Vienna Opera hits new sales record

The house sold 34.6 million Euros worth of tickets in the season just ended, up half a million on the previous record.

Seat prices went up and attendance was slightly down at 98.59 percent of full capacity, instead of 99.02% the previous season. But they are basically sold out most nights.

The Met, by comparison, is playing to capacity in the mid-60s percent.

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  • Vienna opera house 2200 X 98.59% = 2168 seats on average

    MET opera house 3800 X 65% = 2470 seats on average

    • Gut the MET, leave the shell standing and restore it, and build a new smaller MET inside, with maximum of 2,500 seats. That’s big enough for New York. There is no lack of money in town to pull this off, but I suspect donors and public want to keep the MET as is: too big, and certain to fail as there is no one on the horizon who has the required artistic and business vision.

      • I believe that Mr. Gelb knows exactly what he is doing. There has been many rumors that the Met needs to shut down for a couple of years to revamp the building and backstage area to keep up with the times. In fact they have a 60 million dollar + budget to do just that. I believe that the ultimate goal is to bankrupt the current business model rip up the current contracts close the doors for a few years and start over with a clean slate. This will allow the Met to move ahead with the planned renovations without having to pay the backstage employees during this process. The truth of the matter is that the Orchestra and Chorus have two years left under the current contracts and the Stagehands have three. It has been stated by several Met employees that the Met has been trying to reinterpret the current contracts with all of the unions. A day does not go by without some new argument of how the current contracts are worded and should be paid. In fact the Met hired a lawyer for several thousand dollars a day to do just that. The new normal is to argue the wording of the contracts and pay wages the way they interpret them not the way they are written and have been paid since the begining of inception. The next step involves filing a grievence and calling a meeting between the Met and the concerned Unions and of course the Met’s high priced lawyer. This process can take up to three consecutive meetings with no solution causing tension between employees and management. I strongly believe that in two years when the Orchestra and Chorus’s contracts are up there will be a repeat of the labor dispute of two years ago and a lockout will happen. This will allow the Met to move forward with the planned renovations without having to pay the current backstage employees.

  • Met revenue for HD broadcast in 2013 were 34.5 million however in $.
    Why this continuous muckraking concerning the Met?

  • Equally pertinent, I believe –

    2015
    Visitors to New York – 59 million
    Visitors to Vienna – 14 million
    Percentage of Broadway performance tickets sold to visitors – 70%

    Granted Broadway has a far greater general appeal than opera, it would still be interesting to find out if the Met has statistics for out of town and overseas visitors. The average Broadway ticket price broke $100 in 2014 and I suspect a lot of individuals purchasing on-line in advance of their visit will be going for the higher end prices nearer $150 – i.e.virtually the same as the average Met price. Last season the Met had 227 performances and some 300,000 unsold seats. If if could attract another one half of one percent of all visitors, it would be sold out!

  • But we should not forget that Vienna has more opera houses:
    The Volksoper with 1300 seats plays – as the Staatsoper – 300 nights a year. Tickets sold in 2015/16: 85% (The Staatsoper sold 99%)
    The Theater an der Wien plays not every day, has around 100-120 performances a season and 1000 seats. They sell also around 95%. And there is the small “Kammeroper” now connected with the Theater an der Wien and other smaller opera groups. A lot of opera in ein comparatively small city….

  • The MET is a monster and has no atmosphere at all! One can’t co late a jewel like the Theater an der Wien with the horrible building of Lincoln Center!!! How can one ever enjoy an opera buffo in such huge house? It doesn’t work and even Elektra the other has proven how much better it was at La Scala or Aix (their new house no great either)
    Also, the MET season is short and normally finishes beginning of May so compare it with Munich etc.
    The MET remains a monster I am not interested any more

  • Jschmee – You are referring to gross revenues for the Met HD transmissions. No one will ever (EVER) know the exact and tremendous expenses of HD production (including cameras, transmission equipment, and constant upgrading of infrastructure), increased stage production costs due to HD, intermission content (several fulltime employees plus celebrity hosts), performers’ profit sharing, media administration, distribution, promotion, etc. These are closely guarded figures, especially kept from Met’s board. The board is pleased as punch to simply hear gross figures and to be shown endless loops of HD highlights.

    Point in fact, when all is said and done, the actual net revenue from the Met’s HD is much less than the tremendous loss of ticket revenue for many years–which has dropped in the area of $20 million annually.

    The idea of the HD transmissions was and remains laudable. It is good for the art form if more people get to see opera. It was simply not strategically integrated with ticket revenue from the opera house.

    HD should have been promoted as a public service, with little or no anticipated financial benefit to the company, as it has proved to be. Rather–in grandiose fashion and with braggadocio worthy of Donald Trump–from the get-go the Met touted HD as the answer to their failure to maintain the opera house audience.

    When all is said (and done), a major factor in the Met’s financial woes will be the HD transmissions.

    • Not sure your information about costs is correct. In addition to the extra production costs, cinemas will routinely take something in the region of 50% as their cut of the box office.

      There is an article from Rhinegold Publishing (do they still publish International Arts Manager?) dated 3 October 2012 with this information –

      “Gelb sees cost as the cull factor: ‘In order to cover costs of these transmissions, which exceed $1m [£617K] per show, you need to have a very wide digital network, otherwise you lose money. There is a break-even point of 150,000 tickets; we on average sell about 250,000.’ The rumoured $10m (£6.17m) annual profit from Met HD Live may pale beside its $300m (£185m) annual spend, but is essential in a recession-racked US where donors are increasingly hard to find.”

      A Financial Times article from April the same year puts the Met’s net profits after costs at between $10 and $12 million. It is unlikely they were more than marginally in excess of this estimate in 2013.

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