Metropolitan Opera

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(Redirected from Metropolitan Opera House)

The Metropolitan Opera is located at Lincoln Center in New York, New York. It was founded in April 1880. The first Metropolitan Opera House opened on October 22, 1883, and was located between 39th and 40th Street on Broadway. The original Metropolitan Opera House was designed by J. Cleaveland Cady and was gutted by fire on August 27, 1892. After extensive renovation it continued to be used until 1966, when the opera company moved to their present location at Lincoln Center. The original building, having failed to obtain landmark status, was razed in 1967.

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Metropolitan_opera_1937.jpg
A full house at the old Metropolitan Opera House, seen from the rear of the stage, at the Metropolitan Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, November 28, 1937.

The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center was designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison. The "New Met" opened on September 16, 1966, with the world premiere of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. The building is clad in white travertine and the east facade is graced with five similar arches. On display in the lobby are two murals created for the space by Marc Chagall. The Opera House holds nearly 4,000 people on several levels. The gold Proscenium is 54' wide and 54' high. The main curtain is custom-woven gold damask and is the largest tab curtain in the world. The stage of the Metropolitan Opera House is highly mechanized. There are 7 full stage elevators, (60' wide, with double decks). There are 3 slipstages: the upstage one also contains a 60' diameter revolve (turntable). There are 103 motorized battens (linesets) for overhead lifting. There are two 100' tall fully-enveloping cycloramas. All of this stage equipment is needed because the Metropolitan performs opera in repertory, that is, alternating productions on a nightly basis. The scenery at the Metropolitan Opera is extraordinarily large and detailed.

The Met (as it is also called) is also known worldwide for its live radio broadcasts. The first broadcast was on December 25, 1931, a production of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel. The famous Saturday afternoon broadcasts sponsored by Texaco began on December 7, 1940 with Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte's Le nozze di Figaro. After its merger with Chevron, the combined company, ChevronTexaco ended its sponsorship in April 2004 but the Met has found financing to continue them at least through 2005. In the seven decades of broadcasting, only three announcers have been heard. Milton Cross served from the inaugural broadcast until his death in 1975. He was succeeded by Peter Allen, who retired at the end of the 2003-2004 season. Twice during Cross and Allen's tenures Lloyd Moss substituted. The new announcer for the 2004-2005 season will be Margaret Juntwait.

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