In what the author terms A Candid History of the Metropolitan, the opera lover will find a full, sound, sometimes staid and sometimes spicy account of the goings on at the building between 39th and 40th Streets on Broadway. Mr. Kolodin tells of patrons and patronesses, of the initial building of the house -- literally built on boxes -- and the financing of a concern which has gradually evolved to the shoulders of the many rather than the few. The part the social lions played in the world of opera which seemed in some cases a mere necklace for public adornment, the days of the battle of the box provide a fabulous subject for the acid pen of a genuine music lover. The bulk of the history turns upon the operas and artists who made opera live throughout the reigns of various overseers or directors. Mr. Kolodin's book reads like an operatic who's who and what's when and carries the reader across the turbulent seas of a special world from 1883 to 1950, with a final once-over of Bing and future developments. For libraries and opera lovers this may stand as the standard history of the Met.