The Met Opera by the Numbers

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lennygoran
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The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 06, 2017 5:46 am

The actual article has quite a few photos--it was a challenging article to edit after the copy and paste! Regards, Len :lol:

Music|Triumph, Tragedy and 50,000 Hats: The Met Opera by the Numbers


By MICHAEL COOPER MAY 5, 2017


When the Metropolitan Opera moved to Lincoln Center from Broadway at 39th Street in 1966, a subway token cost 20 cents, the Supremes’s “You Can’t Hurry Love” was at the top of the Billboard charts, and the (pre-miracle) Mets were wrapping up their fifth season. Since then, a lot of sopranos have gone on to meet tragic but beautiful-sounding ends. As the Met prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center with an all-star gala on Sunday, May 7, here is a look at its first half-century in its new home — by the numbers.


251 New Productions

To date, 251 productions have been mounted in the Lincoln Center opera house, which has staged 164 different operas and given more than 11,000 performances.

2,583 for James Levine ...

James Levine, the longtime music director (now emeritus) who shaped the company more than anyone else since making his Met debut in 1971, has conducted in the new opera house 2,583 times more often than any other featured performer.

... and 2,296 for Charles Anthony

The runner-up, the tenor Charles Anthony, sang in the new house 2,296 times, mostly in comprimario, or supporting, roles. But when his performances at the old Met are factored in, he holds the record for all-time Met performances: 2,928.

645 of ‘La Bohème’

With 645 performances, “La Bohème” has been the opera staged most frequently in the new house. Sixty-four sopranos have taken turns as Mimì, a select club of heartbreaking consumptives that has included Teresa Stratas, Renata Tebaldi, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto, Anna Netrebko and Sonya Yoncheva. (These last two are scheduled to appear at the gala.)


3 Operas Cut Short by Death

Tragedies or mishaps cut three performances short. A 1988, “Macbeth” was canceled after the second act, when a member of the audience leaped to his death during intermission. A 1996 “Makropulos Case” was canceled soon after it began when the tenor Richard Versalle suffered a fatal heart attack onstage (just after singing the line “Too bad, you can only live so long”). And earlier this season, a matinee of Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” was canceled after the second intermission, after an audience member was spotted sprinkling white powder into the orchestra pit, prompting fears of an anthrax attack. (In fact, he was scattering the ashes of an opera-loving friend in what he later called “a sweet gesture to a dying friend that went completely and utterly wrong in ways that I could never have imagined.”)

7 There From the Start

Seven Met employees have worked at the new house since it opened: José Burgos, a ticket taker; Loretta Di Franco, a soprano who is now a diction coach; Gildo Di Nunzio, an assistant conductor; Arthur Griffenkranz, in the props department; Richard Holmes, who is in charge of nonsinging supernumeraries; Susan Jolles, a harpist in the orchestra; and Marilyn Stroh, a violist.

$294 Million a Year

The Met had a $294 million budget in the 2016 fiscal year, making it the nation’s largest performing arts organization. But as staging operas has grown more expensive over the years, and selling tickets has become more of a struggle, the Met has had to rely more than ever on donors — and has also had to cut costs in recent seasons.

1,298 for One of the 3 Tenors

Before they became a touring act and a recording sensation, the artists formerly known as the Three Tenors were Met regulars — and they have racked up 1,298 performances between them. That includes Luciano Pavarotti’s 378, José Carreras’s 72 and Plácido Domingo’s 848 performances through the end of this season — a number he keeps adding to with new, lower baritone roles and conducting engagements.
3,975 Tickets to Sell a Night

The new Met has 3,800 seats and 175 standing-room places — giving it more capacity than the old Met, which had 3,625 seats and 224 standing room places.

1,931 Live Broadcasts

The Met has broadcast 1,931 operas on the radio from the new house, including its long-running Saturday matinee series and its more recent forays on Sirius XM. There have also been 198 television broadcasts, and, by the end of this season, 109 movie theater transmissions in the Met Live in HD series.

67 Operas Added

The Met has performed 67 operas for the first time since its move to Lincoln Center — including Strauss’s “Die Frau Ohne Schatten,” Berlioz’s “Les Troyens,” Berg’s “Lulu,” Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” Schoenberg’s “Moses und Aron,” John Adams’s “Nixon in China” and, this season, Kaija Saariaho’s “L’Amour de Loin.”
8 World Premieres

The company has staged eight world premieres at Lincoln Center: Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” which opened the new house in 1966, Marvin David Levy’s “Mourning Becomes Electra” (1967), John Corigliano’s “The Ghosts of Versailles” (1991), Philip Glass’s “The Voyage” (1992), John Harbison’s “The Great Gatsby” (1999), Tobias Picker’s “An American Tragedy” (2005), Tan Dun’s “The First Emperor” (2006) and “The Enchanted Island,” a pastiche set to Baroque music (2011).

