When The Chatsworth is home, it can be tempting to stay in your Upper West Side apartment and just relish your luxurious surrounds. But that would require you to neglect the fact that one of the world’s premier opera houses is less than ten minutes from your door. The Metropolitan Opera House, a perennially popular haunt for culture buffs, is accommodating to opera newcomers, too. Tickets for next year’s spring and summer season are already on sale, and we’ve picked out some highlights. First, though, a quick history lesson:

Welcome to The Met

Not to be confused with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met/Metropolitan Opera showcases performances from many of the greatest opera companies, putting on as many as 27 productions a year. That means you could watch two new performances a month and still not see everything! With general manager Peter Gelb at the helm, the Met’s repertoire is impressively wide ranging, covering everything from elaborate 18th-century Baroque productions to intriguing examples of 20th-century Minimalism. You’re likely to find at least one genre that’s right for you, even if you don’t know what that genre is yet.

The Building

The largest purpose-built opera house anywhere, The Metropolitan Opera House opened in Lincoln Center in 1966 (though planning for it dates back to the 1920s). A dreamy architectural experience from start to finish, the white travertine-clad building boasts a monumental glass and bronze facade as well as a multi-story lobby with a cantilevered stairway and murals by Marc Chagall. The fan-shaped auditorium is bedecked in burgundy and gold, festooned with 21 sparkling chandeliers, and looks out over one of the most complex (and ingenious) stages in the world. While the Met’s capacity is 4,000, don’t be complacent about purchasing tickets, as many performances here sell out months in advance. That’s why we’re recommending a few 2016 shows to you now.

What to See

The comic opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti has a short run (March 4-18), so we recommend snapping up tickets early for this one, especially as it features the magnificent soprano Eleonora Buratto.

Craving a more contemporary approach to opera? Consider Strauss’s Elektra (April 14-May 7), which tells a story of vengeance for a father’s death. Staged by renowned French director Patrice Chéreau, who passed away in 2013, this production is powerful as well as relatively brief, making it especially suitable for those who find three-hour operas that are light on action difficult to fully enjoy.

Spring highlights at the Met will feature plenty of classics as well, of course, including Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (April 22-May 7) and Anthony Minghella’s ethereal version of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (February 19-April 12).

Also be sure to treat yourself to the legendary pairing of long-time Met conductor James Levine and famous tenor Plácido Domingo (who’s returning to play a lead baritone role he’s performed here once before to great acclaim) in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (April 1-16).

This is just a selection. For a full list of 2016 operas (and other shows) at the Metropolitan Opera, visit the Met’s website: www.metopera.org.

Image Courtesy of: ©iStock.com/macniak