Sunday Morning Opera: “New” Met @ 50!


This evening the Metropolitan Opera will celebrate 50 years at Lincoln Center.  When it opened, the NY Times gushed:

“…On September 16, 1966, the Metropolitan Opera opened its doors for the first time in a new home at Lincoln Center, with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Leontyne Price and Justino Díaz. The New York Times declared the opening of the new opera house a “crescendo of splendor,” and a new era of theatrical possibility was born…”

What are your favorite memories of the ‘New’ Met?  I know what mine are.

Unfortunately, I need to cheat on this one. There is a single Saturday afternoon performance recorded, and apparently rarely played – it was never taped. No video exists of the remarkable performance of Thais starring the immortal Beverly Sills and the greatest baritone ever – the original Barihunk – Sherrill Milnes.

I was there, that night, for the now legendary concert with Sherrill Milnes and Placido Domingo.

I saw Milnes and Domingo do Otello there at the Met. Love that opera!

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away, I knew nothing about opera. Then, I saw Sherrill Milnes do Giovanni. An obsession was born. There are no videos of him doing Giovanni – so far. This is what put me over the top, and turned me into a raving stalker.

Richard Cassily as Tannhauser was remarkable. I saw him at the Met, in Tannhauser close to a half dozen times – I was that crazy about it.

There are some moments and some performances that completely RUIN any possibility of ever watching it again, with any other legend. This is one of those moments. I was so fortunate to see it at the Met. He was wonderful!

One of my great regrets is I was never able to see her perform, in person. I did get to watch a few minutes of an Aida rehearsal at the Met. Even in rehearsal she was the ultimate diva. It is considered the supreme Met moment of all time. I agree. I bawled all the way through it. I still do, every time I see it.

The Metropolitan Opera is very special. If you love the Met, nothing else will do. It is the greatest opera company there is, even though Peter Gelb is doing his utmost to ruin it via his abject incompetence. If you love the Met, it is the most magical and special place there is. It is a family.

What is the greatest moment I’ve ever experienced, not I was there? It says everything you need to know about the Metropolitan Opera.

What are your greatest moments at the Met?

Opera Wire

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