Recap: The Metropolitan Opera Tour 2015
Posted by Hanna Porterfield | April 26, 2015
On a beautiful afternoon – Sunday, April 19, 2015 – three groups of Spartan alumni took a sold-out, behind-the-scenes tour of the famous Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The stories, sights, statistics and warehousing of the monumental sets included on this tour probably left most of us, and maybe a more seasoned opera-goer…blown away. When the tour was concluded, Spartans left with a greater appreciation of the tremendous undertaking that goes into live theater at The Met (and live productions everywhere).
Some of the highlights:
- The Met Opera seats approximately 3,800 people. A closer look at the walls inside at the theater reveal that there are no right angles on the walls; only curves. The performers use no electronic voice amplification because this curves structure creates a superior acoustical chamber. Another unbelievable fact is that one, rare, large tree trunk supplied the beautiful, burled veneer covering the theater’s curved walls. Even the ceiling is arced, plus the entire ceiling is gilded in 24 carat gold leaf.
- Planning a grand performance at The Metropolitan Opera begins at least 5 years in advance! Once a show is selected and a budget reached, the creative process unfolds very carefully. As tour guests we had a front row seat to see how the show really “must go on.”
- It starts with hundreds of complicated drawings from set designers to create a very detailed scale model of the stage. Simultaneously, clothing designers sketch the costumes and others create blueprints and compile props for the stage scenery. After final approval, the work begins to bring the scale model and costumes to the stage.
- The coordination of engineers, carpenters, painters, seamstresses, wardrobe personnel, wig designers, hair and make-up artists, musicians, voice coaches, stage hands, prop handlers, prompters, assistants, administrators and even medical personnel plus the performers — is a incredible feat.
- Did you know that all but one of the performers are required to wear wigs? Each wig is made of human hair! The only exception is that the “white” hair wigs come from Yaks…yes, Yaks!
- A special moment occurred in our group during the tour. A rousing rendition of the Spartan Fight Song broke out while we were in one of the many rehearsal rooms somewhere in the vast hallway maze below Lincoln Center. Why is this significant? Well, a few Spartans can claim that in addition to Blondies Sports Bar, Mercury Bar East and Carnegie Hall, we sang at the MET! Not too shabby.