50,000 Hats and Headpieces

The Met’s costume shop estimates it has produced some 50,000 millinery pieces — Valkyrie helmets, doomed monarch crowns, wacky Turandot headdresses, and other assorted headgear — since moving to Lincoln Center. That is a lot of hathead.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/arts ... ctionfront

John F
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by John F » Sat May 06, 2017 9:51 am

Michael Cooper wrote:Tragedies or mishaps cut three performances short. A 1988, “Macbeth” was canceled after the second act, when a member of the audience leaped to his death during intermission. A 1996 “Makropulos Case” was canceled soon after it began when the tenor Richard Versalle suffered a fatal heart attack onstage (just after singing the line “Too bad, you can only live so long”). And earlier this season, a matinee of Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” was canceled after the second intermission, after an audience member was spotted sprinkling white powder into the orchestra pit, prompting fears of an anthrax attack. (In fact, he was scattering the ashes of an opera-loving friend in what he later called “a sweet gesture to a dying friend that went completely and utterly wrong in ways that I could never have imagined.”)
The sister of Len's and my friend Susi Schneider was in the audience for that "Makropulos Case." Susi and I were having dinner at the restaurant Lippizaner (now no more) when Toni arrived breathless to tell us about it. She had a ticket for the previous performance but it was canceled because of the great blizzard of 1996. So she only got to see about 15 minutes of Janacek's opera after trying twice. Poor Toni!

The most famous incident of this kind happened in the old house, so Cooper doesn't mention it: the death of Leonard Warren onstage from a heart attack during a performance of "La Forza del Destino." He had just sung the aria "Urna fatal."

My mother and stepfather were in the audience in Munich when the conductor Josef Keilberth had a heart attack while conducting "Tristan und Isolde," the Act 2 love duet, and died in his dressing room.

No performance I've attended has been canceled before it was over, but it nearly happened in "La Traviata" when a member of the audience had a heart attack during Act 2. The music stopped, the curtain closed, the house doctor and other doctors in the audience administered CPR for 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived, he was carried out on a gurney, the house lights went down, and the performance resumed where it had been interrupted. The unfortunate man died in a nearby hospital that night. You can look it up in the online annals - the date was October 31, 1989. (Otherwise the performance was quite unexciting.)

Any other sensational experiences anybody wants to add to these?
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by maestrob » Sat May 06, 2017 11:44 am

While I haven't attended the MET for many seasons (or any other live performances, due to medical reasons), during the 1980's we had season tickets along with friends from Philadelphia who would travel to spend the day with us and go to the opera.

Two memories stand out for me. The first was a performance of La boheme, when in Act I the cast was burning real papers in a stove, and the stove caught on fire! Mario Sereni, who was a cient of mine at the NYAC, stuffed his jacket in the stove to try and put out the fire, which was filling the stage with ominous amounts of smoke, you can imagine! Eventualy, the music stopped and a stagehand in jeans and sneakers walked out carrying a modern fire extinguisher and put out the fire to a hearty round of applause! The next day, Sereni came into the store with conductor Molinari-Pradelli, and when I reminded him of the incident, he immediately burst out laughing and exclaimed, "Wasna me! Wasna me!." A good laugh of relief all around!

The second was the premiere performance of Handel's Rinaldo, starring Marilyn Horne and Eva Podles (making her MET debut). We were excited by the publicity surrounding the production, so imagine our surprise when Horne made her entrance singing lustily in full armor perched on the prow of a ship 25 feet in the air! Suddenly, in the midst of a very demanding aria, the ship tilted upstage with Horne clinging on without missing a note as the ship slowly fell backwards. Horne emerged unscathed, still singing without missing a note to a hearty round of applause! To this day, I don't know if this was done purposely or if it was an accident, but it certainly was a spectacular moment. Podles fully lived up to our expectations: I often wonder why she never had the career she deserved at the very top of her profession.

lennygoran
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 06, 2017 12:32 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 11:44 am
Podles fully lived up to our expectations: I often wonder why she never had the career she deserved at the very top of her profession.
Brian I had heard the name of Podles a few times but never heard her-I wondered why she was declined by the Met-maybe this is part of it? Regards, Len
The Elemental Power of Ewa Podles


By Anne Midgette
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BALTIMORE -- Ewa Podles, the Polish contralto with a three-octave range and a cult following, has appeared in Washington with some regularity over the years, thanks to the Vocal Arts Society. She has also appeared in Baltimore, where she and the pianist Garrick Ohlsson were presented by Shriver Concerts on Sunday afternoon; and in other opera houses and concert series around the country.

