The First Live Opera Transmission


        Radio on FacebookJoin us on Facebook

Sign Off, Feb 2010

Jan. 12, 2010, was the 100th anniversary of the first live transmission of opera via radio. On that date, Acts II and III of “Tosca” were sent by a transmitter at the Met, via an antenna strung between two masts on the roof, to a handful of receiving stations in the New York area. The New York Times accurately reported, “This will only be an experiment and perfect results are not expected immediately.” Those singing or talking into a microphone offstage were heard much better than those singing on the stage. There was even shipboard reception, on a vessel docked at a Manhattan pier. As for the peaks and valleys, The Times had estimated a radius of perhaps 50 miles, given the low height of the opera-house roof.

Oscar Hammerstein, whose Manhattan Opera House competed with the Met, installed a wireless station in his new London Opera House the next year. But it wasn't for broadcasting; it was for selling tickets to “passengers in the great liners 500 miles out at sea,” according to The Times.

Although we don't have a photo of this momentous first broadcast of live opera, we did acquire one from the 1930s. In 1931, the Met began its live network opera broadcasts, which continue to this day, said to be the longest-running series of live broadcasts.

Announcer Milton Cross broadcasting from the anteroom of a box at the old Metropolitan Opera House in the 1930s.

Announcer Milton Cross broadcasting from the anteroom of a box at the old Metropolitan Opera House in the 1930s.

Information courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.




Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in Radio History

Milestones From Radio's Past

The history of radio broadcasting extends beyond the work of a few famous inventors.

EAS Information More on EAS

NWS XML/Atom Feed for CAP Messages

The feed provides feeds for all US states and territories.

Wallpaper Calendar

Radio 2014 Calendar Wallpaper

Need a calendar for your computer desktop? Use one of ours.

The Wire

A virtual press conference

Information from manufacturers and associations about industry news, products, technology and business announcements.

Join Us Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn
Radio magazine cover

Current Issue

KBEM-FM: Revitalizing a Station, Reviving a School

Minneapolis Public Schools upgrades their aging equipment with new Audio over IP technology

Browse Back Issues

[an error occurred while processing this directive]