It is a season of momentous anniversaries for the Metropolitan Opera Guild: the Guild began the season-long celebration of its 75th anniversary this fall; as publisher of Opera News, the Guild celebrates the magazine’s own diamond anniversary in 2011; and the January issue of Opera News marks the 40th anniversary of James Levine’s Metropolitan Opera debut (which was June 5, 1971, conducting Tosca). The cover feature sees Scott Rose take on the difficult task of choosing 40 highlights from Levine’s 40 storied years at the Met.
The Guild enjoyed its own starry tribute in December, when its annual luncheon saw the organization itself take center stage for its 75th anniversary. The annual luncheon has been a highlight of the opera season for decades, as an unparalleled community gathering that brings top artists and passionate opera fans together to celebrate leaders in the art form. December’s luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria’s Grand Ballroom had spoken and sung tributes to the Guild by Susan Graham, Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, Nathan Gunn, Brandon Jovanovich, Susanna Phillips, and the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb. Several of these cited the Guild’s remarkable achievements in fund-raising (more than a quarter of a billion dollars for the Met Opera in its 75 years), education, audience development, and the publication of the prize-winning Opera News – founded in 1936 and now the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera.