It’s no secret that many museums and symphonies are feeling the pinch of declining philanthropy and hence now considering a strategy once practiced only by their scruffier and smaller counterparts: cultural democracy.
Attendance is down this season at the Metropolitan Opera, and officials there acknowledge that the fault is their own. They made going to the opera too expensive, reports today’s New York Times.
“So in a rarity in the rarefied world of the performing arts, the Met said it would reduce ticket prices next season. The average cost of admission will drop by 10 percent, or to $156 from $174, Peter Gelb, the general manager, said in a recent interview.
“The lower ticket prices will come in a 2013-14 season that includes thereturn of the music director James Levine to the pit after a two-year absence; an unusual appearance by a female conductor, Jane Glover; and, surprisingly, the first time Anna Netrebko, the Russian diva, will tackle one of the most famous Russian roles at the Met.
“Experiencing those moments will still not be cheap, but the new ticket pricing will ease sticker shock. For example, an orchestra aisle seat that is $360 this season will be $330, and a grand tier box seat will go to $180 from $195. In all, more than 2,000 seats for each performance will cost less, the Met said. One exception will be the $20 seats in the rear of the family circle, which will rise by $5. The Met will continue its rush-ticket and free open-rehearsal programs.
“We think that is going to increase attendance,” Mr. Gelb said of the price cuts, noting that more ticket sales would compensate for any lost revenue because of lower prices. “At least it better,” he added.”