The Metropolitan is a vibrant venue for some of the world’s most talented and creative artists. The Metropolitan Opera showcases incredible feats of wonder with performances from singers, dancers, composers, designers, conductors, visual artists, and more. Every year, the Metropolitan Opera stage features more than 200 performances, attracting more than 800,000 attendees. 

But there’s another side of the Metropolitan Opera House that NYC visitors and guests don’t always get to see. Take a peek today, behind the crimson curtain, to learn more about the opulent world of talent and performance. Reach into the history, the behind-the-scenes, and more.

The Origin Story and History of The Met

The Metropolitan Opera, fondly known to New Yorkers as the Met, is situated in New York City. Its illustrious history traces way back to the late 19th century when it was founded by a group of prominent figures, including financiers, artists, and cultural enthusiasts in 1880. 

Initially housed in a theater on Broadway and 39th Street, the Metropolitan Opera moved to its current location at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1966. It continues to be a tourist attraction for NYC visitors and a favorite for NYC residents.

Over the decades, the Metropolitan Opera has been a beacon of operatic excellence, hosting legendary performances by celebrated artists and showcasing a repertoire that spans centuries and styles. From its grand opening with Gounod's "Faust" to its ongoing commitment to innovation and accessibility through live broadcasts and digital initiatives, the Metropolitan Opera has remained a cultural landmark, captivating audiences with its grandeur, talent, and passion for the operatic arts.

The Modern Met Experience

Peter Gelb has been the General Manager at the Metropolitan Opera now since 2006. It is his leadership that many believe has ushered the elevation and technological advancement of the Metropolitan Opera's creative capabilities. He’s significantly launched new productions, launching initiatives that allow the Metropolitan Opera to reach audiences at a global scale. For example, the Live in HD series, which shares performance transmissions to worldwide movie theaters, entices audiences who can’t be in New York City in person.

The Metropolitan Opera provides other media offerings for its audience, too. These include Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a subscription-based audio service for live and historical performances. The Metropolitan Opera on Demand is another subscription-based online streaming service that allows high-quality viewing and listening on any computer or iPad. It offers over 550 Metropolitan Opera performances, including Live in HD productions, classic telecasts, and archival broadcast recordings. Additionally, the Metropolitan Opera provides free live audio streaming of performances on its website weekly during the opera season.

Take a Tour and Peek Behind the Crimson Curtain

During your stay on the Upper West Side, consider experiencing a performance at the Metropolitan Opera for yourself. But don’t just attend as a guest, when you can peer behind the crimson curtain and explore even more about this legendary and historic venue. 

The Metropolitan Opera offers an exclusive look behind the scenes at what goes into producing opera magic with official tours. Reserve tickets and explore the often hidden corners and unseen details, including The Metropolitan Opera dressing rooms, the stage area, the rehearsal rooms, and more.

Backstage tours of the Metropolitan Opera last roughly 75 minutes, and tour availability is dependent on the current rehearsal and performance schedules. To book your tours, you can call 212.362.6000, reserve online, or visit the box office.

Behind the Curtain, Opulent Facts

Explore these fun and opulent facts about the Metropolitan Opera to appreciate its rich history, recognize its architectural splendor, and maybe even impress a few friends.

Legendary performers: The Metropolitan Opera has hosted performances by some of the most legendary opera singers and conductors in history, including Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Plácido Domingo, among others.

Opera supertitles: The Metropolitan Opera was one of the first opera houses to introduce supertitles, which provide translations of the lyrics above the stage during performances, enhancing the audience's understanding and enjoyment of the opera.

Historic premieres: The Metropolitan Opera has witnessed numerous historic premieres, including the world premiere of Samuel Barber's opera "Antony and Cleopatra" in 1966, commissioned for the opening of the new opera house.

Art in every corner: The Metropolitan Opera House boasts stunning artistic elements, including intricate murals, sculptures, and architectural details designed by renowned artists such as Marc Chagall, Lee Lawrie, and Albert Stewart.

Innovative acoustics: The design of the Metropolitan Opera's auditorium incorporates innovative acoustic principles, including the use of plaster in the walls to enhance sound projection and clarity, ensuring optimal acoustics for performances.

Wow factor chandeliers: The Metropolitan Opera House features some of the largest chandeliers in the world, weighing several tons each. They adorn the Grand Tier and are stunning works of art in themselves.

An Exquisite Dinner at The Metropolitan Opera

Make any visit to the Metropolitan Opera extraordinary with dining on the Grand Tier. Enjoy brunch before your matinee, or meet for dinner and cocktails before an evening performance. The Grand Tier officially welcomes guests two hours before every Metropolitan Opera performance.

If you plan to attend with friends or family, intimate gatherings and massive celebrations are unforgettable at the Metropolitan Opera. The Metropolitan Opera has an in-house events and catering team to manage every event detail, including customized menus and experiences.

Take an adventure into the world of opulent art and performance by taking in a show at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City! Now that you have more intimate knowledge of what’s behind the crimson curtain, you can have a deeper appreciation for the experience. 

For a luxurious hotel experience after your night at the Metropolitan Opera, reserve your stay at The Lucerne.