Marlies’ Artbeat: Huge Ticket Sale for the Met’s Live-in–HD-Opera-at-the-Movies

Who says opera is dying! The early, incredibly large turnout of ticket buyers at WP City Center says NO! And they were all Guild members! The general public can only buy from Sept. 4th on...

Hello there, all you Opera Buffs,

Were you on line with me on August 24th to purchase Priority tickets for the upcoming “Live-in-HD-Opera-at-the-Movies” season? If so, you can skip down a few paragraphs to the amazing statistics I just received from a horse’s mouth at the WP City Center box office.

If you were there, you know all about the humongous turnout and  its frustrations. I hope you were lucky and able to procure the exact tickets you desired.

Doors were slated to open at 11:00 A.M. and tickets were on sale strictly for Met Opera Guild members with $150 or above member-ships. (NON-MEMBERS CAN BUY FROM SEPTEMBER 4th ON.) Everyone had to present the coveted card issued by the Guild, and even had to supply picture-identity-proof to show that one was the specific member listed on the card.

The theater wasn’t kidding around! Last year, tickets were sold to non-Guild-members as well, on the first day, which created obvious complaints. So WP City Center stuck strictly to the rules this time.

A friend and I arrived frightfully early – at 9:30 or so – with collapsible seating paraphernalia, fully prepared for the long wait. Well, we found there were at least 20 people already ahead of us, most of them comfortably ensconced in portable chairs. Within minutes, the line behind us multiplied incredibly. My above-mentioned horse’s mouth reported that by the time the door was opened – mercifully at 10:40 – the line stretched all the way to the parking area. Who says opera is dying!

The theater management was doing its best to handle the complicated sales, with not every patron taking all 12 operas, or ordering four seats for one and only two for the next etc.  Once we were inside, there were 5 stations open and well organized to speed up the complexity of the ordering,

So here are some sale statistics: Example -- With the exception of the totally undesirable, neck-destroying first row, the reserved seats for Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, are completely sold out. 

Admittedly L’Elisir stars that magnificent drawing card, Anna Netrebko, but the sell-out is hardly confined to that opera. Evidently, and I am writing this on Sat. August, 25 – one day after Priority Tickets went on sale – equal sell-outs spread across the entire 12-HD lineup.

Even Wagner’s Parsifal, (its tremendous length usually scares off many people,) had only a handful of tickets left in the reserved-seat Theater #8.  And a surprising number of seats in the non-reserved Theater #7, were already spoken for. In prior seasons, the non-reserved tickets were usually only purchased on the day of the Matinee performance.  Something hot is happening…

But Westchesterites don’t despair, non-reserved tickets will undoubtedly be available, especially in New Rochelle, at the Regal New Roc City 18. All their seats are unreserved, and their theaters are larger. Besides, there are always the Encore performances on Wednesday evenings, in both our Westchester venues.

When I bragged about all this excitement to my friend, Joy Singer of Manhattan, she quipped: “Never you mind, opera is dying.  All these people are just making sure they have good seats at the funeral.”

I am convinced she is wrong!

Here are impressions from some of your neighbors on the ticket line:

Joan Frishman of White Plains, has been an opera lover since she was 17, living in the city.  A devoted Wagnerite, she thinks opera now is more dramatic, “chemically appealing, with today’s fabulous singers well suited to the characters they are playing.”

She especially appreciates the newer stagings; is a member of  Director’s Guild of America. “I am perfectly willing to come so early because I love opera so. Until six years ago my husband and I had a subscription at the actual Met. In some ways these transmissions are better, with the subtitles right on the giant screen instead of on the back of the seat in front of you. Looking down often made me miss some of the action.”

Michael Onofrio of Ossining has attended the HD’s since their inception six seasons ago. A graduate of the famed Yale Drama School, he was hooked by opera in the Tebaldi – Callas era. Since he is a retired televison and stage director, his approval of the Met’s creations makes that particularly meaningful.

Matthew Lanna of Millwood has been coming to the HD’s for the last three seasons.  “The new lineup has some good, some not so good operas. I have decided to get tickets to eight of them and expect to enjoy them fully.”


NOTE: On my blog of August 18th, 2012, an advertisement for the Opera Guild was posted directly above my article. Although I heartily approve of the Guild, I have absolutely no relationship with it – except for the totally public Guild membership needed to purchase Priority tickets. My reviews strictly reflect only my own opinion.




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Will September 02, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Thank you for your wonderful blog. I certainly look forward to your opera reviews starting next month. I was curious if you would mind ranking this season's line-up in order of your personal preferences.
Vera Schiller September 02, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I was not as foresighted as you! I arrived quite a bit later but happily was successful with my purchase although a bit further back than I like. Vera Schiller
George & Renata Rainer September 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Although we have attended several HD performances, we knew nothing about the new rules; the blog was a revelation! We look forward to Marlies's reviews since it doesn't seem as if we will be able to get tickets. Thank you for keeping us informed about this vital art form. Renata & George Rainer, Irvington


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