The Metropolitan Opera or “The Met” is a company that has produced some of the greatest operas in history. Based in New York City with Peter Gelb as its general manager, The Met provides a rich experience in classical music with excellent ambiance, making opera watching an enlivening experience.
Over the years, The Metropolitan Opera has become the largest classical music organization in all of North America. The Met takes opera fans on a journey that they remember forever. This is one of the reasons why Metropolitan Opera tickets are always in high demand.
The History of the Met
The idea to establish the Metropolitan Opera came to a group of New York millionaires when they had a hard time securing box office seats at the Academy of Music. Their goal was to make a bigger and better performing arts alternative that would outshine the Academy of Music in every way. The result was the Metropolitan Opera.
In 1880, the Met was created and soon members of the Roosevelt, Morgan and Vanderbilt families became its members. It took another three years to build sets and hire singers and orchestra. On October 22, 1883, The Metropolitan Opera opened on Broadway and 39th Street and three years after that, the Academy of Music shut down its operations.
The First Season
For the first few decades, the Met avoided producing opera performances and instead, hired renowned impresarios/managers to perform every season at the Metropolitan Opera House. In its first season, Henry Eugene Abbey was asked to present an opera and he and his team staged Charles Gounod’s Faust which starred the talented soprano, Christina Nilsson. Other stars that played a part in the production included, Sofia Scalchi, Marcella Sembrich, Roberto Stagno and Italo Campanini.
During the inaugural season of the Met, Abbey delivered 150 performances of 20 different operas by Gounod including, Verdi, Wagner, Meyerbeer, Thomas and Flotow. The debut season came to an end with a long gala performance to benefit Henry Abbey. This marked the start of one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, The Metropolitan Opera.
What Makes The Met So Special
An extensive list of operas - The Met is one of a kind opera house and what makes it so special is that it has staged U.S. premiers of some of the most famous operas in history. The list includes classics like Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal. Moreover, the company has staged around thirty-two world premieres including, John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, Tan Dun’s The First Emperor, Philip Glass’s The Voyage and Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy.
Famous Conductors - Many notable conductors have helped shaped the Met’s rise to becoming a leader in opera productions. It all began with Anton Seidl in the 1880s and the 1890s. Then, Arturo Toscanini made his debut in 1908. After him, many prominent names like, Bruno Walter, Artur Bodanzky, Gustav Mahler and Dimitri Mitropoulos were hired as conductors. In September of 2011, Fabio Luisi was named the Met’s Principal Conductor.
Turning youngsters into stars! - The Met features a large symphony-sized orchestra along with a children’s choir and a chorus. There are also leading and supporting solo singers who help deliver these mesmerizing performances. Plus, the company also employs free-lance dancers, musicians and actors some of whom got start through the Met’s young artists programs.
Met Titles - The list doesn’t end there. In fact, there is one more thing that the Metropolitan Opera offers and that is Met Titles. It is a unique system of simultaneous translation. Met Titles appear on each individual screen that is mounted on the back of every seat. The best thing about the Met Titles is that you can view the titles of all Met performances in multiple languages including, Spanish, German and English.
The Numbers - Another thing which makes the Metropolitan Opera stand out is that each season, the company stages in excess of two hundred performances which are enjoyed by more than eight hundred thousand people.
The Met Takes over the World
The Met has always been at the forefront when it comes to embracing new technologies. This has resulted in the company taking initiatives that have expanded its reach to millions of opera fans around the US and abroad.
Television – Forty years ago in 1977, the Met launched a regular television series with a performance of, La Bohème. It was viewed by over four million people. Since that day, the company has come up with 70 complete Met performances that are available everywhere in the world. Many of these performances have also been released on DVDs, video and laserdiscs.
Satellite Radio – In 1910, radio pioneer, Lee De Forest aired the first two Met live performances which were heard as far as Newark, New Jersey. Now, there is a radio channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio titled, ‘Metropolitan Opera Radio’ which is dedicated to airing Met performances round the clock and that too commercial-free.
High Definition Video – In the fall of 2006, The Metropolitan Opera introduced, ‘The Met: Live in HD.’ It included a series of performances which were shown in high definition all around the globe. Today, ‘The Met: Live in HD’ is being shown in over two thousand venues in seventy-three countries across six continents. Some of these performances are also shown on television and have been released on DVD. Moreover, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has also designed a nationwide program in partnership with the New York City Department of Education for students to attend these ‘Live in HD’ transmissions for free in their schools.
Metropolitan Opera Discount Tickets
The Metropolitan Opera currently has three opera houses. One of them is on Broadway and is known as ‘The Old Met.’ The second one is located at the Upper West Side of Manhattan at the famous Lincoln Center. The third opera house is in Philadelphia at the North Broad Street. If you are a fan of classical theater, then you can now get your Metropolitan Opera discount tickets to see some magical productions, live. Rest assured, it will be an experience you won’t forget for a long time to come.