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The following program was produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation by W. B U R Boston. With. Boston University radio presents Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1893 to 1966. You're right it was the will. You are you on it was. Your hosts are miles past indie music critic of The New York world you know where you are. And no don't cross.
The maps. Nineteen out of three season not only signaled the arrival of Caruso at the house but it also marked the start of a new managerial regime. Even before Modi groud died the Metropolitan stockholders selected Heinrich Khan read to be the new manager can read again with an impressive list of backers who were wealthy and also had some social standing. Although it was considerably less than that of the traditional box holders to avoid a financial fiasco the new manager was required to post a guarantee of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars against possible losses. Still several of the Met's directors gambled at $10000 apiece and joined the other backers of Conrad's enterprise feeling reasonably certain that his productions would net a profit. The only competition for the lease of the house this time came from Walter Damrosch and the vote was only seven to six in favor of the
Conrad Metropolitan Opera Company. Many felt that the choice was unwise in several ways. Con read was the exact opposite of his predecessor while GRO had little theatrical sense. Connery had had been trained as an actor and he assured the press that his productions would be handsomely staged. Well lighted and above all adequately rehearsed where grower had emphasized the star system can read proposed to work his company into an integrated ensemble. Unfortunately Conor Reed's musical experience was as limited as gross theatrical knowledge had been. He had little grasp of the problems involved with an international repertoire and knew still less about voices. He therefore indicated that his operas would emphasize new mechanical devices for theatrically acceptable productions and that he would rely on old saying is whose abilities had already been established
for vocal effects. Not even Caruso could be credited as a country discovery because he had been approached and contracted by grow a year before the arrival of the new manager. But now the novelty of the 1983 season was the freshly decorated Opera House. This job had been undertaken by John Carr and Thomas Hastings. What resulted was the gold in the room Edwardian broke interior that was so familiar to audiences today. It was at that time too that the proscenium arch was added with a panels bearing the names of Mozart Verdi Wagner Beethoven gook and Bruno. A few changes were made in later years but on the whole the 1933 version is what most people think of to day when they remember the old MIT music play in the season didn't offer much more than Caruso's performances.
The greatest fear on publicity that year was created by an announcement that Parsifal would be given its first stage performance at the Metropolitan. The difficult they send it on a proclamation made by Wagner that the opera was not to be given outside by Wright for 50 years and the composers as apparently thought that some proprietary right had been created which then passed to them after his death. The family had made every possible effort to suppress the performance that concrete plan and they even made an informal appeal to the Kaiser. When that yielded nothing they filed a civil suit in the New York courts. But at that time there were no copyright agreements in effect between Germany and America so there could be no injunction problems of another sort developed when some members of the Protestant clergy although completely ignorant of the libretto level charges of sacrilege one minister said. Not only is Christ's person represented but also the blood and then added the whole thing
amounted to a profane nation of a sacred subject. There was further turmoil one can read scheduled the first performance for Christmas Eve. At this point a petition was given to Miss Sesno urging that the Metropolitan's license be suspended. Nevertheless the performance went on and proved can reach the optical ability with Richard Aldrich in the times praising it as the most perfect production ever made on the American stage in the cast for milk attorney known as Kundry Eliasberg Stahl Parsifal and Otto Garrett as clings Goritz was making his metropolitan debut in this part. And it became almost his personal property that he had it entirely to himself for the next 14 seasons. Guards also figured prominently in another new production of that season Mozart's Magic Flute in which he's saying pop again 0 0. We'll be.
Right. Right. Gave it.
To you. The only other artists who made debuts that season with a Wagnerian conduct the Felix model and the Swedish Brownell all of whom would soon figure prominently in a common read production that touched off even more controversy than the Parsifal. Her debut was as sigmond but she made it went on to do some of the heavy heroines such as a solo day in which role she sang a tender and poignant need bestowed. Yeah.
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Yeah yeah. Sure. Was. At season's end rated the most important musical
event is having Caruso and in that order the most important financial occurrence was the $60000 profit shown and can read books. The new manager's second season produced little of really outstanding importance in the season this time in Aida and then continued to amaze audiences as repertory has influence on the company's repertory became evident as 10 operas were given an Italian and only three in French. Generally satisfactory Ring Cycle with Alfred Hertz replacing a model in the pit. Featured Heinrich Conneaut as a new hell than Tana But Con Reed had proved how ineffective he was in locating new talent for Conneaut was the only impressive debut of the entire season. I heard today very outset of the next season. I can read on the Metropolitan had their first encounter with unions the first in a long line of
disputes. This time the trouble was with the chorus aims and Caruso was being paid fifteen hundred dollars each for their performances in the opening night Faust. But the choruses would receive a maximum of two dollars and fourteen cents. They approached Connor Reed and he agreed that this was too little and said that he would negotiate with them individually but not with the union since it hadn't been organized when the original contracts were accepted. But at 6 o'clock on the night of the performance the chorus told couldn't read they wouldn't go on. When the curtain went up there were six members of the chorus on hand who had honored their contracts and Fost was given in the badly truncated version when the difficulties were finally resolved. The chorus members wound up with a staggering $20 a week and a promise of better transportation accommodations on the tours. But the spring tour which ended the 905
season will never be remembered for good accommodations of any sought. The company was playing in San Francisco when the great earthquake and fire erupted. Their entire stock of scenery props and costumes was destroyed and the rest of the Jewel had to be cancelled when the company finally got back to New York. All in one piece. Connery turned a wary eye on the activities of Oscar Hammerstein who had sold his own Manhattan Opera House on Broadway in 34 Street and was building a new theater in the season to come Hammerstein's company provided some stiff competition for Connery aid especially since his roster boasted such popular artist says Calvin a Nellie Melba Mody Serrano and Shiloh Gilles are bad. How much study and had even planned to have his opening night to coincide with the minutes but this plot was thwarted by some last minute delays in the completion of his new theatre.
