The Metropolitan Opera, affectionately known as “the Met,” is the United States’ premier opera venue and one of the world’s most prestigious opera companies. It is housed in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a complex of arts organizations. During the regular season, the Met stages over 200 performances, and in the off-season, visiting opera companies and groups such as the American Ballet Theatre use the stages to stage additional performances.
The Met’s grandeur, which includes ornate artwork and stunning architectural features, is often awe-inspiring to visitors. The Met is also proud of a number of technological advancements, such as the libretto translations being displayed on the back of the seats rather than on supertitles above the stage. Because the Met must be able to accommodate stunning, large sets and rapid set changes in its productions, as well as large casts of opera stars, musicians, and supporting singers, the Met’s backstage facilities are widely regarded as among the best in the United States.
The Metropolitan Opera Association was founded in 1880 and was initially funded subscribers who bought boxes at the Met’s original Broadway location. Faust was the Met’s first opera, which premiered in 1883. The so-called “Old Met” on Broadway was no longer adequate after several remodels in the early twentieth century, and the Met relocated to Lincoln Center, its current home, in 1996.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a one-of-a-kind New York institution. On any given day of the year, 12 performing arts organizations sprawl across the grounds of Lincoln Center, offering a diverse range of performances. In addition to listening to performances at the Met, visitors to Lincoln Center can watch ballet and other dance performances, attend concerts, and conduct research at the Lincoln Center’s formidable library.
The Met, as the country’s leading opera house, regularly hosts American premieres of international operas as well as premiere performances of entirely new operas. The Met also welcomes opera companies from around the world who wish to perform in the United States. Seeing a show at the Met is relatively simple; a wide range of ticket prices cater to a wide range of budgets, and tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person at the Met’s box office.
For those who are unable to visit the Met, the Met can come to them. During the regular season, the Met has broadcast live performances over the international airwaves since 1931. These broadcasts are available on a variety of radio stations and can be heard on Saturday mornings. The Metropolitan Opera’s website has a list of stations.