A Photograph, A History: "Metropolitan Opera House New York"

Metropolitan Opera House New York
"A full room, seen from the back of the stage, at the Metropolitan (New York) Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, November 28, 1937." Vintage Collection

Photograph Metropolitan Opera House New York

National Archives and Records Administration

This photograph represents the Metropolitan Opera House in 1937.

ArtPhotoLimited : Josef Hofmann performs for a sold-out performance.

   We are November 28, 1937 in New York. Renowned pianist and virtuoso Josef Hofmann performs at the Metropolitan Opera House on the 50th anniversary of his debut against a crowded hall. Josef Hofmann is best known for his brilliant interpretations of the Romantic repertoire, distinguished by his prodigious memory and his noble and poetic playing. Adept in the works of Beethoven, Chopin, Schuman, and Liszt, he is currently performing on G. Minor Prelude by Rachmaninoff. The middle section is particularly remarkable, with a melodic subject that seems to float above rest of the music. Rachmaninoff had also dedicated his third Piano Concerto to Hofmann, who never played it.

  Josef Hofmann is one of the first professional musicians to record his music: he made several cylinders in 1887. After his death in 1957, there will be several studio etchings and radio recordings. He has composed a hundred works, often published under the pseudonym of Michel Dvorsky, including several symphonies, five piano concertos and pieces for solo piano.

   A fire ravaged the building.

     The first building of the Metropolitan Opera House was designed by J. Cleaveland Cady, the architect of part of the New York Museum of Natural History and inaugurated on October 22, 1883. Located between 39th and 45th Avenue along Broadway, it had a capacity of 3,625 seats and 224 standing positions. Ravaged by a fire in 1892, the building was restored before being razed in 1967, unable to obtain the status of historical monument.

Lincoln Center's new Metropolitan Opera House, designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison, opened September 16, 1966 with Samuel Barber's world premiere of Antoine and Cleopatra. The building is considered a deployment of sizes and finesse. The curtain of the main hall is also the largest curtain in the world and the room is now able to accommodate thousands of people.


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