The Metropolitan Opera, commonly referred to as "the Met", is a company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. The music director is James Levine. It was founded in 1880 as an alternative to the previously established Academy of Music opera house.
The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America. It presents about 27 different operas each year in a season which lasts from late September through May. The operas are presented in a rotating repertory schedule with up to seven performances of four different works staged each week. Performances are given in the evening Monday through Saturday with a matinée on Saturday. Several operas are presented in new productions each season. Sometimes these are borrowed from or shared with other opera houses. The rest of the year's operas are given in revivals of productions from previous seasons. The 2012-13 season comprised 209 performances of 28 operas.
The operas in the Met's repertoire consist of a wide range of works, from 18th-century Baroque and 19th-century Bel canto to the Minimalism of the late 20th century. These operas are presented in staged productions that range in style from those with elaborate traditional decors to others that feature modern conceptual designs.
The Met's performing company consists of a large symphony-sized orchestra, a chorus, children's choir, and many supporting and leading solo singers. The company also employs numerous free-lance dancers, actors, musicians and other performers throughout the season. The Met's roster of singers includes both international and American artists, some of whose careers have been developed through the Met's young artists programs. While many singers appear periodically as guests with the company, others, such as Renée Fleming and Plácido Domingo, have long maintained a close association with the Met, appearing many times each season.