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The 55th Annual New York Film Festival: The Opera House, Dir. Susan Froemke, USA, 2017, 108m, World Premiere: Renowned documentarian Susan Froemke takes viewers through the history of the Metropolitan Opera via priceless archival stills, footage, and interviews (with, among many others, the great soprano Leontyne Price). The film follows the development of the glorious institution from its beginnings at the old opera house on 39th Street to the storied reign of Rudolph Bing to the long-gestating move to Lincoln Center, the construction of which traces a fascinating byway through the era of urban renewal and Robert Moses’s transformation of New York. Most of all, though, this is a film about the love for and devotion to the preservation of an art form, and the upkeep of a home where it can live and thrive. This screening will take place at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.
The Metropolitan Opera House, New York is part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; designed by Wallace K. Harrison, construction 1963–1966, and then Met General Manager Rudolf Bing. It opened on September 16, 1966, replacing the original 1883 Metropolitan Opera House at Broadway and 39th Street. The Inaugural presented the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Leontyne Price and Justino Díaz, directed and designed by Franco Zeffirelli, and choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The 1966 Met has a seating capacity of approximately 3,800, the house is the largest repertory opera house in the world.