OPERA NEWS, currently the largest-circulation classical-music magazine in North America, began publication in May 1936. It is the only magazine in the U.S. that covers opera nationally every month. Editorial content includes profiles of up-and-coming singers as well as established artists of the present and past; features on the art form’s history, as well as new works and productions; performance, CD and DVD reviews; and opinion pieces on the current opera scene.
OPERANEWS.COM, the magazine’s web presence from 1993, regularly includes online-exclusive features, Q&As, audio surveys, blogs, photo galleries, recording excerpts and reviews of performances, CDs and DVDs.
OPERA NEWS was started as a newsletter published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild for its members. As of the first official issue, in December 1936, circulation stood at 2,239 — the charter membership of the Guild itself, which had been founded in 1935. Most of the first readers of OPERA NEWS — as it was known by the 1936–37 season — were located in the NY metropolitan area. Circulation now stands at 101,000, and our readership is international.
OPERA NEWS’s first editor was Mary Ellis Peltz, who remained at the top of the masthead until 1957, when she was succeeded by Frank Merkling, who served in the position until 1974. Subsequent editors have included Robert Jacobson, Patrick O’Connor, Patrick J. Smith, Rudolph S. Rauch and the magazine’s current editor in chief F. Paul Driscoll.
OPERA NEWS’s frequency has changed several times over the years. The first issues of OPERA NEWS were published weekly during the opera season in New York. During Frank Merkling’s tenure, in July 1972, the magazine began publishing on a year-round schedule. OPERA NEWS has been a monthly periodical since July 1998, when Rudolph S. Rauch was editor.
OPERA NEWS is an editorially independent publication, and the opinions expressed in the magazine do not represent the views of the Metropolitan Opera Guild or the Metropolitan Opera.
The magazine’s “In Review” section carries reports by local correspondents on opera performances throughout North America and Europe; the annual festival issues (May and June) and season preview (September), as well as the monthly Dateline department, provide performance information for a wide variety of opera companies and festivals.