Opera house jumps on Broadway bandwagon

Even opera is jumping on the discount ticket bandwagon.

Beginning today, the Metropolitan Opera is making about 16,000 ducats available for $25 each. Seats, located in the orchestra or the grand tier and usually priced between $140 and $295, will be available for Friday or Saturday night perfs beginning Friday and extending through the end of the Met season in May.

Initiative, which is coupled with a pre-existing rush program for Monday through Thursday perfs, falls in line with discount strategies embraced by Broadway producers to bolster sales in an uncertain economy. One recent Rialto offer, Disney’s Kids Go Free!, resulted in $1 million in ticket sales in three days, according to Disney Theatrical Prods.

Cost of the Met’s $25 Weekend Tickets program is $3 million, entirely underwritten by the 45 managing directors of the Met board. Idea for the initiative came from managing director Agnes Varis, who also sponsors the rush program with her husband, Karl Leichtman.

Tickets will be given out by lottery. Entries will be taken online every Monday, with the selected names posted on the Met’s website by noon Tuesday.

The $25 ducats join other populist programs initiated by the Met under general manager Peter Gelb, including HD transmissions of Met perfs.

Company’s 2008-09 season includes “Doctor Atomic,” “La Damnation de Faust,” “Thais,” “Il Trovatore” and “La Sonnambula.”

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