22 August 2007

Ticket fever

The Metropolitan Opera has a new record-- in opening-day sales.

Sales topped $2.08 million, a 25 percent increase over last season's opening-day sales of $1.66 million, after the box office opened to the general public Sunday, said Met spokeswoman Sommer Hixson. Sales on the Internet this year were nearly 50 percent higher than last year ...

Hixson attributed the robust box office to the new leadership of general manager Peter Gelb and the announcement earlier this year that the Met will be presenting seven new productions in the new season. That is the most new productions at the Met in any one season since the nine in 1966-67, the company's first season at Lincoln Center.

Hixson also cited a number of marketing and advertising initiatives, including an ad campaign on subways and buses and the live Times Square telecast of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," which opened the season last year.
No snide remarks here this time. (Perhaps.) Only warm congratulations to Peter Gelb for figuring out a way to make opera popular once more. The soundness of his new formula is being proven by every conceivable statistic, including Sieglinde's initial pre-season ticket count (83 for her and her family and friends). Indeed, this is an historic shift in the footing of opera in the mass cultural arena. Opera is the new Louis Vuitton knockoff. We all just gotta have it.