Where she has not appeared regularly is the Metropolitan Opera, which declined to invite her back after her 1984 debut as Handel's Rinaldo. The Met did not think the husky-sounding contralto was "our kind of voice," or so rumor had it. It took 24 years for her to appear there a second time: In September, she retook the Met stage as the blind mother (La Cieca) in Ponchielli's potboiler "La Gioconda."

She had a triumph: For once, La Cieca made a more powerful impression than Gioconda herself.

Podles (pronounced PODE-lesh), 56, is not everyone's cup of tea. She is an old-fashioned singer, in the best sense. Her voice goes way down into a chest register that today is more associated with the grandes dames of Broadway belting. It also goes up -- perhaps no longer quite to the stellar high notes of her "Rossini Arias" album (one of my favorite solo-singer albums of all time), but to a comfortable and impressive top.

It also has a distinctive presence. Listening to Podles in Sunday's opening set of five Chopin songs from Op. 74 was like sinking into layers of baklava -- sturdy and rich and sweet and sticky. In an age that emphasizes the clean, thin lines of voices that shine on recording, Podles offers a cavernous vacuum of sound that frames the firm core of her voice in an audible aureole of air. It has changed over the years; on Sunday, she appeared to have lightened and smoothed out the upper part of her voice, still firmly based on the massive pedestal of those deep lower notes, to offer what you might call a prettier version of Podles.

Pretty, however, is a misleading term; "elemental" is more like it.

She offers old-time acting to match her old-time vocal style, and this is not to everyone's taste, either. Some might be put off by the melodramatic gestures: head thrown back, arms outstretched. But to others, the point is that each song (Sunday's program included a set by Tchaikovsky as well as Mussorgsky's cycle "Songs and Dances of Death") is distinctly imagined and conveyed, from the muted resignation of Chopin's "Pierscien" to the anguish of "None but the Lonely Heart."

At worst, it can be a little overdone. The emotion of Chopin's "Merrymaking" was more likely to inspire alarm in the heart of the innocent maiden subjected to such violent swaggering from her swain.

Podles and Ohlsson have become such a duo that the pianist was able to play the accompaniments from memory. His presence is deluxe casting, particularly when it came time for his own solo set of Scriabin after the interval; he played as compellingly as she sang, with an odd kind of chewy sound as distinctive in its own way as her voice. The Mussorgsky fell off for me, a bit. Podles touched on Wicked Witch territory in these bleak songs about four faces of death, cackling evilly; I have heard her do them more imposingly. But there are not many singers able to make such an effect in any music.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02538.html

maestrob
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by maestrob » Sat May 06, 2017 1:38 pm

Hi Len,

Podles made many recordings with top-level musicians, so I can't imagine why the MET excluded her. I can only suspect that M. Horne saw her as competition and kept her out politically. Podles has outstanding power and range and certainly is a talent that, if she had been allowed to appear at the MET, would easily have challenged Horne's supremacy, as this recording shows:

Image

lennygoran
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 06, 2017 2:34 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 1:38 pm
Podles made many recordings with top-level musicians, so I can't imagine why the MET excluded her. I can only suspect that M. Horne saw her as competition and kept her out politically. Podles has outstanding power and range and certainly is a talent that, if she had been allowed to appear at the MET, would easily have challenged Horne's supremacy, as this recording shows
Brian thanks-we had just seen Semiramide down in Wilmington last week -pretty impressive imho! Regards, Len :D


John F
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by John F » Sat May 06, 2017 3:58 pm

Mishaps involving scenery or props are not uncommon, though rarely either funny or fatal. One that nearly was fatal happened at the end of "Gotterdammerung" on April 28, 1990, when the Gibichung hall collapsed too early and one of the immense roof beams struck Hildegard Behrens on the head. It put her in hospital and the remaining Ring cycle was sung by Gudrun Volkert, but it could have been much worse.

