Live from the Metropolitan Opera
January 5, 1985 Title Screen of Live from the Met.
Also known asLive from the Met (1977-1987), The Metropolitan Opera Presents (1988-2003)
Presented byPeter Allen (narrator)
Tony Randall, Speight Jenkins, Alexander Scourby, Joanne Woodward, F. Murray Abraham, or Garrick Utley (various hosts)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons27
No. of episodes95
Production companiesMetropolitan Opera
Original release
Release1977 (1977) –
2003 (2003)

Live from the Metropolitan Opera (or as it was commonly known as: Live from the Met) (from 1977-1987) later renamed The Metropolitan Opera Presents (from 1988-2003) was an American television program that presented performances of complete operas from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network.

The program began in 1977 and was telecast live for its first few seasons. The first telecast, Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème, featured Luciano Pavarotti as Rodolfo and Renata Scotto as Mimì, with James Levine conducting (all three were interviewed during intermission), and Tony Randall as the host.

Celebrated singers featured on Live from the Met included Plácido Domingo (who performed in Manon Lescaut, Turandot, Tosca, Francesca da Rimini, and others), Luciano Pavarotti (in La Boheme, L'Elisir d'Amore, Ernani, Idomeneo, and others), Renata Scotto (in Manon Lescaut, Francesca da Rimini, and Il Trittico), Leontyne Price (in Aida, La Forza del Destino), Jose Carreras (in La Boheme and Bizet's Carmen), Samuel Ramey (in Carmen and others), Eva Marton (in Turandot and others), Leona Mitchell (in Ernani, Carmen, Turandot), Kathleen Battle (in Le Nozze di Figaro, L'Elisir d'Amore and others), Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, and Renee Fleming.

Conductors who were featured alongside Levine were: Jeffrey Tate, Nicola Rescigno, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Charles Dutoit. During the intermissions of its live broadcasts, the program offered interviews and other features on opera topics; these segments were often up to a half-hour.

During the first few years, when the various operatic performances were distributed on video cassette and even Laserdisc, Pioneer Corporation helped sponsor the program, alongside long-time sponsors: The National Endowment for the Arts, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Texaco.

Giuseppe Verdi and his operas were the most frequently performed on the program, with his creations Aida, Don Carlo, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, and Un Ballo in Maschera being performed in two separate performances a piece, while Otello, was performed thrice (albeit seasons apart). In contrast, Georges Bizet's Carmen, Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme, Il Tabbaro, and Tosca, Richard Strauss' Elektra, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore were performed seasons apart on two separate occasions a piece.

Live from the Met functioned as a supplement to the company's regular Saturday Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.[1] During its first fifteen years the program was frequently simulcast, enabling some audiences to hear the opera in stereo via radio as well. Hosts included Tony Randall, Speight Jenkins,[2] Alexander Scourby,[3] Joanne Woodward, F. Murray Abraham, and Garrick Utley. The announcer was Peter Allen.

In 1988 the program title was changed to The Metropolitan Opera Presents to reflect the fact that the performances were now taped prior to broadcast.[4]

The Metropolitan Opera Presents ended its 26-year run in 2003, and was replaced on PBS in 2007 by Great Performances at the Met. Operas aired in this series are repeats of the performances presented live on video in movie theaters in the Met's "Live in HD" series. Not all PBS affiliate stations may carry the program.


  1. ^ John Rockwell (26 November 1989). "The Met on Radio And Its Impact On American Taste". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  2. ^ "Speight Jenkins: My ultimate summer concert". The Seattle Times. 1 September 2002.
  3. ^ Wolfgang Saxon (24 February 1985). "Alexander Scourby, 71, Dies; Actor Famous for His Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  4. ^ John J. O'Connor (2 March 1988). "TV Review; The Met Opera's Tales of Hoffmann". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-16.