A group of NYAP interns had an opportunity to get a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera House! Although there were very strict rules on photography backstage, our very kind tour guide took this lovely group picture just before we started. Throughout the tour, we learned about the rich history of the opera, the architecture and founding of the opera house, and the very intricate details of how surtitles are made available to the audience. We also got to see the seamstress room, the scene shop, a rehearsal room, and the dressing rooms! In the seamstress room, we saw a variety of “stand-in” bodies that were being used to build the characters outfits. Our tour guide emphasized that although costumes are made to fit an individual perfectly (meaning it had no zippers or buttons), it must be built to be used for about 25 years! The amount of planning that seamstress’ must take into account before, during, and after building a costume is astounding. One of my favorite parts of the tour was learning about how animals must also audition to be a part of the opera! To be able to be considered, the animal must be able to calmly walk throughout the opera house and must be able to handle itself well on stage. Once selected, the animal is taken back to its shelter and the songs of the opera is repeated until the day of the opera to get them accustomed to the music. We ended the tour in the auditorium leaving us to imagine the possibilities that could be put on the stage. I had no idea what to expect, but it definitely exceeded whatever expectations I had in mind. It really takes a village to put on an opera. Thanks New York Arts Program for this amazing opportunity!
Written by Francesca Moya