Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

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
Puccini: La Boheme / Levine, Stratas, Carreras, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 10/27/2009   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001347209   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Parsifal / Levine, Meier, Jerusalem, Moll, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 10/29/2002   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 073032   Number of Discs: 2
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Verdi: Falstaff / Levine, Bonney, Freni, Horne, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001295209   Number of Discs: 1
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Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Levine, Pavarotti, Guleghina, Pons, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 11/01/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001611109   Number of Discs: 1
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Strauss: Capriccio / Davis, Fleming, Metropolitan Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 12/20/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001619659   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 226-250 of 297 Available Recordings
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  • 226.
    A Portrait Of Pavarotti - Highlights From Pavarotti Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470050 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Eduardo Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Robert Kerns,  Ida Bormida  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno,  Richard Bonynge,  Piero Gamba,  Giuseppe Patané  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 227.
    Opera Goes To The Movies
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60841 Release Date: 08/21/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Leontyne Price,  Montserrat Caballé,  Alfredo Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  James Levine,  Edward Downes,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 228.
    Strauss: Arabella / Thielemann, Te Kanawa, Brendel, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073005 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Wolfgang Brendel,  Helga Dernesch,  Marie McLaughlin,  David Kuebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 229.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Raoul Jobin
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89517 Release Date: 04/24/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Raoul Jobin,  Géori Boué,  Risë Stevens
    Conductor:  Louis Fourestier,  André Cluytens,  Georges Sebastian,  Wilfrid Pelletier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 230.
    Lily Pons - Coloratura Assoluta
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 60655 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frank La Forge,  Alexander Alyabyev,  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Henry Bishop  ... 
    Performer:  Lily Pons,  Frank La Forge
    Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel,  Andre Kostelanetz,  Pietro Cimara
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 231.
    Bizet: Carmen / Levine, Carreras, Baltsa, Ramey
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 73000 Release Date: 12/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  José Carreras,  Leona Mitchell,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 232.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflote / Levine, Battle, Araiza, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 73003 Release Date: 12/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Francisco Araiza,  Manfred Hemm,  Kurt Moll,  Barbara Kilduff  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 233.
    Verdi: Aida / Levine, Domingo,  Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 73001 Release Date: 12/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dolora Zajic,  Placido Domingo,  Aprile Millo,  Paata Burchuladze  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 234.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Levine, Pavarotti , Marton, Milnes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 73002 Release Date: 12/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Dolora Zajic,  Eva Martón,  Jeffrey Wells  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 235.
    Prima Voce Vol 2 - Treasury Of Opera - Historic Recordings
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1738 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Félicien César David,  Jacques Offenbach,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Nina Koshetz,  Feodor Chaliapin,  Clement Barone,  Amelita Galli-Curci  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Franco Ghione,  Rosario Bourdon,  Hans Lange  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 236.
    References - Beniamino Gigli - Opera Arias
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 61051 Release Date: 11/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Maria Caniglia,  Louise Homer,  Amelita Galli-Curci  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Ghione,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Umberto Berrettoni,  Oliviero de Fabritiis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 237.
    Golden Operetta Vol 2 -millöcker, J. Strauss, Offenbach, Etc
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 78 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jacques Offenbach,  Johan Peter E. Hartmann,  Albert Lortzing  ... 
    Performer:  Lotte Lehmann,  Waldemar Staegemann,  Richard Tauber,  Karin Branzell  ... 
    Conductor:  Frieder Weissmann,  Erich Orthmann,  Johan Hye-Knudsen,  Mogens Wöldike  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus  ... 
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  • 238.
    The Prima Voce Treasury Of Opera Vol 1
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1742 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna,  Conchita Supervia,  Tito Schipa,  Riccardo Stracciari  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Angelo Albergoni,  Giorgio Polacco,  Nils Grevillius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 239.
    Christmas Ŕ La Carte / Bartoli, Domingo, Mutter, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459155 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Gabriel Fauré,  Saverio Mercadante,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Placido Domingo,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Simon Preston,  Neeme Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 240.
    Four Famous Met Tenors Of The Past
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89952 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Gladys Swarthout,  Ramon Vinay,  Florence Quartararo,  Richard Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Jean Paul Morel,  Emil Cooper,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Columbia Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 241.
    Helen Traubel and Lauritz Melchior Sing Wagner
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 60896 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel,  Lauritz Melchior,  Herbert Janssen,  Torsten Ralf  ... 
    Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski,  Robert Kinsky,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Fritz Busch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,  Columbia Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 242.
    Artists Of The Century - Caruso - Greatest Tenor In The World
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63469 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Flora Perini,  Amelita Galli-Curci,  Giuseppe de Luca  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Giulio Setti,  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 243.
    Prima Voce - Pasquale Amato - Leoncavallo, Bizet, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7897 Release Date: 02/23/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Charles Gounod,  Antonio Carlos Gomes,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Francis Lapitino,  Pasquale Amato,  Marcel Journet,  Frieda Hempel  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 244.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Steber, Peters, Stiedry
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 60652 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Josef Blatt,  Richard Tucker,  Frank Guarrera  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Stiedry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 245.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Levine, Chernov, Studer, Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 447064 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Roberto Scandiuzzi,  Denyce Graves  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 246.
    I Want Magic! / Renee Fleming
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460567 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gian Carlo Menotti,  Douglas Moore,  André Previn,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  New York Voices
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  • 247.
    Prima Voce - Great Singers In Donizetti
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7892 Release Date: 06/23/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Ezio Pinza,  Beniamino Gigli,  Toti Dal Monte,  Anna Rozsa  ... 
    Conductor:  Giulio Setti,  Carlo Sabajno,  Franco Ghione,  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 248.
    Bidu Sayao - La Damoiselle Elue, Opera Arias
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 63221 Release Date: 12/09/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Bidu Sayao,  Rosalind Nadell
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Fausto Cleva,  Paul Breisach,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  University of Pennsylvania Women's Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 249.
    Pavarotti's Greatest Hits - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 458000 Release Date: 09/30/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Agustín Lara,  Ernesto Tagliaferri,  Domenico Modugno  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  David Romano,  Frank Sinatra,  Andrea Bocelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Maurizio Benini,  Giancarlo Chiaramello,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 250.
    Verdi: I Lombardi / Levine, Anderson, Leech, Pavarotti, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 455287 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  June Anderson,  Patricia Racette,  Ildebrando D'Arcangelo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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