New York City is a hot destination during the holidays, and for good reason. Shopping and looking at the windows at Macy’s in Herald Square, ice skating at Bryant Park, visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center… there’s no shortage of activities that bring the holiday cheer. Another fantastic spot to enjoy the holidays is at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera is a vibrant home for the most revered and talented singers, conductors, composers, musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world. It’s a must to visit all year round, but you would be remiss not to make them part of your holiday plans. They have a fantastic lineup that everyone can enjoy, from opera aficionados to first-timers.
The Magic Flute
The star of the holidays at the Met is The Magic Flute, and this year they have more performances than in previous years. Directed by Tony Award® winner Julie Taymor (The Lion King), this holiday version is edited down to just over 90 minutes to make it accessible for families, and it’s sung in English. A sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism, The Magic Flute was written for a theatre located just outside Vienna with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity, an excellent structure for navigating the diverse moods, ranging from solemn to lighthearted, of the story and score.
Winter is stocked full of operas that are perfect for everyone, especially if it is your first time visiting the Met. A pair of Puccini operas—La Boheme and Madama Butterfly—epitomize the type of grand, spectacular opera productions the Met is known for. La Boheme is a classic that has inspired countless other works—perhaps most notably the groundbreaking musical Rent. Following a group of artists living in 1830s Paris, and centering the love story of a poor poet and an ailing seamstress, La Boheme lives up to its name; it is a celebration of love and creation in the face of poverty. Madama Butterfly is another classic opera that served as the inspiration for a famous musical (in this case Miss Saigon) Madama Butterfly tells the story of a beautiful geisha, Cio-Cio San, who falls in love with an American naval officer. This sweeping and visually stunning production is a perennial audience favorite at the Met.
If you’re looking for something to do other than watch the ball drop in Times Square, then there is a new production of Bizet's masterpiece Carmen, which opens on New Year's Eve. Acclaimed English director Carrie Cracknell makes her Met debut, reinvigorating the classic story with a staging that moves the action to the modern day and finds at the heart of the drama issues that could not be more relevant today.
These are just some of our suggestions to make your holidays a little merrier, but you can also check out everything thing the Met has to offer (and book your tickets) by checking out their complete 2023/2024 season here.