Faces of the Met

Photography by Zenith Richards

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2021–22 season was historic. After an 18-month, pandemic-forced closure, the company came roaring back with an artistically ambitious lineup and a new safety program to ensure the health of audiences, artists, and staff. While other performing arts organizations and Broadway shows had to repeatedly go dark as Covid-19 variants arose, the Met never missed a performance.

This success is due largely to the steadfastness, hard work, and prowess of the Met’s staff. A popular quotation, falsely attributed to Winston Churchill but nevertheless apt, states that “the only endeavor more complicated than grand opera is war;” in 2021–22, the Met’s forces were up for the battle.

Over two days during the 2021–22 season, photographer Zenith Richards roamed throughout the opera house capturing images of Met artists, artisans, designers, craftspeople, front-of-house staff, and administrators. The collection of photographs displayed here in Founders Hall pays tribute to these faces of the Met, the people whose work supports the star singers and who make possible the onstage alchemy that occurs every night.

Organized by Matt Dobkin, Karin Satrom, and Jonathan Tichler
Design by Jillian Morris
Archives contribution by Peter Clark and John Tomasicchio
Production by Jackson Talley




FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images2.jpgAssistant Head of Makeup Marian Torre transforms soprano Erin Morley into Gilda for a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images3.jpgMakeup artist Heath Bryant-Huppert prepares soprano Golda Schultz for a performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.




Before each performance, a team of porters prepares the front of house for the arrival of audiences, including clearing away the golden gates.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images5.jpgJoshua Marshall

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images6.jpgLeft to right: Claude Quick, Chris Delutri, Neal Cox, Tishawn Green, and Joshua Marshall


Stage Directors and Stage Managers

The Met’s staff stage directors work with visiting directors to help stage new productions and often then take the lead when productions are revived. Depending on the needs of a production, a team of three-to-seven stage managers calls every cue and oversees every detail during a performance.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images7.jpgStage director Gina Lapinski works on blocking with soprano Chanáe Curtis, a last-minute replacement as Countess Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto, just before curtain.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images8.jpgProduction Stage Manager Terry Ganley and director Kathleen Smith Belcher confer before a performance of Rigoletto.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images9.jpgFrom left: Stage managers Yasmine Kiss, Margo Maier-Moul, Cristobel Langan, John Coleman, Scott Moon, Terry Ganley, Connie Grubs, and Hester Warren-Steijn

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images10.jpgFrom left: Stage directors Paula Suozzi, Kathleen Smith Belcher, Dan Rigazzi, Gina Lapinski, J. Knighten Smit, Jonathan Loy, and Sarah Ina Meyers

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images11.jpgStage manager John Coleman delivers a pre-curtain mask announcement.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images12.jpgColeman and Maier-Moul at the stage manager’s console


Front-of-House Staff

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images13.jpgUshers Nick Tarnev and Peter Briger prepare to welcome audiences into the auditorium.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images14.jpgTicket taker Carmela Palumbo scans tickets as audiences enter the house.


The Met Chorus

The Met currently employs 74 full-time choristers, with an additional 60-plus extra choristers also appearing on stage over the course of a season.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images15.jpgThe chorus in List Hall, where they rehearse

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images16.jpgChorus Master Donald Palumbo leads a rehearsal in List Hall, with Associate Chorus Master David Moody at the piano.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images17.jpgBass Rick Pearson leaving the stage during a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images18.jpgTenor Sal Rosselli prepares for the curtain to rise on the same Rigoletto performance.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images19.jpgMaestro Palumbo and his artists in List Hall

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images20.jpgA sign-in sheet by the Met stage door


The Box Office

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images21.jpgLeft to right: Box-office staff members Elizabeth Edell, Ovidio Esquivel, Carlos Morris, James Maguire, Keith Narkon, and Carol Kenary

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images22.jpgNarkon behind the box-office window

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images23.jpgTickets ready for dispersal


The Wig Shop

The Met employs seven full-time wig makers and stylists, who put more than 1,000 wigs on stage each season.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images24.jpgAssistant Head of Wigs Riyo Mitsui at work hand threading a new wig

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images25.jpgLeft to right: Alexandra O’Reilly, Susanna Knowles, Head of Wigs and Makeup Tera Willis, Jonathan Amaro, Riyo Mitsui, Taylor Thiede, and Mannie Jacobo

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images26.jpgAmaro working on a new wig

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images27.jpgIn the wig shop

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images28.jpgTosca hairstyles, ready for the stage


The Costume Shop

The Met’s Costume Shop, which employs drapers, seamstresses, cobblers, and milliners, among other artisans, possesses an unparalleled level of skill and craftsmanship.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images29.jpgJonny Naberezny

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images30.jpgBruce Manilla

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images31.jpgLeft to right: Associate Costume Head Robert Bulla, Borhan Ahmed, Alexandra Endres, Heather Lesieur, and Timothy Church

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images32.jpgInside the Costume Shop

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images33.jpgMeg Weedon

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images34.jpgJanet Linville at work on a hat

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images35.jpgIrina Hovsepyan

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images36.jpgAmy Miller

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images37.jpgCutting fabric


The Mailroom

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images38.jpgLeft to right: Office Services Manager Ed Florencio, Jordan Thornton, and John Bernard

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images39.jpgBernard in the mailroom


