The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1935

The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1935

The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1935

The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1935

Excerpt

The panorama of fifty years' activity which is the history of Metropolitan Opera invites consideration in each of its many aspects. There is the Metropolitan as the setting for a social pageant, a role which it shares with every home of pretentious opera in the world; there is the Metropolitan as 'Block 815' on the real estate map of Manhattan Island; there is the Metropolitan as the repository for the New York careers of a host of accomplished artists; there is, finally, the Metropolitan as an agency for the performance of masterworks, 'vehicles' for singers, and claptrap. No one of these elements is appraisable independent of the others.

Within the last three years, the character of the Metropolitan enterprise has altered more radically in its relationship to the public than at any time in the preceding forty-nine. There was initiated during these later years a policy of financial subsidy by public subscription and, more recently, by foundational support, which is radically opposed to the basis on which the institution was established and on which it has endured for half a century. If the course which has been charted to date is maintained, the future of the institution must repose either in the continuance of its present support by the Juilliard Foundation or in its further socialization, as a community enterprise.

Both of these possibilities foreshadow an organization and plan of production sharply divergent from those of the immediate past. Together with the retirement of Guilio Gatti-Casazza as managing director, after a career that had embraced more . . .

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