Differences Between the City Opera & the Metropolitan Opera

Opera houses come in many shapes and sizes and are located around the world. Newcomers to opera may be confused by the difference between several types of opera houses. However, learning the difference between a city and metropolitan opera house is actually quite easy.


Opera is a dramatic event that brings together several art forms.

Opera is a dramatic event that involves singers, composers, choirs, orchestras and librettists. These elements come together in one of the highest musical and dramatic accomplishments in Western art and music. Operas are usually showcased in specially built opera houses, although many universities will offer performances to the public at local campus performing arts centers.

City Opera

City operas are local opera houses specific to a city.

City operas are home to local opera companies run by smaller organizations. These opera houses may gain national attention, but a particular city can claim ownership. The San Francisco Opera, located in California, is one example of a city opera.

Metropolitan Opera

The Met is the oldest opera house in the United States.

The Metropolitan Opera, commonly referred to as "The Met,” is located at Lincoln Center in New York City, N.Y. There is only one Metropolitan Opera. Founded in 1887, the Metropolitan Opera is the oldest Opera house in the United States.


Local opera houses share many similarities with the Metropolitan Opera.

The difference between these two types of opera houses is primarily the level of prestige and location. City opera houses can crop up in any city that has the local support and interest in an opera house. There are many cities with opera houses, including San Francisco and Phoenix, Az. The Metropolitan Opera is the only one of it is kind and exists only in New York.


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