The funniest, involving the tenor Leo Slezak, is very well known but is worth retelling. In "Lohengrin" he was singing his farewell before stepping into the swan boat that would carry him back to Montsalvat, when stagehands pulled the boat offstage too early and it left without him. He then asked, "What time's the next swan?" Walter Slezak's book about his father has that as its title. The book is very funny too and well worth reading.
John Francis

barney
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by barney » Sat May 06, 2017 6:29 pm

I think Opera Australia is a very fine company, and when they are performing well I often find it hard to imagine whatever opera it is being performed better.
But my half-dozen Met performances in my celebrated (to me) New York visit last year showed me that is not true. We can have Met singers (and do) and directors (and do); we can have brilliant designers, costume people, lighting people (and do). We have a very fine orchestra in both Sydney and Melbourne (each keeps a professional theatre orchestra) and good conductors. But the Met orchestra is a mechanism apart from the rest, simply astoundingly good, and provided me with hours of intense pleasure and admiration. The chorus is that bit better, and the conductors are great musicians at the peak of their career. In New York I heard James Levine (actually, now past his peak, sadly), Esa-Pekka Salonen, Dan Ettinger etc. The superb Carmen I saw in Melbourne last Thursday was conducted by Brian Castles-Onion, a fine conductor but no Levine.
If I were a rich man (break into Fiddler on the Roof) I would live in New York mostly for the Met. I hope you know how lucky you are.

John F
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by John F » Sun May 07, 2017 12:28 am

That's why I've arranged my life so I can live here - musical experiences like that. But when I arrived in the late 1960s, the Met orchestra was nothing like what it is today; they played badly as often as not. And in the 1980s, when David Stivender was chorus master, the chorus sounded elderly and the sopranos were particularly strident and wobbly; it's Donald Palumbo who has shaped them up starting with his arrival in 2007, as James Levine did the orchestra starting in the 1970s. Achieving and maintaining the highest standards can be a long hard climb; losing them can be a quick and easy slide, as the best players move on to more prestigious and better paying jobs in symphony orchestras. (No original thinking here!) I'm glad you could hear our local opera company at something like its best, and hope it still impresses you that way the next time you come.
John Francis

barney
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by barney » Sun May 07, 2017 8:59 am

Thanks, John. I share that hope - especially the "next time"!

THEHORN
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by THEHORN » Mon May 08, 2017 4:03 pm

John , the Met orchestra is very well paid , about as well as any of the other top American orchestras . I don't know what the current minimum salary is, but it's something many orchestral musicians would kill for .

John F
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by John F » Mon May 08, 2017 5:48 pm

Do you have actual salary numbers, for example for the New York Phlharmonic a few yards away from the Met? Anthony McGill must have had I'd be interested to know. The other advantages of playing in a symphony orchestra - I mentioned prestige, also being up there in the public view, shorter working hours (Act 1 of Parsifal is longer than a full concert program), and other benefits - have their appeal too. The best players often move from the Met's pit to top orchestras, but rarely the other way around.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by maestrob » Tue May 09, 2017 11:19 am

John F wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 5:48 pm
Do you have actual salary numbers, for example for the New York Phlharmonic a few yards away from the Met? Anthony McGill must have had I'd be interested to know. The other advantages of playing in a symphony orchestra - I mentioned prestige, also being up there in the public view, shorter working hours (Act 1 of Parsifal is longer than a full concert program), and other benefits - have their appeal too. The best players often move from the Met's pit to top orchestras, but rarely the other way around.
That's because of working conditions. The MET actually has the equivalent of two orchestras (especially the brass), because the players are unbelievably busy, what with seven productions per week. Forced overtime is common, so are stress injuries. Not to mention the concert series Levine put on with the orchestra in Carnegie Hall (Who knows if that will continue now.). It's true the orchestra plays better now than ever before in its history, but if I were a player, I would prefer working with the Philharmonic over the MET any day.

John F
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Re: The Met Opera by the Numbers

Post by John F » Tue May 09, 2017 7:03 pm

By the way, I learned some years ago that the orchestra at the Bayreuth Festival is actually two orchestras. Not only do they alternate on successive days - playing heavy Wagner six days in a row would be a killer - but in the longer operas one orchestra plays the longest act and the other plays the other two. The divisions are after "Götterdämmerung" and "Parsifal" act 1 and before "Die Meistersinger" act 3. Also, a horn soloist not in the orchestra often plays Siegfried's horn calls. From 1961 on, it was Gerd Seifert of the Berlin Philharmonic; by 2000 he had done it 125 times.

This swapping of orchestras in a single performance doesn't happen at the Met, or it didn't when I had a backstage pass and could see the performance rosters. Also, I believe the Met orchestra doesn't have two complete string sections (maybe 1½), just the winds, brass, and percussion, which also covers them in case of illnesses or other absences. Ordinarily the orchestra that rehearses an opera remains constant for its performances that season - which one would expect to be normal, but I believe it isn't at the Vienna State Opera and possibly other houses.
John Francis

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