The MET Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is regarded as one of the world's finest orchestras.
From the time of the company's inception in 1883, the ensemble has worked with leading
conductors in both opera and concert performances and has developed into an orchestra of
enormous technical polish and style.
The MET Orchestra (as the ensemble is referred to when appearing in concert outside the
opera house) maintains a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals during its
32-week New York season, when the company performs seven times a week in repertory that
normally encompasses approximately 27 operas.
Arturo Toscanini conducted almost 500 performances at the Met, and Gustav Mahler, during
the few years he was in New York, conducted 54 Met performances. More recently, many of the
world's great conductors have led the orchestra: Walter, Beecham, Reiner, Mitropoulos,
Kempe, Szell, Böhm, Solti, Maazel, Bernstein, Mehta, Abbado, Karajan, Dohnányi, Haitink,
Tennstedt, Ozawa, Gergiev, Barenboim, and Muti. Carlos Kleiber's only US opera performances
were with the MET Orchestra.
In addition to its opera schedule, the orchestra has a distinguished history of concert
performances. Toscanini made his American debut as a symphonic conductor with the MET
Orchestra in 1913, and the impressive list of instrumental soloists who appeared with the
orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals,
Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moritz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler.
Since the orchestra resumed symphonic concerts in 1991, instrumental soloists have included
Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Alfred Brendel, and Evgeny Kissin, and the group has
performed five world premieres: Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), Bolcom's Symphony
No. 7 (2002), Shen's Legend (2002), and Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007)
and Time Regained (2009).
The orchestra's high standing led to its first commercial recordings in nearly 20 years:
Wagner's complete Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Recorded by Deutsche
Grammophon over a period of three years, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and
Götterdämmerung were winners of an unprecedented three consecutive Grammy Awards
in 1989, 1990, and 1991 for Best Opera Recording. Other recordings under Maestro Levine
include L'elisir d'amore, Idomeneo, Le nozze di Figaro, Der
fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Erwartung, Manon Lescaut,
and seven Verdi operas. Maestro Levine has also led the orchestra for recordings of Wagner
overtures, Verdi ballet music, an all-Berg disc with Renée Fleming, and aria albums with
Bryn Terfel, Kathleen Battle, and Ms. Fleming. The orchestra's first symphonic recordings
are pairings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Stravinsky's Le
Sacre du printemps; Beethoven's "Eroica" with Schubert's "Unfinished" symphonies; and
Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Tod und Verklärung.
In spring 1991 the orchestra, under the leadership of Maestro Levine, began concert
touring. They have since traveled across the US and to Europe (including their debut at the
Salzburg Festival in 2002), as well as annually to Carnegie Hall. This May, the orchestra
returns to Japan for its sixth tour in 23 years.
Fabio Luisi made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2005 with Don Carlo, and has
subsequently led the company in performances of Die Ägyptische Helena,
SimonBoccanegra, Turandot, Le nozze di Figaro,
Tosca, Lulu, Elektra, Hansel and Gretel,
Rigoletto, Das Rheingold, and Ariadne auf Naxos. He also appears
on tour with the company this June in Japan conducting La bohème, Don
Carlo, and the MET Orchestra in a special concert in Tokyo's Suntory Hall. Appointed
the company's Principal Guest Conductor in fall 2010, he returns next season to lead
performances of La traviata and a new production of Manon.
Mr. Luisi was appointed Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony in 2005, and is also
Music Director of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He was general music
director of the Dresden Staatskapelle and Sächsische Staatsoper from 2007 to 2010, artistic
director of the MDR in Leipzig from 1999 to 2007, music director of the Orchestre de la
Suisse Romande from 1997 to2002, chief conductor of Vienna's Tonkünstlerorchester from 1995
to 2000, and artistic director of the Graz Symphony from 1990 to 1996. He begins his
position as Music Director of the Zurich Opera beginning with the 2012-2013 season.
Maestro Luisi maintains an active schedule of guest engagements with international
orchestras and opera companies. He has appeared with, among others, the Orchestre de Paris,
Bayerischer Rundfunk, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago
Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo's NHK Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia
in Rome, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Additionally, he is a frequent
guest at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Deutsche
Staatsoper Berlin (Unter den Linden). He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival with
Richard Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae in 2002, and returned the following season
for Strauss's DieÄgyptische Helena.
Highlights of the 2010-2011 season include debuts with Barcelona's Liceu Opera, leading
Falstaff; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Aida at the Royal Opera, Covent
Garden; and Cagliari's Teatro Lirico, as well as concerts with the Vienna Symphony in
Vienna and on tour to Salzburg and Graz.
Last season, in addition to concerts in Dresden and tours with the Staatskapelle, Mr.
Luisi toured extensively with the Vienna Symphony in Europe and in Japan. In summer 2010,
he began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo. He also
conducted a new production of Tosca at Munich's Bavarian State Opera, and debuted
with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, and London's