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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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Bellini: I Puritani / Netrebko, Summers, Metropolitan Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001208759   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 338 Available Recordings
1 2 3 ... 13 14
  • 26.
    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
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 27.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Damrau, Beczala, Mariotti, Met Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001833309 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Zeljko Lucic,  Piotr Beczala,  Diana Damrau,  Stefan Kocán  ... 
    Conductor:  Michele Mariotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
    DVD: $27.99
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  • 28.
    Wagner at The Met
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 542717 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Karin Branzell,  Lauritz Melchior,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Emanuel List  ... 
    Conductor:  Artur Bodanzky,  George Szell,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Fritz Reiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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    CD: $34.99
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  • 29.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Terfel, Croft, Blythe, Owens, Levine, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754309 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Gerhard Siegel,  Bryn Terfel,  Richard Croft  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 30.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Terfel, Croft, Blythe, Owens, Levine, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001753859 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Gerhard Siegel,  Bryn Terfel,  Richard Croft  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 31.
    Wagner: Die Walkure /  Westbroek, Kaufmann, Voigt, Levine, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754409 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Stephanie Blythe,  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 32.
    Wagner: Die Walkure / Westbroek, Kaufmann, Voigt, Levine, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001753959 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Stephanie Blythe,  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 33.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Terfel, Morris, Siegel, Voigt, Levine, Luisi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754509 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Patricia Bardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 34.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Terfel, Morris, Siegel, Voigt, Levine, Luisi [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754059 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Patricia Bardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 35.
    Wagner: Gotterdamerung / Voigt, Morris, Konig, Meier, Luisi, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754609 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Jay Hunter Morris,  Waltraud Meier,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 36.
    Wagner: Gotterdamerung / Voigt, Morris, Konig, Meier, Luisi, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001754159 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eric Owens,  Jay Hunter Morris,  Waltraud Meier,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 37.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $236.99
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  • 38.
    Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543504 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Deborah Voigt,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Birgitta Svendén  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Marek Janowski,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale!
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  • 39.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $38.49
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  • 40.
    Wagner: Complete Operas [43-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001786402 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Don Garrard,  Elisabeth Gale,  Della Jones,  April Cantelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Northern Symphony,  BBC Northern Singers,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $129.99
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  • 41.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps - 100th Anniversary Collectors Edition [20-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001780902 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Güher Pekinel,  Süher Pekinel  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Pierre Boulez,  Valery Gergiev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $129.99
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    MP3:  $99.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 42.
    Adams: Nixon In China / John Adams, Metropolitan Opera [DVD & Blu-ray]
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 532291 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Adams
    Performer:  Russell Braun,  Robert Brubaker,  Janis Kelly,  James Maddalena  ... 
    Conductor:  John Adams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
    Blu-ray Video: $26.99
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  • 43.
    The Enchanted Island / Christie, DiDonato, De Niese, Domingo, Daniels
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 404249 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Various
    Performer:  Anthony Roth Costanzo,  Elizabeth Deshong,  Placido Domingo,  Joyce DiDonato  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $26.99
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  • 44.
    Handel: Rodelinda / Fleming, Scholl, Kaiser, Blythe, Bicket  [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001745209 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Shenyang,  Joseph Kaiser,  Iestyn Davies,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Bicket
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 45.
    Handel: Rodelinda / Fleming, Scholl, Kaiser, Blythe, Bicket
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001745109 Release Date: 10/23/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Andreas Scholl,  Stephanie Blythe,  Renée Fleming,  Joseph Kaiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Bicket
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $39.98
    DVD: $37.99
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  • 46.
    Twilight Of The Gods - The Ultimate Wagner Ring Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001724902 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jennifer Johnson,  Eric Owens,  Lisette Oropesa,  Tamara Mumford  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $17.99
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    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 47.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Terfel, Kaufmann, Blythe, Voigt, Levine, Luisi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725109 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Patricia Bardon,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
    DVD: $160.49
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  • 48.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Terfel, Kaufmann, Blythe, Voigt, Levine, Luisi [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725059 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans-Peter König,  Richard Croft,  Patricia Bardon,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
    Blu-ray Video: $172.99
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  • 49.
    Wagner’s Dream / Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001735609 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jay Hunter Morris,  Deborah Voigt
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 50.
    Wagner’s Dream / Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001735559 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Deborah Voigt,  Jay Hunter Morris
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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