The House Management department includes ticket takers, box office staff, security guards, cleaning staff, and many more. Our House Manager Jim Naples, former Vice President of Operations for the New York Yankees, and Jenna Reyes, who spent 12 years as an usher at the Met before becoming part of the House Management staff, shared some fascinating information about what goes on in the opera house on the eve of Opening Night. (Did you know that the Met Opera House has 8 roofs?)Jim Naples, House Manager
What happens in the house over the summer when there are no performances?
Jim Naples: There is a relatively short window of about 12 weeks between when the American Ballet Theatre season is over and the opera season begins. So we replace and clean carpets, clean the chandeliers, replace wall coverings, the wood paneling inside the opera house and in the front of house is refinished (which all comes from a single variety of African rosewood–Kevazingo), marble restoration, plus modernizing the elevators and the heating and cooling systems, and many other projects. Plus we are replacing the remaining 5 of the building’s 8 roofs.
And even before the season begins, there are events in the house as well?
Jenna Reyes: Yes there is a MetTalk panel discussion on Monday (one week before opening night) previewing the Eugene Onegin production, then a Young Associates cocktail party on the Grand Tier on Wednesday, an on-stage talk with James Levine for Met Patrons and the open dress rehearsal of Eugene Onegin on Thursday, Saturday there is a closed dress rehearsal for Così fan tutte, plus distributing the tickets to the Opening Night Plazacast on Sunday (Sept. 22). Meanwhile we’re setting up the 3,100 chairs for the Plazacast. So it’s a full week!
How do you manage 4,000 people in the opera house, plus 3,100 people out on the plaza on Opening Night?
Jim Naples: It’s a challenging task. We treat the Plazacast as an extended theater. There is a full staff, including ushers, and great security helping to get people in and out, to the Gala, to the subway, wherever they’re going. In 1979 when I was with the Yankees, we had a full stadium of people there for Papal Mass, and everyone wanted to receive communion–and we figured a way to do so. You’re always faced with challenges in this job. And we’re very lucky to have such good people at the Met. We very much enjoy what we do and we try to be the best we can for this remarkable institution.