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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Review
This massive white travertine-clad complex contains 23 theaters, as well as the Juilliard School, the New York City Ballet, and the Film Center of Lincoln Center, making it one of the most concentrated places for the performing arts in the nation. Its 16-acre campus was built over the course of several years from 1962 to 1969, on the once gritty urban ground that set the scene for the muscial West Side Story. In August, Lincoln Center's longest-running classical series, the Mostly Mozart Festival (mostlymozart.org), captures the crowds. You can purchase tickets to performances online, by phone, or at the various box offices.
Discounted day-of-show tickets for many Lincoln Center venues may be purchased in person at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between West 62nd and West 63rd streets; there is a limit of four tickets per customer, and the amount of discount depends on the performance. Although the box office there is closed on Monday, they sell any available tickets for Monday performances on Sunday. Box office hours: Tuesday–Saturday noon–7:45; Sunday noon–5:45.
Alice Tully Hall (ï 1941 Broadway, at W. 65th St. ï 212/671–4050) is considered to be as acoustically perfect as a concert hall can get; the hall's primary resident is the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (212/875–5788 www.chambermusicsociety.org). Avery Fisher Hall (ï 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, at W. 64th St. ï 212/875–5030) is home to the New York Philharmonic (ï 212/875–5656 ï nyphil.org); the season is late September to late June. Orchestra rehearsals at 10 am are open to the public on selected weekday mornings (usually Wednesday or Thursday). A popular Young People's Concert series is offered on Saturday afternoon, four times throughout the season.
The largest hall, the Metropolitan Opera House (30 Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbus Ave., between W. 62nd and W. 65th Sts. 212/362–6000), is notable for its dramatic arched entrance as well as its lobby's immense Swarovski crystal chandeliers and Marc Chagall paintings, both of which can be seen from outside later in the day. The titan of American opera companies and an institution since its founding in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera (212/362–6000 www.metfamilyopera.org) brings the world's leading singers to the vast stage here from September to May. An extra perk is that all performances, including those sung in English, are unobtrusively subtitled on small screens on the back of the seat in front of you. Also resident at the Met is the American Ballet Theatre (ABT, 212/477–3030 www.abt.org), renowned for its gorgeous full-program renditions of the 19th-century classics (Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty) with choreography reenvisioned by 20th-century masters. ABT has two New York seasons: eight weeks of performances begin in May here at the Met, and during the holiday season their Nutcracker is staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
The David H. Koch Theater (20 Lincoln Center Plaza, at W. 62nd St. 212/870–5570), may not be as famous as the Met next door, but the New York City Opera (www.nycopera.com) has its own vibrant personality. Founded in 1943, the company is known for its diverse repertory and its soft spot for American composers. City Opera performs October to November and March to April. Supertitles—the opera's libretto, line-by-line—are displayed above the stage. Sharing the Koch is the formidable New York City Ballet (NYCB, www.nycballet.com), with its unmatched repertoire of 20th-century works, predominantly by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins. The company particularly excels at short-form programs. Its fall season starts in September and early October, then returns in late November through December for their beloved annual production of Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Its winter repertory program runs in January and February, and a spring season runs from April into May.
The Lincoln Center Theater complex, home to a rich tradition of plays and musicals, houses the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the intimate Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and, as of 2012, the new rooftop Claire Tow Theater, which has 131 seats and a small outdoor terrace for attendees.
The auditorium of the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. 212/875–5600 www.filmlinc.com) shows film series devoted to "the best in world cinema" that run the gamut from silents and documentaries to retrospectives and recent releases, often on the same theme or from the same country. There are also showings, on periodic Saturdays, of The Met: Live in HD screenings.
The Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center (W. 65th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. www.filmlinc.com) has two small screening rooms, a café, and an ampitheater that hosts lectures and panel discussions.
The David Rubinstein Atrium, on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd streets, is open weekdays 8 am–10 pm and weekends 9 am–10 pm and has free Wi-Fi, tables and lounge nooks, a branch of Tom Colicchios's 'wichcraft café, and that rarest of NYC commodities, a public restroom.
- Address: W. 62nd to W. 66th Sts. from Broadway/Columbus Ave. to Amsterdam Ave., Upper West Side, New York, NY 10023 | Map It
- Phone: 212/875–5000; 212/721–6500 CenterCharge; 212/875–5456 for accessibility information
- Website: www.lincolncenter.org
- Subway: 1 to 66th St./Lincoln Center.
- Location: Upper West Side
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