Opera, it’s said not entirely irreverently, is when a guy gets stabbed and instead of bleeding, he sings. This sentiment captures the magic of the wildly extravagant art form, and New York is blessed with one of the world’s best opera companies. The Metropolitan Opera has staged dozens of American and world premieres, from Italian bel canto classics to new work, and presents the finest voices in the world. Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and just about every other voice familiar even to non-opera buffs have sung on its enormous stage. The Met also pioneered innovative technology that allows simultaneous translation on computer screens in front of each of the 3,900 seats.
For all these superlatives, the Met is also remarkably proletarian – you can enjoy one of the majestic productions for as little as $35 for a seat in the family circle or even less with day-of-performance discounts. And you should – a night at the Met is right near the top of the list of only-in-New York experiences. Should you be mesmerized, you can go backstage to see such stage-magic wonders as a turntable 60ft in diameter on tours during the season most weekdays at 3.30pm and Sundays at 10.30pm, for $15.
The Met’s home is the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a 16-acre campus on the Upper West Side the company shares with such illustrious neighbors as the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, and the City Opera. The season runs from October through May; the box office is in the foyer of the Metropolitan Opera House.