Press Room

Metropolitan Opera Guild news: January 2011

It is a season of momentous anniversaries for theMetropolitan Opera Guild: the Guild began the season-long celebration of its 75th anniversary this fall; as publisher of Opera News, the Guild celebrates the magazine’s own diamond anniversary in 2011; and theJanuary issue of Opera News marks the 40thanniversary of James Levine’s Metropolitan Opera debut (which was June 5, 1971, conducting Tosca).  The cover feature sees Scott Rose take on the difficult task of choosing 40 highlights from Levine’s 40 storied years at the Met.
The Guild enjoyed its own starry tribute in December, when its annual luncheon saw the organization itself take center stage for its 75th anniversary.  The annual luncheon has been a highlight of the opera season for decades, as an unparalleled community gathering that brings top artists and passionate opera fans together to celebrate leaders in the art form.  December’s luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria’s Grand Ballroom had spoken and sung tributes to the Guild by Susan Graham,Deborah VoigtMarcello GiordaniNathan Gunn,Brandon JovanovichSusanna Phillips, and the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb.  Several of these cited the Guild’s remarkable achievements in fund-raising (more than a quarter of a billion dollars for the Met Opera in its 75 years), education, audience development, and the publication of the prize-winningOpera News – founded in 1936 and now the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera.
Along with the tribute to maestro Levine, January’sOpera News profiles American soprano Lise Lindstromand her sometimes-bumpy road to becoming the world’s leading Turandot, a role she has sung from the Met and La Scala to the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opera Hong Kong.  The issue also includes a report on the arrival at the Met of Willy Decker’s revolutionary Salzburg staging of La Traviata, as well as a tribute to the late mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett.  Wall Street Journalcritic Heidi Waleson polls a group of opera industry insiders on what they see as the 21st century’s best new opera, while Hugh McDonald makes the case for operas in translation and Opera News editor-in-chief F. Paul Driscoll devotes his “Sound Bites” column to bass-baritone Keith Miller.
The January performance reviews in Opera News include the Met’s new Boris Godunov starring René Pape, the New York City Opera production of Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, and the Fura dels Bausproduction of Mahagonny in Madrid.  The magazine’s critics offer up their favorite CDs and DVDs reviewed in 2010, while there are new reviews addressing archival DVDs of Levine leading Lulu and Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met, a CD of Joan Sutherland in Glyndebourne’s 1960 I Puritani, and new recordings of Otello and Porgy and Bess.  Also reviewed is photographer Nancy Ellison’s tribute to the Met’s Otto Schenk Ring.
The Metropolitan Opera Guild sponsors many events open to the public, from lectures and interviews to backstage tours at the Met.  This 75th season has already seen a Met Mastersingers presentation with René Pape, Singers’ Studio conversations with Anna Netrebko and Deborah Voigt, and interactive workshops for children revolving around The Magic Flute.  Already sold-out among this month’s events is an evening of conversation on January 19 with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky.  One of her generation’s most celebrated interpreters of the Italian repertoire, Radvanovsky stars on the Met stage in January in the title role of Tosca and returns in spring as Leonora in Il Trovatore.  She speaks with Opera News managing editor Oussama Zahr about the challenges and rewards of singing Verdi and verismo.  See below for more details about Guild public events.
The Metropolitan Opera Guild at a glance
For 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has provided substantial support to the Met, as well as greatly enhancing the public’s appreciation of opera overall.  Since its founding by the pioneering philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont in 1935, the Guild has contributed more than $245 million to the Met.  The organization has one of the country’s most innovative and far-reaching music education programs, which benefits more than 1,800 schools and communities.  In August 2010, the Guild received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Arts-in-Education” Model Development and Dissemination Program for its Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project.
The Guild also publishes Opera News, the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera, and it produces an annual series of major public programs, including the Opera News Awards, Met Legends and Met Mastersingers series.  The sixth annual Opera News Awards will take place in New York City on April 17, 2011, at the Plaza Hotel, celebrating the achievements of five extraordinary artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: tenor Jonas Kaufmann, conductor Riccardo Muti, soprano Patricia Racette, soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.
Additional information about the history of the Metropolitan Opera Guild can be found
Upcoming Metropolitan Opera Guild lectures and public events
Wednesday, January 19 at 6pm – 7:15pm
In Studio: Sondra Radvanovsky
Acclaimed soprano Sondra Radvanovsky will star on the Met stage in January as Tosca, and she returns in spring as Leonora in Il Trovatore.  She speaks with Opera News managing editor Oussama Zahr about singingverismo and the works of Verdi.
Price: $30; $35 at door – Sold out
Jan 22 – Feb 12
Opera Boot Camp: Basic Training
Newcomers and lifelong opera-goers alike will deepen their appreciation of the lyric arts with this enlightening series.  The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s resident experts reveal secrets of listening to maximize enjoyment; recount the history of the art form, from its Renaissance roots to its place in contemporary culture; and get to know the unsung heroes on and off the operatic stage.
Week One, Jan 22: Vocal Vocab
Week Two, Jan 29: Opera Evolution: 1600-1800
Week Three, Feb 5: Opera Revolution: 1800-today
Week Four, Feb 12: The Opera, Seen from Behind the Scenes
Price: $56
Saturday, January 22 at 11am – 12:15pm
Week One: Vocal Vocab
Presented by Dottie Allen
Don’t know the difference between a soprano and a tenor, or an aria and a recitative?  Think a sforzando is a military command or a sushi order?  Learn the language of music and the sounds of the singers in this fun-filled session.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Saturday, January 29 at 11am – 12:15pm
Week Two: Opera Evolution: 1600-1800
Presented by Dottie Allen
Who were Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini, and how did their revolutionary ideas propel opera into superstardom?  Learn how opera has continually transformed itself since the 19th century, and what it’s doing to stay vital and relevant today.
Price: $16; $20 at door subject to availability
Weekdays at 3:30pm and most Sundays at 10:30am and 1:30pm
Backstage Tours
Go behind the scenes for an exclusive look at what it takes to make onstage magic at the Met!  Tours begin and end in the Met lobby during the Met performance season.  Backstage Tours offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Met, and they visit the expansive scenic and carpentry shops, where sets are built and painted; the costume, wardrobe, make-up, and wig departments that prep and primp today’s star singers for the stage; rehearsal rooms where productions first take shape; the massive stage complex where the action comes to life; and the crown jewel auditorium.
Price: $16; $20 at door; Guild members: $14; Students: $10
Events will be held in the Metropolitan Opera Guild Opera Learning Center located on the 6th floor of Lincoln Center’s Samuel B. and David Rose Building, unless otherwise noted.

Return to Press Room