Thursday, February 9, 2012

Metropolitan and Not-so-Metropolitan Operas

The Metropolitan Opera was not the first opera house in New York. There was a smaller, more exclusive one, the Academy of Music, but it catered exclusively to the old-money families and excluded the new rich, such as the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts, and the Morgans. There were two-short-lived opera houses before the Academy of Music too, the Italian Opera House and the Astor House. When the Metropolitan Opera House opened at 1411 Broadway in 1883, it quickly became the opera house, and the new rich were able to see and be seen.  Here is the Met in a pre-1907 view:

It nearly burned down in 1892, but was rebuilt and reopened in 1893. The Met remained at its original location until the opera company moved to Lincoln Center in 1966. The building was demolished in 1967. I have never been to the Met, but I have been to a few of the live in HD performances at a local movie theater.  I'm sure it doesn't compare to being there in person, but I recommend it anyway.

So, while New York City was building itself an opera house in 1883, what was happening up in the  Amazon rainforest? It turns out that they were finalizing plans to build an opera house there too. While they started construction at about the same time, the process in Manaus, Brazil was a lot slower. Building materials, including marble for the stairs, columns and statues, were imported from Europe. The first performance, Ponchielli's La Giaconde, took place in 1897. No expense was spared though, resulting in a lavish building with electric lights, all funded by riches from the rubber industry. My friend Karin visited the place and sent me this picture of the Teatro Amazones.

Karin also mentions that: The pavement in the plaza in front of the Teatro is by Roberto Burle Marx, a famous landscape architect.  It represents the ‘meeting of the waters’ where the black Rio Negro and the latte-colored Rio Solimoes meet, just outside of Manaus.

Here is a gallery of photos from the Teatro Amazones.

And here's the back of the first card.


  1. The top card looks like an illustration or one that was created on top of a photo. I really like it.

  2. Too bad I didn't think to grab a postcard of the Teatro when I was down south~ Thanks for the post, and the link to the lovely photos of the interior. Cheers! Karin

  3. Beautiful plaza in front of the Teatro.



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