CASE STUDY: Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center


Address: Lincoln Center
New York, New York  10023

Co-founders: Multiple

Institution type: Non-Profit Organization (NPO)

Mission of the Backstage visit:

The Backstage visit of the Met aims to increase the understanding of how the company works. Backstage tours visit production areas not usually seen by the general public, including  scenic and carpentry shops, rehearsal rooms, and stage area  .

Prices: $22 per person for the general public, $20 per person for Guild Members, and $18 for students & groups of 10 or more

Visit Hours:   3:15 PM (weekdays) 10.30AM/1.30 PM (Sundays) Only during the Met Performance season

Duration: 90 minutes




Brief History of the MET:

The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. The music director is James Levine. The company’s origins were in the late 19th century as an alternative to the previously established Academy of Music opera house. It was designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison in 1962. It presents about 27 different operas each year in a season which lasts from late September through May. In its early decades the Met did not produce the opera performances itself but hired prominent manager to stage a season of opera at the theater


General Information from Tour:

  • The building was designed by Wallace K. Harrison, who had really into account the importance of the acoustic.
  • Renowned acoustician, Cyril M. Harris consulted on the acoustics of the space
  • The wood used in all the seating space was taken out of the same wood, so the space maintained the same acoustic
  • 28 production a season with 6 new productions.
  • The opera house has 3,800 seats plus 175 standing room places. For ballet performances, the size of the orchestra pit can be decreased and another row of 35 seats added at the front of the auditorium.
  • In order to make it less elitist, private boxes were eliminated
  • There is actually no dress code to attend to the Opera, although during Galas of Openings people usually dress more formally.
  • There are special seating rooms in case you arrive late to the performance. They are located in the North/South sides of the Orchestra levels. These areas are provided with televisions where latecomers may watch the performance until they are allowed in (during intermission)
  • The whole building is suspended because of the subway below so it doesn’t interfere with the acoustic.
  • The scene shop is where the shows are built. It has 27 foot ceilings to accommodate the large size sets.
  • Their productions are planned 4 years in advance.


metropolitan patrons


Dimensions of the stage:

The proscenium is 54 feet wide and 54 feet high. The distance from the curtain line to the back wall of the main stage is 80 feet, and the height of the stage to the rigging loft is 110 feet.

Organization of the stage:

  • 7 Elevators ( enables the change between different sets of the same performance and even between different Operas) They are 28 feet hollow (they go up 16 feet and down 12)
  • Horizontal moves: wagons who move from left to right of the stage (and vice versa)
  • Wheel:  It makes a complete turn in 30 seconds. It’s used during some performances (like Die Fledermaus) or to change sceneries.
  •  The screens and seats  are designed such that you can’t view  the screens around you. They are not evenly spaced so that you are not disturbed by the people and screens in front of you
  •  The deck of the stage also includes 50 traps that can be used for various purposes
  • There are 5 holes for the “prompter girls”, who help the performers in case they forget something




Apart from the regular tickets (which can be purchased at the box office or online) there are very interesting offers for more affordable tickets

  • Rush tickets:  200 Orchestra seats are made available for $20 for each regular Monday through Thursday performance; they can be purchased at the Met box office beginning two hours before curtain, subject to availability.
  • Met Opera Students: If you are a  full time Undergraduate/ Graduate student there is also a special rate. The advantage of these tickets is that they are really good located. Tickets begin selling at 10 AM on the day of the performance and although they pend on availability there are usually more chances of purchasing these tickets.  Prices are $25 + $2.50 facility fee for weekday performances and $35 + $2.50 facility fee for Friday and Saturday performances.

We managed to get some of the MET Opera Students tickets, for only 27.50 $ and they were great seats . We highly recommend the Operetta we saw.

Die Fledermaus 

Approximate running time 3 hrs. 35 min.

Jeremy Sams returns to the Met, after his major success with The Enchanted Island, to direct a new production of Johann Strauss’s beloved operatic confection, with a revised libretto by acclaimed playwright Douglas Carter Beane. Sams places the action in turn-of-the-century Vienna, an elegant, opulent setting with echoes of Gustav Klimt’s glittering paintings (and of Sigmund Freud’s newly fashionable ideas). Susanna Phillips and Christopher Maltman lead the sparkling cast, which also features Jane Archibald, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Michael Fabiano, and Paulo Szot. Adam Fischer conducts.





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