13. The Metropolitan Opera Stage is one of the Most Technologically Advanced in the World
View of the Metropolitan Opera stage from the side stage
The Metropolitan Opera house stage is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, measuring 80 feet x 101 feet, featuring seven hydraulically operated elevators. This allows for complex staging and productions, with the possibility to preset scenery and raise it to different levels. There are fifty trap doors on the stage that are used for entrances and exits, and the appearance of props and scenery from below.
Metropolitan Opera house stage. Photo courtesy Metropolitan Opera by Jonathan Tichler.
The rear and side working areas of the stage are equipped with wagons—platforms that can slide onto the main stage, bearing complete sets up to 30 feet high. The rear wagon also features a turntable, 57 feet in diameter, which can make a complete revolution in two minutes while rolling forward. For those that have seen Pelléas and Mélisande, you would have seen this turntable as a primary feature on center stage.
One of the large elevators
One hundred and ten feet above the stage—the equivalent of a ten-story building—the fly system is located. It consists of 109 pipes to “fly,” or hang, curtains, drops and scrims (a mesh-like material used to create transformation effects).
According to the Metropolitan Opera, the main, rear and side stages cover an area six times larger than the old Met opera house on 39th Street and Broadway. At stage level, the backstage is 43,000 square feet. The side stages take up another 20,300 square feet.