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
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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Browse 301-325 of 341 Available Recordings
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  • 301.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Giuseppe De Luca Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89073 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Giuseppe de Luca,  Amelita Galli-Curci,  Grace Anthony  ... 
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Giulio Setti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 302.
    Kirsten Flagstad Vol 3 - Live Performances 1948-1957
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1823 Release Date: 01/01/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Viorica Ursuleac,  Set Svanholm
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Johan Hye-Knudsen,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Georges Sebastian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 303.
    Opera - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66707 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alexander Borodin,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Leo Nucci,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Richard Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly,  Emerson Buckley,  Emil Tchakarov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 304.
    Opera's Greatest Duets / Pavarotti, Price, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 62699 Release Date: 09/27/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Shirley Verrett  ... 
    Conductor:  Anton Guadagno,  Georges Prętre,  Skitch Henderson,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 305.
    Mad About Mad About
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445900 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sting,  David Jolley,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan,  Neeme Järvi,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 306.
    Mad About Wagner
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445769 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  James Morris,  Andreas Schmidt,  Cheryl Studer
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  James Levine,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 307.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Puccini
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443819 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Renata Tebaldi,  Pilar Lorengar,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Giuseppe Patané  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 308.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Levine, Domingo, Norman, Moll, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437501 Release Date: 08/16/1994   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha,  Allan Glassman,  Julien Robbins  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    CD: $72.49
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  • 309.
    Verdi - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64070 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paul Plishka,  Michael Sylvester,  Vladimir Chernov,  Eileen Farrell  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Max Rudolf,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 310.
    Verdi: Aida - Highlights / Levine, Millo, Domingo, Zajick
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 53506 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Aprile Millo,  Dolora Zajic,  Placido Domingo,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 311.
    Verdi: Don Carlo - Highlights / Levine, Sylvester, Millo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 53507 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Aprile Millo,  Michael Sylvester,  Vladimir Chernov,  Dolora Zajic  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 312.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Levine, Domingo, Millo, Zajick, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 48070 Release Date: 03/22/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Aprile Millo,  Dolora Zajic,  Vladimir Chernov  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 313.
    Il Mito Dell'opera - Flaviano Labň Vol Ii
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1108 Release Date: 01/01/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Flaviano Labň,  Zinka Milanov,  Cesare Siepi,  Eberhard Wächter  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Nicola Rescigno,  Fritz Stiedry,  Nello Santi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 314.
    Verdi: Ballet Music / Levine, The Met Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 52489 Release Date: 12/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 315.
    Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Levine, Freni, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440200 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Ramón Vargas,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 316.
    Mad About Movies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439514 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Edvard Grieg,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Luciano Pavarotti,  William Purvis  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Claudio Abbado,  Neeme Järvi,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 317.
    Mad About Tenors
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439517 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gullino,  Placido Domingo,  Rosalind Plowright,  Susanne Mentzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  James Levine,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 318.
    Mad About Sopranos
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439153 Release Date: 07/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Hildegard Behrens,  Agnes Baltsa,  Janet Perry,  Anna Tomowa-Sintow  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 319.
    This Is My Country / Price, Horne, Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61545 Release Date: 07/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  W.C. Handy,  John Philip Sousa,  Irving Berlin,  John Stafford Smith  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Leontyne Price
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  James Conlon,  Leonard Slatkin,  Robert Shaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Collegiate Chorale,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 320.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Levine, Sylvester, Millo, Ramey, Chernov
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 52500 Release Date: 04/20/1993   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jane Bunnell,  Kathleen Battle,  Dwayne Croft,  Ferruccio Furlanetto  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 321.
    Wagner: Overtüren, Vorspiele / Levine, The Met Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435874 Release Date: 04/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 322.
    Verdi - Great Moments From La Traviata / Levine, Studer, Pavarotti
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437726 Release Date: 02/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jeffrey Wells,  Bruno Pola,  Julien Robbins,  Anthony Laciura  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 323.
    Verdi: La Traviata / Levine, Studer, Pavarotti, Pons
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435797 Release Date: 02/16/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sondra Kelly,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Juan Pons,  Anthony Laciura  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 324.
    Ezio Pinza - Early Italian Songs;  Mozart: Arias And Duets
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 9958 Release Date: 01/21/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Legrenzi,  George Frideric Handel,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Alessandro Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Fritz Kitzinger,  Ezio Pinza,  Elisabeth Rethberg
    Conductor:  Giulio Setti,  Rosario Bourdon,  Bruno Reibold
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 325.
    Prima Voce - Amelita Galli-Curci Vol 2
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7852 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Félicien César David,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Amelita Galli-Curci,  Clement Barone,  Tito Schipa,  Giuseppe de Luca  ... 
    Conductor:  Giulio Setti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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