The Metropolitan Opera ( The Met at the Lincoln Center, New York City ) • This week I was invited to The Metropolitan Opera – The Met – as New Yorkers call it. It is located at the Lincoln Center, only a few blocks away from Columbus Circle. If you love opera, or if you’re just curious about it, you’ve come to the right place. Explore the Met’s 126-year history, browse the artist roster, book a backstage tour, or find out what’s showing at the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met.
La Boheme by Puccini, the world’s most popular opera returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production. Maija Kovalevska stars as Mimì, Peter Mattei is Marcello, and four extraordinary tenors alternate in the role of Rodolfo: Piotr Beczala, Joseph Calleja, Ramón Vargas, and Vittorio Grigolo, fresh from his triumphant Covent Garden debut.
The Main Room is just spectacular. Quite modern but very impressive. The whole 4 hours I was there during the intermission I could not stop staring at the amazing ceiling, covered in gold-leafs, with this wonderful glowing chandeliers. The main stage curtains is also omnipotent.
The original Metropolitan Opera House was built by a group of New York industrialists and socially prominent families as a competing opera house to the Academy of Music on Fourteenth Street. The original founders, among whom were the Vanderbilt, Morgan, and Astor families, owned the building of the “old” Met and retained the use of the box seats for themselves. They then rented the house to an impresario or entrepreneurial group who actually assembled a performing company to produce operas in the house. This arrangement was changed several times, most notably in 1933 when the Metropolitan Opera Association was formed as a not-for-profit opera presenter. The Association bought the opera house from the box holders in 1940.
The opera house has 3,800 seats plus 195 standing room places, making a total capacity of 3,995. For ballet performances, the size of the orchestra pit can be decreased and another row of 35 seats added at the front of the auditorium.
La Boheme based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madame Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere.
The scenography is amazing, setting the perfect atmosphere and visual experience. 04 Acts with 2 intermissions. It essentially focuses on the love between the seamstress called Mimì and the poet Rodolfo. They almost immediately fall in love with each other, but Rodolfo later wants to leave Mimì because of her flirtatious behavior. However, Mimì also happens to be mortally ill, and Rodolfo also feels guilt, since their life together likely had worsened her health even further. They reunite for a brief moment at the end before Mimì dies.
Right before the Opera, we went to the brand new LINCOLN Ristoranti off the Lincoln Center. Read my post on that next. CM
(*) For more info on The Met check the official website • http://www.metoperafamily.org