The 906 season was the single exception to the rule of Caruso opening nights. On this occasion the opera was Romeo and Juliet and it was the vehicle for the debut of Geraldine Ferraro who would soon become an idol of the Metropolitan. Later in the season she had the privilege of singing Jo-Jo san in the metropolitan premiere of Madame Butterfly an event on and by the president himself hear from a recording made only two years later is her interpretation of Billie. Who.
Who. P.s. did resistance fall this year was the premiere.
Unfortunately it developed into a PH disc instead. Tom Reed may have anticipated the objections which would be raised when he made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Strauss to lower his royalty fee. The Premier was given on January 22nd with all the titles the critics reacted favorably to the performance and the musical aspect of the opera. But when it came to the subject matter and its effect on the audience they raised the protests in the next morning. Richard Eaton described the scene in the auditorium after the curtain fell. Many voices were hushed as the crowd passed out into the night. Many women were silent and men spoke as if a bad dream or upon the Caribbean felt that any critic should react to the new work as an embodied conscience stung him to write just pureed by the marl stench with which
salomé fills the nostrils of mankind. Not only were the critics and the general public outraged but so were the stockholders of the Metropolitan Opera and real estate companies. Ever since 1892 JP Morgan had been one of the major decision makers on the Mets board of directors and they frequently determined artistic as well as financial policy. This is quite incredible when one learns of his musical taste. Herbert Satterlee wrote that Morgan's interest in music was confined to the old familiar romantic tuneful opera as his special favorite was intro because he always went when it was given and was very discriminating as to how the different numbers were sung. In later years he generally would not go to the opera except on opening night off for some gala performance. When he had to go he often took naps in the back of the box. Apparently Morgan hadn't been napping during salomé
because it was he who summoned a meeting of the board of directors at the Morgan Library on January 20 7th when it was over can read was given a resolution which decreed that salomé was objectionable and detrimental to the best interests of the Metropolitan Opera House. After several abortive attempts to salvage the opera Konrad was forced to drop it from the repertoire proving once again that you can't fight Wall Street. Another premier of that season which might also have been considered Marly dubious was put on all the Esko. No objections were raised however perhaps of the composer's attendance at the performance and the opera immediately took its place in the repertory. Also noteworthy this year were the only performances of damnation that were ever given to the house. The debut of the new it
was described as his first appearance. He later became a highly respected artist of the school during a brief tenure at the Metropolitan. He delivered some performances of this when he was 55. I.
All in all this had been a really trying season for Con read to begin with. He was a very sick man being plagued by psychotic neuritis. It was so bad in fact that he was seldom seen at the opera house during the first weeks of the season. Needless to say the complications which resulted from the salomé fiasco aggravated the ailment and by the end of the year he was close to having a complete breakdown. To make things still worse con Reed was naked all through the season by the large audiences being drawn to Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan opera that impresario had made it publicly known at the very outset that his original intention had been to create opera for the masses. But that New York standards were too high for this to be offered at low prices so he would now concentrate on the best and the greatest in a large
degree he succeeded and at the end of the year he announced that his box office had grossed seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars with a profit of 100000 more than that. He claimed an advent subscription totaling $200000 for the next season. Even if these figures were somewhat exaggerated it still couldn't be denied that Hammerstein had been successful and that his success certainly wasn't going to be of any advantage to the company performing at Broadway and 31st can read was even held responsible for much of Hammerstein's good fortune because he had passed up the opportunity of engaging some of the singers who had been stepped up by the Manhattan opera. The next season was to bring no relief none for can read so I Atika and none from Hammerstein There was also to be more artistic controversy this time as the result of a new Russian bustle. If you all don't shut the up and next
week we'll be talking with Shall Jaap and his daughter Tanya children off who has a lot to tell us about her father stormy metropolitan career. Until then this is Milton Cross on behalf of Myles custom Deek hoping that you'll be with us. Boston University Radio has presented Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1883 to 966 the series is created and produced by Richard Calhoun a grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of these programs for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966
1903 Through 1907
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
1903 -1907. The Conried Regime. The controversial Parsifal premiere and the scandalous Salome first night. Early influence of J.P. Morgan. Features Geraldine Farrar, Olive Fremstad, Otto Goritz.
Series Description
Documentary series on history of the Metropolitan Opera Company ("The Met") in its original home at Broadway and 39th Street in New York. "The Met" closed its old location on April 16, 1966. Series includes interviews and rare recordings of noted performers.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Media type
Host: Cross, Milton, 1897-1975
Host: Kastendieck, Miles
Performer: Fremstad, Olive, -1951
Performer: Farrar, Geraldine, 1882-1967
Performer: Goritz, Otto, 1873-1929
Producer: Calhoun, Richard
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-41-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1903 Through 1907,” 1966-10-11, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 29, 2024,
MLA: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1903 Through 1907.” 1966-10-11. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1903 Through 1907. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from