The Metropolitan Opera is located at Lincoln Center in New York, New York. It was founded in April, 1880. The first Metropolitan Opera House opened on October 23, 1883, and was located between 39th and 40th Street on Broadway. The original Metropolitan Opera House was designed by J. Cleaveland Cady and was gutted by fire on August 27, 1892. After extensive renovation it continued to be used until 1966, when the opera company moved to their present location at Lincoln Center. The original building, having failed to obtain landmark status, was razed in 1967.
The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center was designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison. The "New Met" opened on September 16, 1966, with the world premiere of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. The building is clad in white travertine and the east facade is graced with five similar arches. On display in the lobby are two murals created for the space by Marc Chagall. The Opera House holds nearly 4000 people on several levels. The gold Proscenium is 54' wide and 54' high. The main curtain is custom-woven gold damask and is the largest tab curtain in the world. The stage of the Metropolitan Opera House is highly mechanized. There are 7 full stage elevators, (60' wide, with double decks). There are 3 slipstages, the upstage one also contains a 60' diameter revolve (turntable). There are 103 motorized battens (linesets) for overhead lifting. There are two 100' tall fully-enveloping cycloramas. All of this stage equipment is needed because the Metropolitan performs Opera in repertory, that is, alternating productions on a nightly basis. The scenery at the Metropolitan Opera is extraordinarily large and detailed.
The Met (as it is also called) is also known worldwide for its live radio broadcasts of the Saturday afternoon opera productions which have been ongoing since 1940. They were sponsored by Texaco (now ChevronTexaco) from the start until April of 2004. These broadcast continue to be heard in many countries.