The Met has sold $20m in tickets for new season

The Met has sold $20m in tickets for new season


norman lebrecht

September 10, 2021

But that’s down on $27 million at this point in 2019. This is a critical moment.

Will the core audience return? That’s the key question.

From the NY Times this morning:

The Met is warily watching sales. It has sold about $20 million worth of tickets for the season so far, the company said, down from $27 million at the same point in the season before the pandemic. Subscriptions, which have been steadily eroding at American symphony orchestras and opera companies in recent years, are down by about a quarter from before the pandemic, but officials expect more subscribers to renew when they feel safe about attending. Strong recent sales, and the speed with which the Met sold out an affordably priced performance of Verdi’s Requiem on Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, offered hope that audiences will come back.

More here.


  • frank says:

    The season looks fine on paper. Will the casting hold up? This week Groissbock withdrew from Don Carlos to be replaced by Eric Owens . Fortunately the Met’s ticket exchange policy will permit me to withdraw from hearing Mr. Owens.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    They should open with Salome and have Stormy Daniels do the Dance of the Seven Veils.

    That’ll get em to $27 million before the season starts.

  • Rob says:

    Verdi’s Requiem to remember 9/11, tomorrow conducted by YNS. $25 upwards for a ticket.

    Not a very subtle piece.

    “Face masks and proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 are required for all audience members.”

    (No mask or vac required for the deadly flu/pneumonia pre 2020, then.)

  • justin says:

    1) If you want to get back to pre-pandemic box office sales, you don’t open with a new opera, you open with a Bohème or a Carmen.

    2) That the Met is $7 million short from last year at this time means 2 things: the traditional audience isn’t convinced by the bold new programming of a modern Black gay opera, and said bold new programming failed to attract the bold new audience it was meant to attract.

    Sure, the premiere will make the front page of the New York Times, which will laud it to the high heavens (I bet you the review has already been written), but it won’t put butts in seats.

    • John Kelly says:

      Well as a subscriber, one can pick the 6 operas you want to go to and form your own subscription. What I’m observing is a general reluctance to buy a subscription among those worried about personal Covid safety. This is true in Boston, Philly, Detroit and the NYPO, it’s not just the Met. There are plenty of single tickets for almost everything which was never true pre-pandemic. However, give it a little time and I believe we will be back to pre-pandemic audience levels.

    • Monsoon says:

      Operas in the first month include: Turandot, Boris Godunov, Meistersinger, and Porgy & Bess. That seems like a good mix.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      Many of us are sick and tired of seeing nothing but Boheme, Carmen, Traviata etc., fine works though they all are. No company can last being nothing but a museum only reviving the “top 40” works and antiquated productions.

  • MacroV says:

    That actually seems pretty good given both COVID wariness and that tickets went on sale only a few days ago. Give it time.

    • V. Lind says:

      I agree with that observation. However, I’m not sure it’s the point. According to discussions on this website, pre-pandemic the Met was usually half empty. Pictures were shown. Apparently bleeding money. So if $27 million in sales was not adequate, then $20 must be approaching disastrous.

      But as you correctly imply, a very good proportion of what audience there was has returned, and the shortfall, while it may be due to programming (though as pointed out it is possible to avoid productions you either dislike or don’t want to try) it is probably largely due to Covid-wariness. In which case it is indeed “pretty good.”

  • PB says:

    In the meantime, the Met Orchestra is showing gratitude to the one star that actually helped them get through difficult times… beautiful:

    • Peter San Diego says:

      As one who steadfastly refuses to patronize facebook, I shall have to remain ignorant of the stellar benefactor’s identity.

      • Sisko24 says:

        FYI: for this video, a Facebook account is not necessary. I viewed it and I don’t have an account with them either. And for what it’s worth, it’s a cute, short video.

      • John says:

        You can go to to watch it under “News” or go to their YouTube channel.

  • mary says:

    Is seating every other seat to maintain proper distancing?

    If so, it can never return to pre-pandemic.

    If not, it can never be Covid safe.


    • John Kelly says:

      No, it is normal seating, no spaces. Watching the Berlin Phil opening concert on the Digital Concert Hall, the audience was all masked but no spacing between seats. Presumably all vaccinated, it is Germany after all, hell even the French are more vaccinated than the Americans (I think you have to fail some kind of IQ test in order to immigrate to Florida……)

    • Kev Lovett says:

      Spaces between seats equate to less revenue per show by at least half. Hence the push for the segregated, vaccinated audiences to get around both the Hitleresque vaccine and social distancing mandates.

      Gelb and the Board may end up closing the Met quickly due to lawsuits related to COVID contracted between audience, singer, player, staff contact traced illness and death. A requiem may be an interactive event for the Met.

  • Asking questions says:

    A cursory glance of on the met website of basically any performance raises questions about the $20,000,000 sales number. Considering the average ticket price is $150- that means 133k seats have been sold for the season. The numbers don’t add up.

    I think sales are much MUCH lower.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Agreed. However, numbers have never added up at the Metropolitan Opera. Creativity at the Met is not limited to the stage.

    • sam says:

      Why not?

      Let’s assume that the $20M were all subscriptions for a choice of 6 operas, so divide 133 333 seats by 6, we get 22 222 subscribers.

      It’s not that hard to imagine that New York, Connecticut and New Jersey have 22 000 people who love opera and can afford $150 seats.

      (Also, multiple subscriptions are bought by corporations for client functions, etc.)

  • Monsoon says:

    Not really surprising that folks who are 70+ don’t want to risk attending a concert, especially with the Delta variant raging.

  • Max Viazzo says:

    What the Met isn’t telling its enthusiastic ticket buying fans is that most consulates around the world specially in Europe are not currently issuing work visas. it is not determined when and if they’ll start doing it again. I work with the Department of Homeland Security and I don’t see how or when the Met can get this situation sorted out so, you can expect an avalanche of cancellations by foreign based artists. Chicago and San Francisco have made the wise decision of hiring only American singers. They’re also saving a bunch of money in lawyers’ and USCIS’ fees.

  • obviously... says:

    The 26% decline is also interesting, given that (also in the article) international travelers represent as much as 20% of sales.