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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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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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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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Browse 51-75 of 337 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4 ... 13 14
  • 51.
    Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West / Voigt, Giordani, Luisotti, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001709559 Release Date: 08/07/2012  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dwayne Croft,  Keith Miller,  Marcello Giordani,  Deborah Voigt  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Armiliato, Hvorostovsky, Alvarez, Radvanovsky, Zajick
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001654909 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dolora Zajic,  Marcelo Alvarez,  Sondra Radvanovsky,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Armiliato, Hvorostovsky, Alvarez, Radvanovsky, Zajick [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001709459 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sondra Radvanovsky,  Marcelo Alvarez,  Dolora Zajic,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Bizet: Carmen / Garanca, Alagna, Nezet-seguin, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001680059 Release Date: 06/05/2012  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Keith Miller,  Barbara Frittoli,  Roberto Alagna,  Elina Garanca  ... 
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Rossini: Le Comte Ory / Benini, Florez, Damrau, DiDonato, Degout
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 70959 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Michele Pertusi,  Stèphane Degout,  Juan Diego Flórez,  Joyce DiDonato  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurizio Benini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Leontyne Price - The Complete Collection Of Operatic Recital Albums
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 794051 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  George Gershwin,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Laura Londi,  John W. Bubbles,  William Warfield  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Arturo Basile,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 57.
    Donizetti: L'elisir D'amore / Schippers, Bergonzi, Corena, Peters, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 190991 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Frank Guarrera,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Roberta Peters,  Fernando Corena  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Leoncavallo: Pagliacci; Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana / Santi, Tucker, Corelli, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 190999 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Richard Tucker,  Cesare Bardelli,  Lucine Amara  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Verdi: Ernani / Schippers, Bergonzi, Nagy, Price, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 190996 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ronald Reitan,  Cornell MacNeil,  Leontyne Price,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Verdi: Luisa Miller / Schippers, Caballe, Tucker, Milnes, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 190994 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giorgio Tozzi,  Nancy Williams,  Sherrill Milnes,  Ezio Flagello  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5020 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  John Brownlee,  Ezio Pinza,  Eleanor Steber,  Charles Kullman  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Strauss: Capriccio / Andrew Davis, Renee Fleming, Metropolitan Opera  [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619659 Release Date: 12/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Olga Makarina,  Peter [bass voice] Rose,  Sarah Connolly,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Levine, Freni, Pavarotti, Bartoli, Vargas
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001623302 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dwayne Croft,  Mirella Freni,  Ramón Vargas,  Giuseppe Taddei  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Strauss: Capriccio / Andrew Davis, Renee Fleming, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619609 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Joseph Kaiser,  Russell Braun,  Morten Frank Larsen,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Bizet: Carmen / Reiner, Stevens, Tucker, Silveri, Conner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7961892 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Richard Tucker,  Paolo Silveri,  Nadine Conner
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Donizetti: La Fille Du Regiment / Papi, Pons, Petina, Baccaloni
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7961912 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Lily Pons,  Raoul Jobin,  Ira Petina,  Salvatore Baccaloni
    Conductor:  Gennaro Papi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Levine, Pavarotti, Guleghina, Pons, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001611109 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Juan Pons,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Maria Guleghina
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Thomas: Mignon / Pelletier, Stevens, Pinza, Benzell, Melton
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7961922 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ambroise Thomas
    Performer:  Ezio Pinza,  Risë Stevens,  James Melton,  Mimi Benzell
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Puccini: Turandot / Nelsons, Guleghina, Poplavskaya, Ramey, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001601659 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Marina Poplavskaya,  Marcello Giordani
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Verdi: Aida / Urmana, Gatti, Scandiuzzi, Botha, Zajick, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001601559 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Johan Botha,  Roberto Scandiuzzi,  Dolora Zajic,  Violeta Urmana
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Anna Netrebko - Live At The Met
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001598702 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Ekaterina Sementchuk,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  Juan Diego Flórez  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Summers,  Valery Gergiev,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Maurizio Benini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Berg: Lulu / Levine, Migenes, Lear, Riegel, Little, Mazura
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791009 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Franz Mazura,  Kenneth Riegel,  Julia Migenes,  Frank Little
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana; Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Levine, Domingo, Troyanos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791008 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Tatiana Troyanos,  Vern Shinall,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Mozart: The Magic Flute / Levine, Polenzani, Huang, Gunn, Pape
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791013 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ying Huang,  Nathan Gunn,  René Pape,  Matthew Polenzani  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Verdi: Don Carlo / Adler, Corelli, Rysanek, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791004 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicolae Herlea,  Irene Dalis,  Giorgio Tozzi,  Hermann Uhde  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Adler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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