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19 wondrous opera houses

By: Angela Nelson on Aug. 18, 2016, 6:42 a.m.
Lincoln Center in New York City

Photo: Robert Mintzes/Wikimedia Commons

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Lincoln Center in New York City

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA), a 16-acre campus in New York City, is home to the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, a library and two theaters. With the Julliard School and the School of American Ballet as residents, America's leading opera house is also a center for arts innovation and education.

In 1955, city planner Robert Moses got the green light to designate Lincoln Center for urban renewal. In 1956, John D. Rockefeller III was named its first president (and then chairman of the board), and in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground on the $184.5 million project. Various buildings on the complex opened to the public throughout the 1960s, including Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher Hall) in 1962 and the Metropolitan Opera House (aka The Met) in 1965.

In the mid-2000s, a "comprehensive reconstruction, renovation and modernization" of LCPA began, and it finished in October 2012 with a final price tag of $1.2 billion, according to the theater's website. At night the opera house is especially gorgeous. As Fodor's Travel reports, "The Met's enormous arched windows bathe the interior in light and reveal monumental Chagall paintings, which can be seen from Lincoln Center Plaza and Columbus Avenue."