Cheap Tickets Mean Metropolitan Opera Isn't Just For Old, Rich People

by BILLY GRAY · August 25, 2010

Youth is wasted on the young, but orchestra seats at the opera needn't all be wasted on the AARP set. At least that's how Agnes Varis feels after donating $2.5 million to subsidize a program offering $25 orchestra seats that encourage New York's young philistines to visit the Met.-

Concerned about the long-term viability of the Met and its graying patrons, trustee Varis is on a mission to pump some new blood through Lincoln Center. But will Generation Tweet take advantage of the steep weekend discount--orchestra seats typically run from $130-320--and overcome attention deficits long enough to enjoy 3-hour foreign language arias?

Varis think so, and she tells the Wall Street Journal 's Erica Orden why:

"The opera's like Broadway but better. It's got sex, it's got incest, it's got rape. You introduce young people to music, you've got them for life."

The deal builds on a previous rush ticket special, also courtesy of Varis and Karl Leichtman, that began in 2006 and subsidized 200 $20 seats for each weekday performance. It extends through the 2010-2011 season (with the exceptions of two weekends) and makes 13,600 seats available for the price of two movie tickets, or less than most scrappy off-Broadway plays.

Varis' donation is well-timed. With the success of Glee giving young musical theater nerds the validation they've craved since that atomic wedgie in 4th grade, it's reasonable to think opera could also benefit from a teen and 20-something boom in popularity.

Lest more seasoned opera-goers feel slighted, Varis says the subsidy will also help out the Metropolitan's starchy bread and butter:

"The older people who have retired, they can't afford the orchestra tickets and they can't go upstairs where it's $30—they'll get a nosebleed."

[via eGadfly]