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Metropolitan Opera House: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1883, the Metropolitan Opera House opened, but due to a fire had to be rebuilt and reopened in 1893. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Metropolitan Opera House" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The Metropolitan Opera House." July 5, 1908. New-York Tribune (New York, NY), Image 42. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens on October 22, 1883 with a performance of Gounod's "Faust." The Metropolitan Opera Company is only able to perform for nine seasons before a fire destroys the building in August of 1892. Now known as "the Old Met," the building at 39th and Broadway was rebuilt and reopened in 1893, where the Metropolitan Opera Company performed for the next 73 years. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


April 1880 The Metropolitan Opera Company is founded by a group of wealthy industrialists and prominent families.
October 22, 1883 The Metropolitan Opera House, located on Broadway and 39th Street, opens its doors. Henry E. Abbey serves as manager for the inaugural season, which opened with a performance of Gounod’s Faust starring the Swedish soprano Christine Nilsson.
August 1892 A fire destroys much of the interior of the Opera House, forcing it to close until November of the following year.
November 1903 Under Heinrich Conried’s direction, the Opera House undergoes significant renovation. This is the last major renovation completed under the management of the Metropolitan Opera and Real Estate Company.