The Metropolitan Opera
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5 historical facts about the Metropolitan Opera

"The Met" has been a stalwart of New York high-culture for over a century, and ushered in a new era of accessibility to the performing arts when it was founded. Whether you visit for a world-class show or just a tour, here's a bit of history first.

It was built to outshine the Academy of Music

The theater was founded in 1880 by New York's richest families. The original opera house was so elitist that even the Morgans, Roosevelts, and Vanderbilts couldn't get a box!

It was originally on Broadway

Fires were so common in theaters back then that it's a wonder why any were built in the first place! The Broadway building succumbed in 1892 but was swiftly rebuilt.

You can still hear turn-of-the-century greats...

...thanks to Lionel Mapleson – the Opera's music librarian – who, from 1900 to 1904, used an early phonograph to record performance fragments on the famous Mapleson cylinders!

It moved to the Lincoln Center in 1966

The Metropolitan Opera is now located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The original building was demolished in 1967, and replaced by the 1411 Broadway skyscraper.

It has one of the world's highest-paid orchestras

But competition has always been tough. The average member failed 8 auditions before securing their place, and practices for 16.5 hours a week outside of the grueling rehearsals!

The Metropolitan Opera: Our Tips

What are the opening times?

The Metropolitan Opera is open outside of performance times from 10:00AM to 8:00PM from Monday to Saturday (Sundays: 12:00PM to 6:00PM). Official tours with backstage access are held during the performance season at 3:00PM on weekdays or 10:30AM and 1:30PM on Sundays. You will need to book in advance.

How much are tickets?

It completely depends on the performance and seats. Prices can be $50-60 all the way up to a cool thousand, but "rush tickets" are available on the day of the performance for just $25 (online booking only)! See for more details.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    Performance times vary, tours available in season at 3:00PM weekdays or 10:30AM and 1:30PM Sundays.
  • What is the price?
    Performance ticket prices vary, adult tour ticket prices are $25 for the general public.
  • Will I need a guide?
    If you take a tour of The Met, the guide is provided!
  • How to get there
    Take the no. 1 train to the 66th Street Station, or by bus, take the M5, M7, M10, M11, M20, M66, M104 or BxM2 lines
  • Additional tips
    • The Met's website offers assistance in finding the perfect opera for your tastes, if you don't know what to see!
    • There is no dress code, but if you're seeing a performance, you may want to take the chance to get fancy!

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The Metropolitan Opera
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Cover photo: Billie Grace Ward, CC BY 2.0