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Metropolitan Opera Auditions was a radio talent show.


NBC Radio (Weekly): 12/22/1935 – 4/1/1945
ABC Radio (Weekly): 1/4/1948 – 1958


Edward Johnson


Milton Cross


Howard Claney

Conductor (1930s–1940s)[]

Wilfred Pelletier


Unlike most radio talent competitions (such as The Original Amateur Hour), only the singers with very good talent were selected by the producers. Some of them had sung professionally, although they were all unknown to the public. These singers were given a chance to "come within voice-range of the Met," with the opera company presenting contracts to the winners.

The singers themselves came from all walk of life. The 800 applicants who applied each year were auditioned by Pelletier, who coached them and gradually chose the Top 63. These singers would perform on the air. They each chose their own music, selecting the pieces that they thought were the best for their talents. Over the weeks, the ranks were reduced to the fourteen semifinalists. These fourteen were cut to six, and on the final night, two winners were selected, each receiving $1,000 in cash, and Metropolitan contracts.

The judges came from the ranks of the Met.


The talent level was always very high, meaning contracts were often extended to semi-finalists as well as the winners.

Some of the greatest opera singers of the mid-20th century (such as Eleanor Steber, Robert Merrill, Leonard Warren, and Patrice Munsel) got their start on this show.

Many of the participants from the show found permanent and rewarding work in radio, regardless if they won or lost.

Many of the award-winning Frank and Anne Hummert musical shows were staffed by Audition’s former competitors.