Opera in New York

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Maybe the sound of a soprano's vibrato sustaining a a note over a sweeping string passage is something the mind tends to associate to Italy or Salzburg. But Opera lovers have reasons to rejoice if they happen to be in New York. The City has found a way to conjugate a centuries-old genre in the present tense, with modernizations of classical operas and premieres of newly-created ones.

So whether you like to rediscover classics or you prefer being challenged by today's output, New York has something for you.

New York in G Sharp


Antonio Palmo is not very well remembered today. As of this writing, Google offers zero results if you look for him. You only get to hear his story by going to the right establishment and engaging in the right conversation with some of the older Italian immigrants.

Antonio Palmo arrived in Manhattan in the mid-19th century. At 29, this hard-working, good-spirited man opened an Italian restaurant and a pasta store on 307 Broadway. He toiled impressively in both them for two decades.

At 50, once he was rich, Palmo decided to found the first Grand Opera Theater in New York. It was located in Chambers Street. It opened with a Bellini opera. And it closed very shortly afterwards with debts bigger than Palmo's fortune. He had to start over and seek work as a cook.

He didn't give up in his love for music and, whenever he could afford it, he would buy himself standing room tickets at the now-demolished Astor Opera House. When he died, he was living in utter misery. His burial was paid for a group of music lovers. But his story is a testament to the relationship between opera lovers and New York.

Opera Houses in New York

While not a majority, the Big Apple music lovers have a tremendous love for opera and will accept nothing short of the best. That's why there may be only be three opera houses in New York City, but they are known all over the world for providing high-quality (in different ways each) productions all year.

If you are a fan yourself, you will want to check this guide to see what's being performed in these three major houses:

Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

If New York is on the opera map, it is because of the Metropolitan Opera Association.

Bringer of celebrated artists, creator of first-rate productions, owner of one of the best opera theaters in the world (the Metropolitan Opera in the Lincoln Center, known for its magnificent acoustics), it has been providing New Yorkers with nonstop quality opera (as well as foreign buffs with a reason to visit the city) for over a century.

Not only is the Lincoln Center, where the opera house is placed, worth a visit. The programming is worth a look as well.

New York City Opera

New York City Opera

The cultural response to the Metropolitan, this "people's opera" tries to make the genre more accessible by providing cheaper seats.

Which means they have smaller budgets and a smaller revenue, which wound defining the house's signature style of promoting lesser known talents (José Carreras and Renée Fleming among others), and innovative productions.

DiCapo Opera Theater

It's the perfect place for fans of Puccini.

Ever since it opened in 1981, the DiCapo company has had a soft spot for the Madama Butterfly composer, although it is open to at least one modern work per season, as well as classic standards and lesser-known works.