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Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

Composers

Biography

Active: 1883 - ; New York, NY
Though the first season of the Metropolitan Opera came in 1883-1884, efforts to found the New York-based company began in 1880, led by the Morgan and Vanderbilt families. Its first season was launched with Henry Abbey as company manager and Auguste Vianesi as music director and conductor. Vianesi's tenure was short-lived. The Opera's board appointed its secretary, Edmund Stanton, to contract singers appropriate for German opera, which he ably Read more did. He also engaged Wagner protégé Anton Seidl to become music director and conductor in 1886.

Seidl worked well with the singers, and also helped shape the orchestra into a first-rate ensemble. Irish-American composer Victor Herbert, then one of the finest cellists in Europe, joined the orchestra in 1886. His wife, Therese Herbert-Förster, had been engaged to sing at the Met by Stanton. Solid and talented though the orchestra was in its early days, it was the singers, of course, who drew the attention. Indeed, some were making over $50,000 per year by the late 1890s, where orchestra players earned one-tenth that amount and less. Even in the 1930s orchestra members typically were offered starting salaries of less than $10,000, far less than that of the singers, but substantially more than most orchestras in the United and States and Europe were paying personnel.

In 1908, Toscanini made his debut at the Met. He would serve as music director for seven years, and arguably his tenure resulted in stronger musicianship in the orchestra's ranks, even though he did not always have full control. Indeed, Toscanini shared the podium for two years with Gustav Mahler and for another with Sicilian conductor Francesco Spetrino. The orchestra was then, as it had been throughout its early years, comprised largely of players from Germany. Gradually it would draw on other European nationalities and even employ a fair number of American players.

On December 25, 1931, the Metropolitan Opera began radio broadcasts, which have endured to this day. In this venue, the orchestra's role in performance became more conspicuous, since the audience could obviously not see the action, but only hear the music. Television broadcasts began on March 10, 1940, featuring excerpts from various operas. The next one would not take place until November 29, 1948, with a performance of Verdi's Otello. Television broadcasts have endured up to the current day, with semi-regular appearances on the PBS network.

In the war and postwar eras, the orchestra was led by some of the greatest conductors of the day, like George Szell, a regular from 1942 to 1946, and Fritz Reiner, music director from 1949 to 1953. By this time the orchestra was probably the finest opera house ensemble in the world. At least some of their success could be credited to the dynamic directorship of Rudolph Bing, who held the post from 1950 to 1972. Under his leadership not only did the number of subscribers more than triple, but, by general consensus, artistic standards of the individual singers, chorus, and orchestra rose considerably.

In 1986, James Levine took over as artistic director and has held the post into the new century. He has made a number of successful recordings with the Met organization, which returned to the recording studio after a several-decades long absence. The orchestra has been called upon to perform in a number of new works, including modern ones like Glass' The Voyage (1992) and Harbison's The Great Gatsby (1999), as well as early twentieth century masterpieces like Busoni's Doktor Faust and Prokofiev's The Gambler, both in the 2000-2001 season. Read less
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda / DiDonato, Polenzani, Benini, Met Opera
Release Date: 04/22/2014   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 632035   Number of Discs: 2
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Nico Muhly: Two Boys / David Robertson, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Nonesuch  
Catalog: 541941   Number of Discs: 1
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Mozart: Opera Arias / Kathleen Battle, James Levine
Release Date: 08/12/1997   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 439949   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Summers, Racette, Giordani, Zifchak, Croft, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 01/25/2011   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 80662   Number of Discs: 2
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Borodin: Prince Igor / Abdrazakov, Noseda, Met Opera
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002133609   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 337 Available Recordings
1 2 ... 13 14
  • 1.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Nico Muhly: Two Boys / David Robertson, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 541941 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nico Muhly
    Performer:  Alice Coote,  Paul Appleby
    Conductor:  David Robertson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Borodin: Prince Igor / Abdrazakov, Dyka, Petrenko, Noseda, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002133559 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Anita Rachvelishvili,  Oksana Dyka,  Ildar Abdrazakov,  Sergey Semishkur  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Borodin: Prince Igor / Abdrazakov, Noseda, Met Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002133609 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Mikhail Petrenko,  Sergey Semishkur,  Oksana Dyka,  Ildar Abdrazakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 5.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Kinda Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Fritz Reiner Conducts Richard Strauss - The Complete RCA & Columbia Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 379055 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Inge Borkh,  Francis Yeend  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 7.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 8.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Allan Glassman,  Paul Plishka,  David [Tenor Vocal] Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Giuseppe Patané,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Donizetti: Maria Stuarda / DiDonato, Polenzani, Benini, Met Opera
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 632035 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Elza van den Heever,  Joyce DiDonato,  Matthew Polenzani,  Joshua Hopkins  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurizio Benini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372558 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Katarina Dalayman,  Jonas Kaufmann,  René Pape,  Peter Mattei  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met Opera [Blu-ray]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372572 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Peter Mattei,  Jonas Kaufmann,  René Pape,  Katarina Dalayman  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 13.
    Gounod: Faust / Kaufmann, Poplavskaya, Pape, Nezet-seguin, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002021809 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Marina Poplavskaya,  Jonas Kaufmann,  René Pape
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Gounod: Faust / Kaufmann, Poplavskaya, Pape, Nezet-seguin, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002021959 Release Date: 03/25/2014  
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Marina Poplavskaya,  René Pape
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin /  Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1994259 Release Date: 03/11/2014  
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Piotr Beczala,  Mariusz Kwiecien
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Met
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1994309 Release Date: 03/04/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Piotr Beczala,  Mariusz Kwiecien
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $39.98
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  • 17.
    Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection [15-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372279 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Bruce Brewer,  Edith Mathis,  Hans Sotin  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  James Levine,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    James Levine at Carnegie Hall / Kissin, Met Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001909402 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 19.
    Verdi at The Met
    Label: Sony   Catalog:  721202 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rosa Ponselle,  Friedrich Jagel,  Lawrence Tibbett,  Henriette Wakefield  ... 
    Conductor:  Ettore Panizza,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Thomas Schippers,  Fritz Stiedry  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Ades: The Tempest / Keenlyside, Ades, Met Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001902809 Release Date: 09/17/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Adès
    Performer:  Alek Shrader,  Audrey Luna,  Isabel Leonard,  Simon Keenlyside  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Adès
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 21.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Pavarotti Sings Verdi [3-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001853602 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Riccardo Cassinelli,  Leo Nucci,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Georg Solti,  Richard Bonynge,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 23.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Netrebko, Beczala, Armiliato, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001846759 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Piotr Beczala,  Mariusz Kwiecien,  Ildar Abdrazakov
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Rossini: La Cenerentola / Garanca, Brownlee, Corbelli, Benini, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001833059 Release Date: 06/18/2013  
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Lawrence Brownlee,  Simone Alberghini,  Alessandro Corbelli,  Elina Garanca  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurizio Benini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Damrau, Beczala, Lucic, Mariotti, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001833259 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Diana Damrau,  Piotr Beczala,  Zeljko Lucic,  Stefan Kocán  ... 
    Conductor:  Michele Mariotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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