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How The Met’s new music director is reintroducing opera to New York and beyond

How The Met’s new music director is reintroducing opera to New York and beyond
[Photo illustration: Daisy Korpics; Jonathan Tichler/Met Opera (Nézet-Séguin); gbrundin/Getty Images (music)]


Yannick Nézet-Séguin‘s first task upon arriving at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in September 2018 was figuring out how to make the 135-year-old institution culturally relevant—and thereby stabilize ticket sales—without isolating its most loyal fans. “We have to undo decades of thinking that this is an art form only for the initiated,” the conductor says. To this end, he’s begun inviting high school music students to attend orchestra rehearsals and be mentored by musicians, both to acquaint a new generation with the institution and to help the Met’s staff “stay in touch with what young people’s preoccupations and aspirations are.” (He’s planning similar programs for costume and set design.) He’s commissioned two operas by women—a milestone in the Met’s history—and adaptations of modern novels by Michael Chabon and George Saunders. And while part of the Met’s appeal is the experience of going to the fabled Lincoln Center, that can be intimidating for newcomers. The Met will also hold pared-down performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Central Park, and locations beyond New York in upcoming seasons.

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