Metropolitan Opera Offers $25 Low-Price Tickets for Performances, Takes a Rocky Start

By Ian Holubiak | Jan 07, 2015 01:13 PM EST

Many Rust Belt cities in the U.S. have been experimenting with a new theory, "low-cost high culture," and have been yielding higher net profits. While the idea is sound, major cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Opera have tried a similar experiment but haven't found the same success.

Back in 2006, per The New York Times, general manager Peter Gelb introduced a rush ticket program, which offered up to 100 tickets for a shockingly low price of $25. And if that wasn't enough, the tickets put recipients in prime seating locations.

With a most generous grant from Agnes Varis, the founder and chief executive of Agvar Chemicals who died in 2011, of $2 million the program was able to take way. In association with the program, too, the company also had a student rush program.

And isn't that the aim of a major opera house, to open its doors to a younger demographic?

No one can be completely satisfied, though. When the program began, the low-priced tickets were being scalped outside and patrons who paid full price weren't too happy with the younger concertgoers next to them in their prime seats.


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