On this day in 1966, the Metropolitan Opera House opened on Broadway at Lincoln Square in New York City. The new Met replaced an older Metropolitan Opera House on 39th Street that was established in 1883, but demolished in 1967 after it was deemed to small to house the growing Metropolitan Opera Company.
The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, designed by Wallace K Harrison, has 3,800 seats and 195 places to stand to watch a performance.
Beautiful chandeliers hang in the auditorium before performances and are raised into the ceiling during the performance.
Here is a trailer for the upcoming season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Okay, flashback time to my one and only opera experience:
I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas with my French class in ninth grade, because the opera was in French for some reason (Italian setting + English playwright = French opera?). Everyone got dressed up and we rode there together on our yellow school bus.
We got there with plenty of time to spare, so we waded in the reflecting pool in front of the stunning opera house and visited the gift shop. I also decided to purchase some ridiculously overpriced Toblerone. It’s all part of the experience, I guess. Afterwards, we did some people watching, which was fun because there were some pretty highfalutin people there.
Eventually, we made our ways up and up and up to our humble nosebleed seats. The people around us were thrilled, I’m sure, to see a group of 20 ninth graders sit near them.
But I digress.
Like the Met, there was a stunning chandelier in the auditorium before the performance. Suddenly, the chandelier ascended into the ceiling, the lights dimmed, and the music began. I was so excited! And even though I knew the general story of Romeo and Juliet and I was a French student, I was relieved to see that English subtitles were projected onto the curtain above the stage. This is going to be great! I thought.
And it was… at first. Act 1 was glorious, but then it kept going and going and going. My excitement for opera waned as the night went on. This thing was LONG! By the end, I just couldn’t wait for the characters to die. When Juliet stabbed herself in the diaphragm, I thought, Yes! She can’t possibly sing now! It must be over! But no, she continues to sing even with the dagger lodged in her rib cage. How does that work? HOW? But finally, she collapsed for good, sang her last note, and the velvet curtains closed.
I wanted to love the opera, but it was just too long, and the music- beautiful at first- really started to irritate me by the end. But still, whenever I see a trailer for the opera, I think that I should give the opera another chance, if for no other reason than the Toblerone.
Do you like the opera? Do you like the idea of the opera?