On Sunday, they’ll be pushing aside the orchestra and pulling down a very large movie screen at the Metropolitan Opera House.

In a very “meta” move, the New York Film Festival is coming to Lincoln Center to showcase a documentary about the creation of the city’s famed opera house, which opened in 1966.

And whenever you build something – anything -- in the middle of Manhattan, there’s plenty of drama that’s usually worthy of Hollywood.

In our era where a project like “Diller Island” is sunk despite the fact that no residents would have been displaced in the Meatpacking District, it’s not easy to comprehend that the creation of the opera house and the rest of Lincoln Center forcibly displaced tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

The politics and the art are all there in “The Opera House” – Susan Froemke’s wonderful documentary about the creation of our city’s Mecca for divas.

In a segment worth catching if you missed it, Froemke and the opera’s general manager, Peter Gelb, appeared on “The Road to City Hall” to chat with our Errol Louis about the film and the once-controversial construction of Lincoln Center.

Froemke’s documentary has wonderful appearances from heavyweights from the artistic world – Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Bing, Leontyne Price – as well as the political stage – Robert Moses and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Forget about music. In any debate about the use of eminent domain, “The Opera House” can serve as a useful tool to get the conversation moving. Should someone lose their apartment for a song? More than 50 years after the opera house was built, most people now would likely side with the master builders but the documentary shows the complexity of the argument.

From public policy to art to Gotham’s messy history, it’s worth heading to “The Opera House” to get the inside story on one of the city’s shiniest artistic gems.

On Monday, even Mayor de Blasio was there for opening night. Let’s just hope he doesn’t try to sing.


Bob Hardt