MEET ME AT THE MET

Having first opened its doors on October 22nd, 1883 with a performance of Faust, the Metropolitan Opera House – or The Old Met, as she likes to be called – was originally situated in the Garment District of Midtown Manhattan, at 1411 Broadway, between West 39th Street and West 40th.

Back then, it was nicknamed The Yellow Brick Brewery, thanks to its industrial look, and was soon having the sort of adventure fit for, well, the stage. After just nine years in operation, the building was gutted by fire on August 27th, 1892, moving temporarily during reconstruction to The Vaudeville Club (later to become The Metropolitan Opera Club), whilst in 1903, architects Carrére & Hastings mercifully redesigned the interior, introducing its golden auditorium and sunburst chandelier along with the curved proscenium inscribed with the names of Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Gounod and Verdi. Three years later, the Met’s first gold damask stage curtain was installed, and the look that would come to define this world-famous opera house was established.

Sadly, on April 16th, 1966, the Metropolitan Opera said goodbye to its original building, with a gala farewell performance boasting pretty much all of the company’s leading artists of the day, including soprano Zinka Milanov (making her last Met appearance) and Anna Case, who made her debut there in 1909. The very final performance at the opera house was actually given by the Bolshoi Ballet, who were concluding a short run there, on May 8th, 1966.

Since that date, the Metropolitan Opera House has been at New York’s Lincoln Centre, which is where The Whale will be taking you for this very special satellite link-up of Tosca…

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