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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
Leontyne Price - The Complete Collection Of Operatic Recital Albums
Release Date: 01/24/2012   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 794051   Number of Discs: 14
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Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection
Release Date: 01/07/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372279   Number of Discs: 15
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Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
Release Date: 08/06/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 543283   Number of Discs: 10
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Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372572   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin /  Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 1994259  
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Browse 226-250 of 338 Available Recordings
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  • 226.
    Famous Voices Of The Past - George London
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90543 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  George London
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Rudolf Moralt,  Max Schönherr,  Jean Paul Morel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 227.
    James Levine - A Celebration In Music
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000041502 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Igor Stravinsky,  Anton Webern  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 228.
    Puccini: Gianni Schicchi / Strauss: Salome - 1949 Metropolitan Opera Double Bill
    Label: Guild   Catalog: GHCD2230/1 Release Date: 01/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Cloe Elmo,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Italo Tajo,  Licia Albanese  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Antonicelli,  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 229.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Levine, Morris, Ludwig, Jerusalem
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073036 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Birgitta Svendén,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 230.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073043 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gary Lakes,  Matti Salminen,  Jessye Norman,  Hildegard Behrens  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 231.
    Wagner: Die Walküre / Levine, Norman, Ludwig. Behrens, Lakes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073049 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig,  Jessye Norman,  Gary Lakes,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 232.
    Wagner: Götterdämmerung / Levine, Behrens, Jerusalem, Salminen, Ludwig
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073040 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Matti Salminen,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha,  Hildegard Behrens,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 233.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Levine, Jerusalem, Zednik, Morris
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073037 Release Date: 11/12/2002  
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  James Morris,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 234.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Levine, Meier, Jerusalem, Moll
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073032 Release Date: 10/29/2002  
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Franz Mazura,  Kurt Moll,  Waltraud Meier,  Siegfried Jerusalem  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 235.
    Rapture - Opera's Most Heavenly Moments
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471717 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Teresa Berganza,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Richard Bonynge,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 236.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471678 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Marilyn Mims,  Marita Napier,  Hildegard Behrens,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 237.
    Strauss: Ariadne Auf Naxos / Levine, Norman, Battle
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073028 Release Date: 09/24/2002  
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Tatiana Troyanos,  Kathleen Battle,  James King
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 238.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / Levine, Chernov, Te Kanawa, Domingo, Lloyd
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073031 Release Date: 09/24/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Vladimir Chernov,  Placido Domingo,  Robert Lloyd
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 239.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera / Levine, Pavarotti, Millo, Nucci
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073029 Release Date: 09/24/2002  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Aprile Millo,  Leo Nucci,  Florence Quivar,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 240.
    Trio - Bizet: Carmen / Bernstein, Horne, Baldwin, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471750 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Marcia Baldwin,  James McCracken,  Marilyn Horne,  Raymond Gibbs  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus
    CD not available
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  • 241.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Levine, Morris, Ludwig, Jerusalem
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445295 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Mark Baker,  James Morris,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha,  Siegfried Lorenz  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 242.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Risë Stevens
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89556 Release Date: 07/30/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Georges Bizet,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Erna Berger,  Risë Stevens,  Raoul Jobin
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Georges Sebastian,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Frieder Weissmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra
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  • 243.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Richard Tucker
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89552 Release Date: 04/30/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Halévy,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Emil Cooper,  Fausto Cleva,  Max Rudolf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Columbia Concert Orchestra
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  • 244.
    The #1 Soprano Album / Battle, Caballé, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472179 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Traditional,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Marilyn Horne,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  André Previn,  Carl Davis,  Julius Rudel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Rossini Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 245.
    The Pavarotti Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470000 Release Date: 11/13/2001   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Caldara,  Vincenzo Ciampi,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Jane Shaulis,  John Wustman  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész,  Piero Gamba,  Nicola Rescigno,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 246.
    Rca Red Seal Century - Vocalists
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63860 Release Date: 11/06/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Titta Ruffo,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Alma Gluck  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Rosario Bourdon,  Renato Cellini,  Marcello Viotti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 247.
    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  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 248.
    The Singers - Franco Corelli
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467918 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Riccardo Zandonai,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Tebaldi,  Alfredo Mariotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Anton Guadagno,  Lorin Maazel,  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Léman Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 249.
    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  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 250.
    Strauss: Arabella / Thielemann, Te Kanawa, Brendel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073005 Release Date: 06/19/2001  
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Wolfgang Brendel,  Helga Dernesch,  Marie McLaughlin,  David Kuebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    DVD: $24.99
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