Behind the Gold Curtain: The Story of the Metropolitan Opera: 1883-1950

Behind the Gold Curtain: The Story of the Metropolitan Opera: 1883-1950

Behind the Gold Curtain: The Story of the Metropolitan Opera: 1883-1950

Behind the Gold Curtain: The Story of the Metropolitan Opera: 1883-1950

Excerpt

When the great gold curtain parts on the Metropolitan Opera stage a new world lies open to the imagination. Behind this curtain may stand ancient Thebes, or eighteenth-century Paris, medieval Antwerp or a starlit terrace in Nagasaki. In the ever-ever land of opera the years take little toll. Time and space are alike eradicated by the magic of art.

For sixty-seven years this miracle has been accomplished in our beloved Opera House. On the stage, artists who made its fame have come and gone. In the auditorium, generations of opera-lovers have watched the curtain rise. Traditions have been handed down on both sides of the footlights. Novelties have shocked the audience and later mellowed into tradition.

The story of Metropolitan Opera is a long one, a saga which merits many tellings and which is read with eager interest by succeeding generations. From time to time our Opera Guild has revealed new aspects of this operatic cavalcade. Six years ago we published a small book, Metropolitan Opera Milestones, which outlined the developments of the theatre itself and the most outstanding events of its first sixty years. Now at the close of the regime of Edward Johnson, it is fitting that the Metropolitan story should be reviewed and brought up to date. Fascinating old pictures have been discovered. New photographs have been made possible by special lighting and the use of modern lenses.

No attempt has been made to cover all the distinguished names in the roster or all the important operas in the repertory. Our author has condensed some of the colorful facts in the great pageant that has swept the stage, and illumined the pages with a variety of illustrations.

Music, alas, is lacking, but that, perhaps, will echo from the memory, as we recall the thrilling moments in Metropolitan Opera history which are here set forth. To those of us who have been privileged to hear opera in the historic theatre, the very names of the great artists are music. To the vast radio audience music seems to emanate from the air itself.

So let us conclude this brief overture with a warm welcome to our Opera House, a toast to its glorious past, a salute to its magnificent future. And now, up with the curtain!

MRS. AUGUST BELMONT

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