The most expensive opera ticket in the world?

A report in the Italian magazine Classic Voice says it must be La Scala, where online tickets are selling for 300 Euros.

This statistic is quoted with delight by the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, which has no love left for Las Scala’s boss, the former Salzburg director Alexander Pereira.

However, you don’t have to look very far to find opera tickets tickets priced at 516 Euros for the current Salzburg Festival.

So what, then, is the most expensive opera ticket you have ever seen (or paid for)?

 

Update: Mauro Balestrazzi, author of the report, has been in touch. He says: ‘We examined three different lists: the ticket prices in the Italian opera houses (the most expensive, La Scala: 250 Euros); the ticket prices in the most important European opera houses (the most expensive, Teatro Real, Madrid: 355 Euros); the most important European opera festival (the most expensive Salzburg Festival: 450 Euros).

Then, we tried to buy tickets (a seat in the stalls) on the internet for a new production of the current season in some of the most important european theaters. La Scala is the most expensive because the tickets purchased through internet are subject to a 20% booking fee, so a ticket for a seat in the stalls costs 300 Euros; and because it does not have different rates for the seats in the stall (like many other theatres have).

 

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  • Bella Voce says:

    Still cheap in comparison to sports events….

    • Alexander says:

      not to forget those pop-events which are mostly trash … any way I tend to share your opinion 😉

    • Maria Schwartz says:

      I purchased 1 ticket for Vienna staatoper , Tosca, for 950 Eu and recently for ROH Otello ( had to buy 2 as one not available) for 2300 English lb.
      There is not limit if one wishes to see a Jonas Kaufman performance.

      • Joao Luis says:

        WOW. I watched a live transmission of ROH Otello at the cinema for 11 pounds… that’s 1000% less. And I didn’t even like it that much.
        But I did buy tickets for a once in a lifetime Nabucco at the Scala for 1100 euros (300 each ticket + 350 airplane + 120 hotel).

  • Hiroshi Hatton says:

    Bayerische Staatzoper, in Tokyo Tour, next September
    “Tanhoeuser”, “Die Zeuberfloete”
    S class sheet ¥65,000=552 Euros
    http://www.bayerische2017.jp/schedule/

  • James Randell says:

    Bayreuth hotels often have notes at reception offering silly prices for tickets on the night (I have seen €800 being paid)

  • Diana Beckett says:

    Yes, but La Scala’s on-line tickets – in fact 99% of all their tickets – are swallowed up by a Russian (or Slav country) mafia and you then have to buy one on the street outside the opera house from some shady looking types at twice face value, if not more. A considerable number are also sold or donated to banks, insurance companies and buddies of the mayor and they sell them on at twice face value. The whole ticket system is corrupt. I will never try to go to La Scala again. You can see the same singers elsewhere.

    • Jackyt says:

      I was glad to read your explanation. It always puzzled me. Years ago we tried to buy online tickets for La Donna del Lago on a Saturday night. It was already sold out when online booking opened.
      We went to Milan and called constantly at box office. Nothing. Friends already there kept trying for us. Nothing. We queud up from 9am for tickets in the gods. When we got there we found we were so far back, even though we had been near the front of the queue, there was no view of the stage at all, and we had to stand. I asked the people in front what they had paid and from whom – a lot more than us. Touts! Shady men in street corners had constantly offered us tickets at inflated prices, but we refused on principle.
      We vowed never to return to La Scala unless it cleaned up its act. I was hoping it had – sadly, clearly not!

      • Joao Luis says:

        Yesterday I bought 2 tickets online for a Saturday November showing of Nabucco, 300 a piece for the paltea (T row…) without dealing with no Russian Mafia.
        Looked pretty clean to me

    • Robin Worth says:

      It was just the same in the 1960s

      To be sure, if you were not a subscriber you could usually get a ticket in the prima galeria if you wrote (in Italian) when booking opened and enclosed an assegno circolare. This was an arcane payment instrument I have only ever encountered in Italy and which was only available through Italian banks.

      Anyone else had to go to the touts, who resold all the tickets assigned to employees , artists and others who had access to the box office.

      But I never saw an empty seat!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    A tricker question: how is the black market for opera tickets doing in these days? I remember a thriving black market in Bayreuth and at La Scala in the 1980s and 1990s.

    • Ian Oliver SMITH says:

      “In my day…..” we queued and queued usually from midnight and with a warm puppy in the sleeping bag !! As for Bayreuth, one put on evening clothes at 4.a.m., walked to the car park and waited and waited until someone (even royalty) appeared with an unwanted ticket !! It was all huge fun and I’d just mention that my first great gay affair started over a bacon sandwich in Floral Street….

