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
Assistant Head of Makeup Marian Torre transforms soprano Erin Morley into Gilda for a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Makeup 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.
Left 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.
Stage director Gina Lapinski works on blocking with soprano Chanáe Curtis, a last-minute replacement as Countess Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto, just before curtain.
Production Stage Manager Terry Ganley and director Kathleen Smith Belcher confer before a performance of Rigoletto.
From left: Stage managers Yasmine Kiss, Margo Maier-Moul, Cristobel Langan, John Coleman, Scott Moon, Terry Ganley, Connie Grubs, and Hester Warren-Steijn
From left: Stage directors Paula Suozzi, Kathleen Smith Belcher, Dan Rigazzi, Gina Lapinski, J. Knighten Smit, Jonathan Loy, and Sarah Ina Meyers
Stage manager John Coleman delivers a pre-curtain mask announcement.
Coleman and Maier-Moul at the stage manager’s console
Ushers Nick Tarnev and Peter Briger prepare to welcome audiences into the auditorium.
Ticket 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.
The chorus in List Hall, where they rehearse
Chorus Master Donald Palumbo leads a rehearsal in List Hall, with Associate Chorus Master David Moody at the piano.
Bass Rick Pearson leaving the stage during a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto
Tenor Sal Rosselli prepares for the curtain to rise on the same Rigoletto performance.
Maestro Palumbo and his artists in List Hall
A sign-in sheet by the Met stage door
The Box Office
Left to right: Box-office staff members Elizabeth Edell, Ovidio Esquivel, Carlos Morris, James Maguire, Keith Narkon, and Carol Kenary
Narkon behind the box-office window
Tickets 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.
Assistant Head of Wigs Riyo Mitsui at work hand threading a new wig
Left to right: Alexandra O’Reilly, Susanna Knowles, Head of Wigs and Makeup Tera Willis, Jonathan Amaro, Riyo Mitsui, Taylor Thiede, and Mannie Jacobo
Amaro working on a new wig
In the wig shop
Tosca 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.
Left to right: Associate Costume Head Robert Bulla, Borhan Ahmed, Alexandra Endres, Heather Lesieur, and Timothy Church
Inside the Costume Shop
Janet Linville at work on a hat
Left to right: Office Services Manager Ed Florencio, Jordan Thornton, and John Bernard
Bernard in the mailroom
The Met Orchestra
With nearly 150 exceptional regular and associate musicians, the Met Orchestra is the glory of the opera world.
Principal Second Violinist Jeremías Sergiani-Velázquez
In the orchestra pit tuning for a performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Left: Violinist Yang Xu performs as part of the stage band for Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Right: Principal oboist Elaine Douvas
Horn player Hugo Valverde
Bassoonist Mark Romatz
Clarinetist Jessica Phillips
Principal timpanist Parker Lee
The Met: Live in HD
Live 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.
Met Media Associate Yolanda Williams
The Live in HD camera crew reviews shots in the Media conference room.
The Children’s Chorus
Children’s Chorus Director Anthony Piccolo puts his young charges through their paces.
Children’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.
Principal Women Wardrobe Supervisor Suzi Gomez-Pizzo presets costume elements before a performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
Left 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
Dresser 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.
Left: Darnell Wickham
Right: Niara Hardister
Anne Dyas, Niara Hardister, and Snezhana Chernova
Chris Dumont, Darnell Wickham, and Collin Ware, in the midst of a fight rehearsal
Christian Rozakis and Melanie Sierra
Snezhana Chernova, Thomas Bradfield, Katya Preiser, and Hsin-Ping Chang
The Met’s staff of about 40 assistant conductors act as rehearsal pianists, vocal coaches, and prompters, sometimes taking the podium to lead performances.
Assistant conductors Howard Watkins and Patrick Furrer compare notes during a rehearsal for Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Carol Isaac prepares to enter the prompter’s box from the center of the orchestra pit.
Left to right: Music staffers Patrick Furrer, Bryan Wagorn, Carol Isaac, Derrick Inouye, and Israel Gursky
The Met’s team of stagehands and construction crew are the best in the business.
Travis Lee, Nick Spadaccini, and Kirk Broomfield
Left to right: Travis Lee, Nick Spadaccini, Kirk Broomfield, John Kennedy, Daniel Diaz, and Doug Guido, just outside the stage-left wings
Preparing the Rigoletto turntable
The Sound department’s Kevin Cavanagh
Further prep of the Rigoletto set
Pushing Rigoletto Act I, Scene 2 into position
Master Carpenter Chris Urciuoli and Construction Shop Head Robbie Weisz
Longtime security guards Miguel Torres and Avo Asencio
Jesse 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.
Debra Lew Harder, pictured in the radio booth, is the fifth radio host in Met history.
Left to right: Grammy Award–winners John Kerswell and David Frost live produce each broadcast.
Left 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
The Sound department’s Chris Snook, mid-broadcast
Staff Scenic Designer David Peterson creates small-scale models of the sets for all new productions.
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.
Lino Guglielmo changes light bulbs.
Jim Simpson in the Scenic Shop
Left: Chris Bertholf makes a prop hand for Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Scenic artist Kay Bloss treats costumes for the Met premiere of Kevin Puts’s The Hours.
Painted costumes for the chorus in The Hours
Matt Coviello at work in the Construction Shop
A work station in the Scenic Shop