The Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883. The first Metropolitan Opera House was built on Broadway and 39th Street by a group of wealthy businessmen who wanted their own opera house. Almost from the beginning, it was clear that the opera house on 39th Street did not have adequate stage facilities. However, it was not until September of 1966 that it opened at Lincoln Center equipped with the finest technical facilities.
Many great conductors have helped shape the Metropolitan, from Wagners disciple Anton Seidl in the 1880s and 1890s to Arturo Toscanini who made his debut in 1908. There were two seasons with both Toscanini and Gustav Mahler on the conducting roster. Later, Artur Bodanzky, Bruno Walter, George Szell, Fritz Reiner, and Dimitri Mitropoulos contributed powerful musical direction. James Levine made his debut in 1971 and has been Music Director since 1976 (holding also the title of Artistic Director between 1986 and 2004).
In 1977, the Metropolitan began a regular series of televised productions with a performance of La Bohhme viewed by more than four million people on public television. In 1995, the Metropolitan introduced Met Titles, a unique system of simultaneous translation. Met Titles appear on individual computerized screens mounted in specially built railings at the back of each row of seats.
The Met continues its hugely successful radio broadcast seriesnow in its 77th yearthe longest-running classical music series in American broadcast history, which is now heard in 42 countries around the world via the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
In the 2006-07 season, the company launched Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD, a series of performance transmissions shown live in high definition (HD) in movie theaters around the world. The series expanded from six to eight opera transmissions in 2007-08, reaching over 600 participating venues in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Met has developed a program for thousands of New York City students to attend Live in HD transmissions for free in their schools.
Lincoln Center, Tickets: 1(212) 362-6000. www.metoperafamily.org
Nearby Places of Interest:
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
- City Opera
- AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theater & IMAX
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Central Park
- Time Warner Center
- Century 21
- Upper West Side