Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, METROPOLITAN OPERA!!

The "Old Met" from the orchestra pit.

Yes, on this date (Oct 22nd) in 1883, the New York Metropolitan Opera House opened on 39th St. and Broadway. It lived there until it was unceremoniously torn down in 1966 and moved to Lincoln Center. I shall never forget standing there and watching the wrecking ball swing into the guts of the building. It pains me to this day!

The "Old" House, as it is still affectionately known, heard Caruso, Ponselle, Flagstad, Melchior, Tebaldi and Callas - more names than I could ever mention.
I first went there in 1966. It was a magical place, beyond description.

As they were tearing down the house, we went into the building late at night to scout for souvenirs. I managed to get a small piece of the "Golden Horseshoe". Yes, the entire balcony was trimmed in real gold leaf.

This small piece of plaster heard the greatest voices of our time.
I shall cherish it always.

3 comments:

glynn said...

Richard,
What it must have been like to even sit in the 'sh#@y' seats! Not only was it beautiful to see, my understanding is that it was a techno marvel of its day.

Richard Wall said...

I sat on the second row downstairs once for a performance of "La Fanciulla del West". Amazing.

I loved the old house. It was torn down because they were afraid of competition with the Lincoln Center site.

CJ/Rick said...

Stupid me thought they went from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center. But I haven't lived such a fantastic life either. It must have been gorgeous richard.