Mid-Day Update: Met Opera Acknowledges They Made Going To The Opera Too Expensive

More on this tomorrow but the 2/26/2013 edition of the New York Times published an article by Daniel J. Wakin that reports the Metropolitan Opera has announced that they are lowering ticket prices by 10 percent. Acknowledging that the prices have risen to artificially high levels and were now counterproductive for raising revenue and increasing access, the Met is acting proactively. We’ve been discussing these issues for years now and seeing the Met’s decision is a welcome breath of fresh air. More on this tomorrow, in the meantime, be sure to read Wakin’s article.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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5 thoughts on “Mid-Day Update: Met Opera Acknowledges They Made Going To The Opera Too Expensive”

  1. I don’t know Drew. I read it and my “Rotten in Denmark” sensor says something doesn’t add up. They had a lot of things to blame but addressed one in a wide-sweeping manner. And is it truly the ticket prices that are the lone issue?

    • Those are good questions to ask but assuming your curiosity is founded, if the premise that ticket prices are artificially inflated and causing more damage than good, does the root cause behind reversing the decision matter? Granted, those potential issues are all related so they will impact one another (not unlike the negative results from the S.t Paul Chamber Orchestra ticket price reduction) and the Met will certainly need to deal with all of that as time unfolds.

      • Yes. Also, have they addressed the donor objections? Is it a by-product of other issues – artistic/product? Can people not purchasing tickets be due to the programming/times/etc..? Should they revamp the broadcasting program to perhaps be for special performances or even purchase a ticket subscription to that series? 4% decrease in earned income should make you take stock of what is really working vs. what you are convinced is working.

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