The 73-year-old broadcasts lost their longtime sponsor, the ChevronTexaco corporation, at the end of the 2003-04 season. The Met has since launched a "Save the Met Broadcasts" campaign and has raised several million dollars from various sources.
"Our beloved tradition of live opera from The Met is in serious peril," said Met chairman Beverly Sills in a statement. "This generous gift from The Simonyi Fund is deeply encouraging and I give my personal thanks as well as the appreciation of everyone at the Metropolitan Opera and the gratitude of millions of devoted listeners, current and future."
"The live Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera are the first opportunity most children have to hear live opera," said Susan Hutchison, the Simonyi Fund's executive director. "It is important that we build these future audiences as well as continue to bring these broadcasts to millions of opera lovers around the world."
The 2004-05 broadcast season started on December 11 and runs through May 7. Heard by more than 11 million listeners, the broadcasts are carried on more than 360 stations in the United States and in 40 countries throughout the world.