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Been there, done that, though my interactions with fellow opera buffs at queues were strictly platonic 🙂 At Bayreuth I once blew it by arriving around 5:30: after queuing for almost 12 hours, and being the first one in the queue not to receive tickets.

  • Bill Worley says:

    I paid £300 for “Meistersinger” at Glyndebourne last year and it was worth every penny.

    • Yvonne Ward says:

      We went to that Glyndebourne Meistersinger last year for free – someone gave us rehearsal tickets.

      But we’ve just lost £540 for two tickets at RoH for Meistersinger because we did not go and they did not manage to resell them for us.

      • Robin Worth says:

        Not surprising, since there were seats for sale throughout the run and the ROH will only resell seats after they have sold the house

        And after the reviews for Holten’s production were published you would wonder who would want to pay top dollar for your seats

        You would have had no problem if you had wanted to get rid of seats for Otello!

    • Ian Oliver SMITH says:

      What about the Salzburg Easter Festival ? The Met is far from cheap. Paris is affordable but ROH often not good value for money. Four guineas was my limit in 1962……..

  • Nick says:

    US$1,200 for Zhang Yimou’s “Turandot” in Beijing’s Forbidden City for Opera on the Original Sites in 1997. With largely Florence Opera forces and Mehta conducting, Zhang’s production and the setting made it an extremely special evening. We paid $600 each but in reality the seats costing $200 would have been equally as good!

  • Mike Beckerman says:

    Ha, and to think we used to bribe the Met ushers to let us in for $5!!

    • Walt says:

      That takes me back, Mike. The 1970’s were good times, eh? If you had an usher friend at Carnegie like I did, when he worked I tagged along- no problem!

      We were young……….

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Back in my Vienna days in the early 1980s, I was lucky to find my way with some very corrupt Musikverein ushers.

    • Ian Oliver Smith says:

      That’s how I got into the Rudolph Bing farewell gala. You can hear me screaming on the DGG LP, CD and DVD. At Bayreuth on Monday the 4H hotel had Parsifal tickets at €240……

  • V.Lind says:

    And people wonder why more young people do not attend opera? $600 has to keep a lot of young people for a month. And I do not suppose many people shelling out £300 for a ticket are attending wearing clean but old jeans and much washed T-shirts, having dined on baked beans on toast. This very conversation conjures up an alien, excluding society.

    Yes, I know there are cheaper tickets available in some places, and more of a mix in attire, etc. But I doubt concession tickets are available to young couples with a kid and a mortgage, and even student prices may be unaffordable at Covent Garden and the like.

    Yes, the big pop bands cost a lot, but a favourite group or artist usually hits most places once in a blue moon. Students and young people will save toward it, or go without something to pay for the ticket, knowing they will not have to invest in a new outfit or risk ridicule — they will be in a friendly ambience.

    Not sure what the solution is but bragging about “prices I have paid” is not a conversation likely to encourage those who overhear it to join in.v

    • Nick says:

      It’s not bragging – it’s merely responding to a question. Yes, I agree there should be more cheaper prices in permanent Houses. The point about the Forbidden City “Turandot”, though, is that it was a very unique one-off event. A video was made during one performance and anyone who has seen it will know that the performing space was absolutely vast. I heard that the total cost of the 8 performances was around US$15 million and the tiered seating which had been constructed within the courtyard accommodated 4,000. Inevitably, as with any special unsubsidised event on this scale, prices are going to be massively high.

      Hiroshi Hattori’s post above also illustrates the extremely high price of attending touring opera in Japan. Here again the performances are in the nature of a special event since a full opera company with many hundreds of artists, musicians, stage crew, costumes, props etc. have to be flown in, accommodated, provided with per diems and local transportation – and that’s before much of the scenery is reconstructed locally. I can remember paying ¥22,000 to see La Scala’s wonderful Strehler production of “Simon Boccanegra” with Abbado, Freni, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov etc. in Tokyo way back in 1981 – and that was not the top price! At least in those days the far better exchange rate meant this was around US$95.

