Metropolitan Opera Association History

The Metropolitan Opera Association was founded as an alternative to the Academy of Music opera house and when it was created the members of the opera house were the cream of the society in New York. The opera opened its gates to anyone who wanted to appreciate the performing arts unlike the Academy that was hesitant to open the gates to the new wealthy families.

The theatre included various tiers of private boxes to allow for the new industrial families to showcase their wealth and establish their presence in the wealthy society of the city. Some of the first members of the Metropolitan Opera House were the Morgan, Roosevelt, Astor and Vanderbilt families, people who had been denied the membership and subscription of the Academy of Music opera.

The history of the Metropolitan Opera began with the one in Philadelphia where the entire repertoire was presented between January and August of 1884. The first performance was Faust and this continued for the nest 80 years and the Met bought the Philadelphia Opera House from Oscar Hammerstein I in 1910.

Under Leopold Damrosch the opera house was lead towards an "all German language repertory". Some great singers from Europe's German language opera house were included. They received accolades for the works of Wagner and other German composers.

The met returned to Italian opera in 1891 in a session organized by Henry E. Abbey and Maurice Grau. This was after the opera house missed a season to renovate after a great fire. This was a time that was called the "Golden Age of Opera".

The Metropolitan Opera Company took a 6 week tour of American cities in 1898. This was a resurgence of a prior tradition that had been stopped due to losses. In the 1900s the company saw a resurgence of various wings including the Italian wing, the French wing and the German wing. Over the years, the Met grew under the supervision of various leaders like Conried and Gatti-Casazza, Edward Johnson, Rudolf Bing, Joseph Volpe and Peter Gelb.


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