Brief History of the Met Essay

Brief History of the Met Essay

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The creation of the Metropolitan Opera was spearheaded by a man named George H. Warren and a group of seventy wealthy acquaintances of his, including the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, and the Goulds who were dissatisfied with the Academy of Music in New York due to architectural flaws in the building, such as lack of open box seats for the wealthy and no space to expand the viewing area. Few wealthy families, who were unwilling to heed to the desires of others to own the box temporarily, monopolized the box seats, leaving many prospective box owners and operagoers out to dry. Therefore, the group’s meeting led to a resolution to construct their own suitable opera house. In the post-Civil War society of the time, great importance was placed on artistic endeavors, which also afforded an opportunity to incur profit by creating a grandiose theater. They hired a prominent architect of the time named J. Cleveland Cady to design the building in New York. Although Cady had undertaken many outstanding construction projects, such as the American Museum of Natural History and Yale University, he had never attempted to design a theater. His inexperience in the project was displayed by the functional obsolescence of the side seats and family circle, as only half the stage could be viewed from them. This blunder was overshadowed by the “golden horseshoe” design, which was occupied by the seventy stockholders. Construction of the building took two years, as it began in 1881 and was completed in 1883. The opening of the Metropolitan Opera was hosted on October 22nd 1883 and was run and managed by Henry Abbey and his company.

The opening inaugural season of the Metropolitan on October 22, 1883 was a spectacle of who’s who in New York society. The ar...


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...ropolitan Opera. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2013. .

"Great Performances." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2013. .

"Topics in Chronicling America - The First Metropolitan Opera House." The First Metropolitan Opera House. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2013. .

Kolodin, Irving. The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1966; a candid history.. [4th ed. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1966. Print.

Eaton, Quaintance. The miracle of the Met; an informal history of the Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1967.. [1st ed. New York: Meredith Press, 1968. Print.

"The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center - New York City." The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center - New York City. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. .


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