$25 Weekend Tickets Available For Opera Lovers During Economic Crisis

$25 Weekend Tickets Available For Opera Lovers During Economic CrisisIn response to the recession, the Metropolitan Opera's Board of Directors has decided to subsidize some of the best seats for weekend evening performances for the duration of the opera season. Approximately 16,000 prime seats in the Orchestra and Grand Tier, ranging in price from $295 to $140, will be available for $25 through a weekly drawing beginning December 8. Entries for the drawing to purchase the $25 seats will be available only at the Met's web site, www.metopera.org. The $3 million dollar cost to underwrite the program has been contributed entirely from among the Board's 45 managing directors.

"Although supported by the full Board, the idea for this program came from Agnes Varis," said Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Met. "The Board wanted to demonstrate its support for the public in this difficult time."

Dr. Varis, a managing director on the Met Board, and her husband, Karl Leichtman are sponsors of the Met's popular Rush Ticket program.

"This generous donation from the Met Board is a continuation of our efforts to broaden the public for this great art form. In this time when people are so concerned about the economy, we want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to come and experience the Met from the best seats in the house," said Dr. Varis.

Beginning December 8, every Monday through the end of the Met season in May, opera-goers can sign up for the "$25 Weekend Tickets" drawing at the Met's web site. The drawing from all the entrants will be held on Tuesday morning and winners' names posted on the web site by 12 noon. Winners may then call Met Ticket Service at 212-362-6000, or go to the Met Box Office, to buy their $25 tickets, which must be paid for by Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. The tickets will be for Friday and Saturday night performances only, and will vary in number each week depending on the availability of tickets for that weekend's performances. Thirty-one performances will be offered on the "$25 Weekend Tickets" program.

The Met's two discount ticket programs are summarized below.

Summary of process to enter the new "Weekend Ticket Drawing,"("$25 Weekend Tickets") for Friday and Saturday evening performances only, subject to availability.

- Monday: entry forms can be filled out and submitted only on the Met's web site, www.metopera.org, beginning at 10:00 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. (ET)
- Tuesday: the drawing is held and names posted on the Met's web site at 12 noon. Winners will receive an e-mail notification.

- Wednesday: tickets must be paid for either by phone (212-362-6000) or at Met box office by 5:00 p.m on Wednesday.

- Limit of two tickets per entry.

Summary of process to obtain Varis Rush Tickets, for Monday through Thursday performances only. 200 seats available at each performance.

- Day of performance: 150 tickets available at the Met Box Office, beginning two hours before curtain time.

- Day of performance: 50 senior citizen tickets available by phone beginning at noon. Proof of age required when picking up tickets at the Box Office.

- Limit of two tickets per customer.


About the Met

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world.

The Metropolitan Opera's 2008-09 season pays tribute to the company's extraordinary history on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, while also emphasizing the Met's renewed commitment to advancing the art form. The season features six new productions, 18 revivals, the final performances of Otto Schenk's production of Wagner's Ring cycle conducted by Levine, and two gala celebrations; the galas include the season-opening performance featuring Renée Fleming as well as a 125th anniversary celebration on March 15. New productions include the company premiere of John Adams's Doctor Atomic as well as the Met's first staged production of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust since 1906, Massenet's Thaïs, Puccini's La Rondine, Verdi's Il Trovatore, and Bellini's La Sonnambula.

Building on its 77-year-old radio broadcast history - currently heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network - the Met now uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to attract new audiences and reach millions of opera fans around the world.

The Emmy Award-winning The Met: Live in HD series reached more than 935,000 people in the 2007-08 season, more than the number of people who saw performances in the opera house. These performances began airing on PBS in March 2008, and nine of these HD performances are now available on DVD. The most recent, The Magic Flute is released by the Met and will be available at the newly renovated Met Shop in the opera house lobby in mid-December. The other eight are on the EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, and Decca labels. In the 2008-09 season, the HD series expands to feature 11 live transmissions, starting with the Met's Opening Night Gala and spanning the entire season. The HD productions are seen this season in over 850 theaters in 28 countries around the world. Five new productions are featured, including the Met premiere of John Adams's Doctor Atomic. The Opening Night transmission was seen in the Americas only; the remaining ten high-definition productions are shown live worldwide on Saturdays through May 9 with encores scheduled at various times.

Live in HD in Schools, the Met's new program offering free opera transmissions to New York City schools in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, reached more than 7,000 public school students and teachers during the 2007-08 season. This season, Live in HD in Schools expands to reach schools in 18 cities and communities nationwide.

Continuing its innovative use of electronic media to reach a global audience, the Metropolitan Opera has recently introduced Met Player, a new subscription service that makes its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. The new service currently offers 120 historic audio recordings and 50 full-length opera videos, including over a dozen of the company's acclaimed The Met: Live in HD transmissions, known for their extraordinary sound and picture quality. New content, including HD productions and archival broadcasts, will be added monthly.

Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Radio is a subscription-based audio entertainment service broadcasting both an unprecedented number of live performances each week throughout the Met's entire season, as well as rare historical performances, newly restored and remastered, spanning the Met's 77-year broadcast history.

In addition to providing audio recordings through the new Met on Rhapsody on-demand service, the Met also presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season with support from RealNetworks®.

The company's groundbreaking commissioning program in partnership with New York's Lincoln Center Theater (LCT), provides renowned composers and playwrights with the resources to create and develop new works at the Met and at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater. The Met's partnership with LCT is part of the company's larger initiative to commission new operas from contemporary composers, present modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, and provide a venue for artists to nurture their work.

The Met has launched several audience development initiatives such as the company's Open House Dress Rehearsals, which are free and open to the public. Two are planned for the 2008-09 season: La Damnation de Faust on November 4 and La Sonnambula on February 27. Just prior to beginning the current season, the Met presented a free performance of the Verdi Requiem on September 18, in tribute to the late Luciano Pavarotti. Other company initiatives include the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met which exhibits contemporary visual art; the new $25 Weekend Tickets program; the immensely successful Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rush Ticket program; and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. This season's special Holiday Presentation is Julie Taymor's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, an abridged, English-language version of the opera which is given four special matinee performances and one holiday evening performance as a way for families to celebrate the holiday season.