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Metropolitan Opera House. Chief Amer. opera house, now a constituent of NY's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opened Sept., 1966, with Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. Seating capacity 3,800. Orig. ‘Met’ opened 1883, with Faust. After first season, Leopold Damrosch was appointed art. dir., but died before his first season was over and was succeeded by Anton Seidl and by Walter Damrosch, son of Leopold, who remained until 1890–1, giving all operas in Ger. Singers at the Met in the period up to 1903 incl. Nilsson, Materna, Sembrich, Nordica, Eames, the de Reszkes, Calvé, Melba, Plançon, Maurel, and Scotti. In 1903 Heinrich Conried became manager, engaging Caruso, Fremstad, Farrar, and Chaliapin. In 1907 he brought Mahler as cond., but resigned in 1908 and was followed by the joint direction of Andreas Dippel and Giulio Gatti-Casazza who engaged Toscanini as cond. Dippel resigned in 1910 and Gatti-Casazza remained until 1935. An outstanding occasion was the f.p. in 1910 of La Fanciulla del West, with Caruso, Destinn, and Toscanini. Toscanini resigned in 1914–15 and was followed by a group of conductors among whom Bodanzky, Serafin, and Wolff were outstanding. During Gatti-Casazza's régime operas by Strauss, Janáček, Respighi, and others had their first Amer. performances. Gigli, Ponselle, Pinza, Flagstad, Leider, Melchior, Muzio, Jeritza, and Tibbett were among the principal singers. Gatti-Casazza's successor was Herbert Witherspoon, who died almost immediately and the management passed to Edward Johnson, a member of the company since 1922. In his 15 years he encouraged Amer. singers, e.g. Warren, Peerce, Tucker, Traubel, Thebom, and strengthened the conducting by engaging Stiedry, Walter, Busch, Szell, Reiner, and others. From 1950 to 1972, Rudolf Bing was manager. In his régime stage techniques were modernized and theatrical producers engaged. He extended the season from 30 to 45 weeks. Great singers in his era incl. Callas, Tebaldi, Price, Merrill, de los Angeles, Bergonzi, and Siepi. Bing was succeeded by Goeran Gentele, who was killed before taking office, though not before he had appointed the Met's first mus. dir. Rafael Kubelik. The manager from 1972 was Schuyler Chapin. He appointed James Levine mus. dir. in 1975 and artistic control has increasingly passed to the cond. Chapin left in 1975 and was succeeded by Anthony Bliss 1975–85, Bruce Crawford 1986–9, Hugh Southern 1989–90, and Joseph Volpe from 1990. First broadcasts from Met 12 Jan. 1910 (Act II of Tosca), 13 Jan. (Cav. and Pag.). NBC relays began Christmas Day 1931 (Hänsel und Gretel) and since 1932 the Saturday matinées have been relayed nationally. Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles (1991) was first opera commissioned by Met since 1966.

Metropolitan Opera House

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Metropolitan Opera House