. McElfatrick and had a seating capacity of approximately 4,000. The theater still stands and currently functions as a church and community arts center.

Principal conductors

Although the Met did not have an officially designated "Music Director" until Rafael Kubelík in 1973, a number of principal conductors have assumed a strong leadership role at different times in the company's history. They set artistic standards and influenced the quality and performance style of the orchestra. The Met has also had a great many celebrated guest conductors who are not listed here.
  • James Levine
    James Levine
    James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

     (Principal Conductor 1973–1976; Music Director 1976–present; Artistic Director 1986–2004)
  • Fabio Luisi
    Fabio Luisi
    Fabio Luisi is an Italian conductor. On September 6, 2011, he was named Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera....

     (Principal Guest Conductor 2010–2011; Principal Conductor 2011–present)
  • Valery Gergiev
    Valery Gergiev
    Valery Abisalovich Gergiev is a Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.- Early life :Gergiev,...

     (1997–2008) (Principal Guest Conductor)
  • Rafael Kubelík
    Rafael Kubelík
    Rafael Jeroným Kubelík was a Czech conductor and composer.-Early life:Kubelík was born in Býchory, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary, today's Czech Republic. He was the sixth child of the Bohemian violinist Jan Kubelík, whom the younger Kubelík described as "a kind of god to me." His mother was a Hungarian...

     (1973–1974) (Music Director)
  • Kurt Adler
    Kurt Adler
    Kurt Adler was an Austrian classical music conductor, chorus master and pianist with a European musical education. He was best known as the chorus master and conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1943 to 1973...

     (1943–1973) (Chorus Master and conductor)
  • Erich Leinsdorf
    Erich Leinsdorf
    Erich Leinsdorf was a naturalized American Austrian conductor. He performed and recorded with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, earning a reputation for exacting standards as well as an acerbic personality...

     (1957–1962)
  • Dimitri Mitropoulos (1954–1960)
  • Fritz Reiner
    Fritz Reiner
    Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century.-Biography:...

     (1949–1953)
  • Fritz Busch
    Fritz Busch
    Fritz Busch was a German conductor.Busch was born in Siegen, Province of Westphalia. He held posts conducting opera at Aachen, Stuttgart and Dresden. In 1933 he was dismissed from his post at Dresden because of his opposition to the new Nazi government of Germany...

     (1945–1949)
  • George Szell
    George Szell
    George Szell , originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born American conductor and composer...

     (1942–1946)

  • Erich Leinsdorf
    Erich Leinsdorf
    Erich Leinsdorf was a naturalized American Austrian conductor. He performed and recorded with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, earning a reputation for exacting standards as well as an acerbic personality...

     (1938–1942) (principal conductor of German repertory)
  • Fausto Cleva
    Fausto Cleva
    Fausto Cleva was an Italian-born American operatic conductor.After studies at the Conservatorio in his native city and Milan, Cleva made his debut conducting La traviata in Carcano, near Milan, before emigrating to the United States in 1920, becoming an American citizen in 1931...

     (1931–1971)
  • Tullio Serafin
    Tullio Serafin
    -Biography:Tullio Serafin was a leading Italian opera conductor with a long career and a very broad repertoire who revived many 19th century bel canto operas by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti to become staples of 20th century repertoire...

     (1924–1934)
  • Artur Bodanzky
    Artur Bodanzky
    Artur Bodanzky was an Austrian-American conductor particularly associated with the operas of Wagner.- Career :...

     (1915–1939) (principal conductor of German repertory)
  • Arturo Toscanini
    Arturo Toscanini
    Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

     (1908–1915)
  • Gustav Mahler
    Gustav Mahler
    Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

     (1908–1910)
  • Alfred Hertz
    Alfred Hertz
    Alfred Hertz , a German conductor born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. As a child, he contracted infantile paralysis and walked with a cane after that....

     (1902–1915) (principal conductor of German repertory)
  • Walter Damrosch (1884–1902)
  • Anton Seidl
    Anton Seidl
    Anton Seidl was a Hungarian conductor.-Biography:He was born at Pest, Hungary. He began the study of music at a very early age, and when only seven years old could pick out at the piano melodies which he had heard at the theatre...

     (1885–1897)


Deaths at the Met

February 10, 1897. French bass Armand Castelmary suffered a heart attack onstage in the finale of act one of Flotow's Martha
Martha (opera)
Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond is a 'romantic comic' opera in four acts by Friedrich von Flotow, set to a German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese and based on a story by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges....

. He died in the arms of his friend, tenor Jean de Reszke
Jean de Reszke
Jean de Reszke, born Jan Mieczyslaw, , was a Polish tenor. Renowned internationally for the high quality of his singing and the elegance of his bearing, he became the biggest male opera star of the late 19th century....

 after the curtain was brought down. The performance resumed with Giuseppe Cernusco substituting in the role of Sir Tristram.

March 4, 1960. Leading baritone Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren was a famous American opera singer. A baritone, he was a leading artist for many years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.-Biography:...

 died of a stroke onstage after completing the aria "Urna fatale" in act two of Verdi's La forza del destino
La forza del destino
La forza del destino is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino , by Ángel de Saavedra, Duke of Rivas, with a scene adapted from Friedrich Schiller's Wallensteins Lager. It was first performed...

.

April 30, 1977. Betty Stone, a member of the Met chorus, was killed in an accident offstage during a tour performance of Il trovatore
Il trovatore
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El Trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez. Cammarano died in mid-1852 before completing the libretto...

in Cleveland.

July 23, 1980. Helen Hagnes Mintiks, a Canadian-born violinist, was found dead, murdered by stagehand Craig Crimmins during a performance of the Berlin Ballet.

January 5, 1996. Tenor Richard Versalle
Richard Versalle
Richard Versalle was an American operatic tenor, who had an international career including performances at the Bayreuth Festival and the Vienna State Opera. He died while singing in a performance of The Makropulos Case, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.-Biography:Versalle was born in...

 died while playing the role of Vitek in Leoš Janáček
Leoš Janácek
Leoš Janáček was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and all Slavic folk music to create an original, modern musical style. Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research and his early musical output was influenced by...

's The Makropulos Case. Versalle was climbing a 20 feet (6.1 m) ladder in the opening scene when he suffered a heart attack and fell to the stage.

In addition, several audience members have died at the Met. The best-known incident was the suicide of operagoer Bantcho Bantchevsky
Bantcho Bantchevsky
Bantcho Bantchevsky was a Bulgarian-born American singer, singing coach, and translator...

 on January 23, 1988 during an intermission of Verdi's Macbeth
Macbeth (opera)
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on Shakespeare's play of the same name...

.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK