Posts Tagged ‘opera’

Traveler Words: The Metropolitan Opera

Friday, January 30th, 2009

We are grateful that our Smithsonian travelers are so often eager to share their thoughts about their tour experiences with us.

This week, see what others had to say about some of our Metropolitan Opera tours.

“I had wanted to attend a performance of all four Ring operas for, oh, the last 40 years or so. Smithsonian tours finally made this possible for me, with excellent seats at the Met, and accommodations and meals, and a terrific study leader whose presentations made the operas so much more enjoyable. I cannot thank you enough!”

-Janet Goldstein, Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Met

“Hotel Room – $250.00; Pre-performance dinner – $75.00; Orchestra seat – $175.00; Awaiting the first notes of the overture to your favorite opera at Lincoln Center with new-found opera friends – priceless.”

-Laurie Tomita, Opera 101: Four Outstanding Evenings

Photo: Vintage Metropolitan Opera

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Pianist Josef Hoffman packs the house at the Metropolitan Opera in 1937. Photo: National Archives and Research Administration

Pianist Josef Hoffman packs the house at the Metropolitan Opera in 1937. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company wasn’t always housed at the famed Lincoln Center Theater. From the Met’s inception until September 1966, performances took place on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets West, in a building nicknamed “The Yellow Brick Brewery” for its industrial facade designed by J. Cleaveland Cady. The new home of the Met at Lincoln Center was engineered by the man behind Rockefeller Center, Wallace K. Harrison, and displays two larger-than-life murals by modernist artist Marc Chagall.

Learn more about performing arts tours here.

A Magical Evening of Renée Fleming

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
SJ Director Amy Kotkin with Study Leader Arthur Kaplan

Smithsonian Journeys Director Amy Kotkin with Study Leader Arthur Kaplan

I am scribbling notes for this blog from Orchestra Prime seat G22 at the Metropolitan Opera. The gorgeous Swarovski crystal chandeliers have begun their ascent to the ceiling of this vast and grand auditorium, the lights are dimming, the maestro is about to appear in the orchestra pit.

Our Smithsonian travelers –   25 of us who have gathered from all over the country for four days of opera – are totally primed to experience the magnificent Renée Fleming as Thäis – a fourth-century Egyptian courtesan who is transformed into a true believer by a monk and enters a convent somewhere deep in the Sahara desert. The monk, Athaneal, belatedly acknowledges his love for her and is tormented by his unrequited passion. Not a likely story? Well, they seldom are – but with 19th-century opera, we are talking about grand emotions and larger than life characters, not cinema verité. (more…)