A Day In Photos At The Met Opera

America’s largest performing arts organization is a beehive of activity. More than 1,000 singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, conductors, directors, stage hands, scenic artists, office workers, and others enter the building every day to help put on the more than 200 opera performances the company stages each year. Here is a selection of photos from March 26, 2014, showing a day in the life of the Metropolitan Opera.

1. 10:00 a.m.

Another morning in the Met lobby. The Met presents four different operas every week in this building, which houses one of the largest stages anywhere in the world. By the end of the season, the Met will have staged more than 200 performances of 26 different operas, ranging from Mozart’s Così fan tutte (1790), to Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, which had its U.S. premiere at the Met in October.

2. 10:35 a.m.

Stage rehearsal with full orchestra for Arabella, Richard Strauss’s elegant romance set in 1860s Vienna. The opera hasn’t been staged by the Met in more than a decade; this season’s performances feature Swedish soprano Malin Byström as Arabella.

3. 10:48 a.m.

German baritone Michael Volle makes his Met debut in Arabella as Mandryka, the mysterious stranger who falls in love with the title character.

4. 11:05 a.m.

A regular dance class meets in the ballet studio in the Met’s third sub-basement. Many operas feature important dance sequences, including this season’s La Sonnambula.

5. 11:32 a.m.

New Jersey-born tenor James Valenti and Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais rehearse an early scene from Puccini’s heartbreaking Madama Butterfly. Both stars are singing their first Met performances of the leading roles in this opera, which returns to the stage in April.

6. 12:15 p.m.

Twenty-six-year-old soprano Julie Adams, from Burbank, California, is one of nine finalists in this year’s Met National Council Auditions. This Sunday, March 30, she will perform on the Met stage for the first time at the Grand Finals Concert, after which judges will select this year’s winners—each of whom will receive a $15,000 cash prize and the chance to launch a major operatic career. Here, she gets a final touch-up on her gown from National Council Chairperson Camille LaBarre.

7. 1:04 p.m.

Twenty-four-year-old tenor Rexford Tester, originally from Tazewell, Virginia, is another finalist in this year’s National Council Auditions. He goes over “Languir per una bella” from Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, one of his selections for Sunday afternoon’s concert, with conductor Marco Armiliato in a fifth-floor rehearsal studio.

8. 1:16 p.m.

Margaret Juntwait, currently in her tenth season as the Met’s radio host, goes over a preliminary script for Saturday’s matinee broadcast of La Sonnambula. In addition to the Met’s 83-year history of Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts, which are heard all over the world, the company now broadcasts up to three live performances a week on Met Opera Radio, Sirius XM Channel 74.

9. 2:02 p.m.

Music librarian Melissa Robason collects scores from the day’s orchestra rehearsal of Arabella. The Met music library contains scores of all operas in the company’s repertory.

10. 2:10 p.m.

Changeover! The Met’s hard-working stage crew gets to work tearing down the sets from Arabella and rolling in the elaborate scenery for tonight’s performance, Puccini’s timeless love story La Bohème.

11. 2:45 p.m.

The Met’s 4th-floor scenic shop is where artists create the scenic elements that are an essential part of every opera production. These painted trees are for Susan Stroman’s forthcoming production of The Merry Widow, opening on New Year’s Eve.

12. 3:04 p.m.

Liz, a scenic artist, works carefully to expand a sketch into a set element for The Merry Widow.

13. 3:25 p.m.

Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who starred in this season’s opening night performance of Eugene Onegin, takes on a new villain role this month: Riccardo in Bellini’s I Puritani. Here he is at an early staging rehearsal for the bel canto opera.

14. 3:29 p.m.

Milliner Janet Linville puts the finishing touches on the veil Cio-Cio-San wears in the opening scene of Madama Butterfly.

15. 3:35 p.m.

Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko will make her Met debut this season as Elvira, the fragile heroine of I Puritani. Here she rehearses for one of the character’s famous mad scenes.

16. 3:38 p.m.

Wigmaster Tom Watson combs out the wig Malin Byström will wear as the title character in Arabella.

17. 3:58 p.m.

Lawrence Brownlee, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, is one of the Met’s leading bel canto tenors. Here he takes a break from rehearsing for his role of the hero Arturo in I Puritani, while showing off his company pride.

18. 5:30 p.m.

Opera lovers line up to purchase $20 rush tickets for this evening’s performance of La Bohème. The Met’s rush ticket program makes thousands of tickets in prime seating locations available for $20 on weeknights and $25 on weekends.

19. 6:05 p.m.

Lincoln Center is ready for patrons attending tonight’s performances. The two large murals on either side of the Met building are by Marc Chagall.

20. 6:48 p.m.

Patrons dine at the Grand Tier Restaurant before the performance begins. Anyone attending a performance on the Lincoln Center campus can make a reservation at the restaurant for a pre-performance dinner, and Met ticket holders can also dine during opera intermissions.

21. 7:14 p.m.

One of the most popular onstage performers, the horse who pulls Musetta’s carriage onstage in Act 2 of La Bohème, waits in the parking area to enter the opera house…

22. 7:15 p.m.

…followed by his four-legged friend, the donkey that pulls Parpignol’s toy cart onstage in the same scene.

23. 7:52 p.m.

Jennifer Rowley (Musetta) makes sure she looks picture-perfect as she prepares for her entrance. The American soprano makes her Met debut this season.

24. 8:05 p.m.

Hundreds of actors and singers, including many members of the Met Children’s Chorus, wait on the stage wagon as the famous Act 2 set for La Bohème rolls in.

25. 8:23 p.m.

As soon as the curtain comes down, Met stagehands go to work changing the scenery for the wintry third act.

26. 8:31 p.m.

Stars Vittorio Grigolo (Rodolfo) and Anita Hartig (Mimì) share a moment after their exit. They’ve earned it!

27. 10:23 p.m.

As soon as the curtain comes down on another great performance, the Met starts preparing to do it all again tomorrow.

All photos by Marty Sohl and Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera

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