    • Lyn Shepherd says:

      I agree with you, with the prices being mentioned you don’t encourage the younger generations. The situation is rather different in Germany, where there are lots of discounts for young people (and not just student discounts) and “family performances” where kids pay very little. We go to the opera regularly in Berlin and recently saw Beczala and Hartig in La Bohème for 33€, and for most operas in the three Berlin opera houses we pay even less than that, whereas in Barcelona paying around 30€ at the Liceu you would have a very limited view. I am just not going to pay hundreds of euros (for two of us). The most expensive seats we have ever had were 125/150€ range, once at the Liceu in Barcelona to see Flores and Ciofi, and the other time was a trip to Munich to see Kaufmann and Keenleyside in La Traviata (but not Gheorghiu who was indisposed….for a change!)

    • EC says:

      To be fair, as a (relatively) young person, I do find that there are a lot of viable offers in London. My love of opera really took off through the Royal Opera House student tickets – they really are very affordable. I’ll never forget the performance of Elektra (an opera I had never heard of before that evening) I saw from the front of the stalls for just £10. It left me completely in awe! Wigmore Hall now offers <35 tickets for £5 for many performances, and I'd go to more OAE £5 (for young people) concerts if they didn't start at 7pm, which doesn't leave me enough time to get there after work. I'll stump up for top price seats every now and then for a treat, but I don't expect to be sitting in the stalls every time I go to a world-class performance. Tonight, I'm off to Madama Butterfly for £13 (standing). The deals are there in the classical world… perhaps most young people (at least many of my friends) have too many other distractions in London to take the time to seek them out.

  • Max Grimm says:

    If galas count, the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming premier of Der Rosenkavalier. Tickets for the performance only are $800 (tickets for reception, the performance and a dinner go up to $50.000).

  • MaxG says:

    If galas count, the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoxming premier of Der Rosenkavalier. Tickets for the performance only are $800 (tickets for reception, the performance and a dinner go up to $50.000).

  • Mauro Balestrazzi says:

    I am the author of the report about the tickets prices in the opera houses for the Italian magazine Classic Voice and I would like to clear up this point.
    We examined three different lists: the ticket prices in the current season in the Italian opera houses (the most expensive, La Scala: 250 Euros); the ticket prices in the most important European opera houses (the most expensive, Teatro Real, Madrid: 355 Euros); the most important European opera festival (the most expensive, Salzburg Festival: 450 Euros).
    Then, we tried to buy tickets (a seat in the stalls) on the internet for a new production of the current season in some of the most important european theaters. La Scala is the most expensive because the tickets purchased through internet are subject to a 20% booking fee, so a ticket for a seat in the stalls costs 300 Euros; and because La Scala does not have different rates for the seats in the stall (like many other theaters have).

  • Laura Farrell says:

    Normal season stalls seats in Zurich are 230-350 Swiss francs, but the cats are generally excellent.

  • V.Lind says:

    Clearly there is little sympathy here for the less well off. Well, enjoy your ritzy version of going to the opera while you can, because you are excluding a huge potential audience not just with prices but with attitude. As I suggested above, do not come crying if your local opera closes down.

    • Nick says:

      Too sweeping a generalisation! I mentioned Tokyo. There are several local companies who present opera at far cheaper prices and which attract all manner of local audiences. Siege Ozawa’s New Japan Philharmonic used to do semi-staged opera each year similar to the same type of production he did in Boston. When studying I was a regular in the stehplatz in Vienna and in my first job in London after graduation at the back of the amphitheatre at Covent Garden where seats were about 1/20th of my weekly wage.

      The fact that one thread deals with the most expensive tickets at especially high priced “events” has nothing to do with the wide variety of prices available at regularly priced performances all around the world.

  • Bruce says:

    Most I ever paid was US $50 (I think) for $125 seats, on sale at the last minute for Seattle Opera’s “Flying Dutchman” several years ago. They were in the loge where the fancy people sit. The sound was not as good as the cheap seats up in the top balcony. (Also, Jane Eaglen, instead of jumping into the sea at the end, electrocuted herself with a downed power line.)

  • Maria Schwartz says:

    The fairest for me was Munich Staatoper that holds a lottery. Not dependent on donors who swallow up all prime seats in order to resell as with ROH. I was able to garner first seats in stalls in the back and again in front row.
    Fenice had boxes available for very reasonable prices and certainly balcony available for price of a good movie ticket. So very doable.
    Hamilton the show on broadway is getting $1000 and not worth a great opera with top tenor, in my opinion. Harry Potter in London also considerable sums and hours of waiting in queue.
    Artists went hungry in order to buy paint. What would you give to experience art? I would go hungry !

  • Maria schwartz says:

    But 15 opera houses do live streaming. Vienna played lived out of doors in street for anyone wishing to watch. They even supplied chairs. Anyone can see opera . Just do a bit of searching for your venue.

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