The Met Orchestra

With nearly 150 exceptional regular and associate musicians, the Met Orchestra is the glory of the opera world.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images40.jpgPrincipal Second Violinist Jeremías Sergiani-Velázquez

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images41.jpgIn the orchestra pit tuning for a performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images42.jpgLeft: Violinist Yang Xu performs as part of the stage band for Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Right: Principal oboist Elaine Douvas

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images43.jpgHorn player Hugo Valverde

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images44.jpgBassoonist Mark Romatz

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images45.jpgClarinetist Jessica Phillips

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images46.jpgPrincipal timpanist Parker Lee


The Met: Live in HD

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images47.jpgLive in HD director Gary Halvorson, in black mask, has directed more than 100 of the Met’s movie-theater transmissions; he is seen here with Score Consultant Nathan Brandwein.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images48.jpgMet Media Associate Yolanda Williams

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images49.jpgThe Live in HD camera crew reviews shots in the Media conference room.


The Children’s Chorus

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images50.jpgChildren’s Chorus Director Anthony Piccolo puts his young charges through their paces.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images51.jpgChildren’s chorus costumes for Act I of Puccini’s Tosca



The Met employs a staff of nearly 80 regular and extra dressers and wardrobe staff to prepare costumes before curtain, manage quick changes, and generally keep star divas sane.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images52.jpgPrincipal Women Wardrobe Supervisor Suzi Gomez-Pizzo presets costume elements before a performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images53.jpgLeft to right: Dressers Juan Ibarra, Nancy Phillips, Jeffrey Colton, Keturah Thorpe, Principal Men Wardrobe Supervisor Louis Valantasis, and Angie Finn in the principal artists’ dressing-room area

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images54.jpgDresser Asako Nagasaki heads to the stage.




There are nine Met staff performers who appear in multiple stagings each season, as well as an additional 200 or so non-singing actors who join their ranks, depending on the needs of a production. These photos are all taken on stage, behind the curtain, just before the start of a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images56.jpgLeft: Darnell Wickham
Right: Niara Hardister

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images57.jpgAnne Dyas, Niara Hardister, and Snezhana Chernova

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images58.jpgChris Dumont, Darnell Wickham, and Collin Ware, in the midst of a fight rehearsal

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images59.jpgChristian Rozakis and Melanie Sierra

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images60.jpgSnezhana Chernova, Thomas Bradfield, Katya Preiser, and Hsin-Ping Chang


Music Staff

The Met’s staff of about 40 assistant conductors act as rehearsal pianists, vocal coaches, and prompters, sometimes taking the podium to lead performances.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images61.jpgAssistant conductors Howard Watkins and Patrick Furrer compare notes during a rehearsal for Verdi’s Don Carlos.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images62.jpgCarol Isaac prepares to enter the prompter’s box from the center of the orchestra pit.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images63.jpgLeft to right: Music staffers Patrick Furrer, Bryan Wagorn, Carol Isaac, Derrick Inouye, and Israel Gursky


Stage Crew

The Met’s team of stagehands and construction crew are the best in the business.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images64.jpgTravis Lee, Nick Spadaccini, and Kirk Broomfield

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images65.jpgLeft to right: Travis Lee, Nick Spadaccini, Kirk Broomfield, John Kennedy, Daniel Diaz, and Doug Guido, just outside the stage-left wings

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images66.jpgPreparing the Rigoletto turntable

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images67.jpgThe Sound department’s Kevin Cavanagh

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images68.jpgFurther prep of the Rigoletto set

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images69.jpgPushing Rigoletto Act I, Scene 2 into position

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images70.jpgMaster Carpenter Chris Urciuoli and Construction Shop Head Robbie Weisz



FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images71.jpgLongtime security guards Miguel Torres and Avo Asencio

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images72.jpgJesse Guadalupe at the stage-door entrance



The Met’s Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcasts are the longest-running classical series in American broadcast history. The company also maintains a round-the-clock channel, Metropolitan Opera Radio, on SiriusXM.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images73.jpgDebra Lew Harder, pictured in the radio booth, is the fifth radio host in Met history.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images74.jpgLeft to right: Grammy Award–winners John Kerswell and David Frost live produce each broadcast.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images75.jpgLeft to right: The broadcast team in the radio control room: Engineer Ed Hartley, Host Debra Lew Harder, Senior Radio Producer Ellen Keel, Associate Producer Natalie Renfro, Writer/Producer William Berger, and Radio Show Producer John Bischoff

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images76.jpgThe Sound department’s Chris Snook, mid-broadcast


Scenic Design

Staff Scenic Designer David Peterson creates small-scale models of the sets for all new productions.FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images77.jpgFacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images78.jpg



Scenic and Construction Shops

The Scenic and Construction Shops, on the second floor of the opera house, are where many of the sets, props, and other production elements are created and built.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images80.jpgLino Guglielmo changes light bulbs.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images81.jpgJim Simpson in the Scenic Shop

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images82.jpgLeft: Chris Bertholf makes a prop hand for Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Right: Paint

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images83.jpgScenic artist Kay Bloss treats costumes for the Met premiere of Kevin Puts’s The Hours.

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images84.jpgPainted costumes for the chorus in The Hours

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images85.jpgMatt Coviello at work in the Construction Shop

FacesoftheMet_Sep22_Images86.jpgA work station in the Scenic Shop