The Metropolitan Opera (the "Met") is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. The music director is James Levine. The company's origins were in the late 19th century as an alternative to the previously established Academy of Music opera house.
The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music 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 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 2012/13 season comprises 209 performances of 28 operas.
The operas in the Met's repertoire consist of a wide range of works, from 18th Century Baroque and 19th Century Bel canto to the Minimalism 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 and Plácido Domingo, have long maintained a close association with the Met, appearing many times each season.
The company's annual operating budget for the 2011/12 season was $325 million, of which $182 million (43%) comes from private donations. The total potential audience across a season is 800,000 seats, but average audience rates for the 3800-seat theater in 2011 were just 79.2%, down from a peak of 88% in 2009. 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 transmissions presented in cinemas throughout the world. In 2011, the total HD audience reached 3 million through 1600 theaters worldwide.
Famous quotes containing the words metropolitan and/or opera:
“In metropolitan cases, the love of the most single-eyed lover, almost invariably, is nothing more than the ultimate settling of innumerable wandering glances upon some one specific object.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)
“Opera once was an important social instrumentespecially in Italy. With Rossini and Verdi people were listening to opera together and having the same catharsis with the same story, the same moral dilemmas. They were holding hands in the darkness. That has gone. Now perhaps they are holding hands watching television.”
—Luciano Berio (b. 1925)