Friday, December 16, 2005

Empty seat syndrome

Via Opera-L, this AP story puts a remarkably bad number to the vague local perception of "low box office":
"We are currently projecting the box office to achieve 76 percent of capacity versus a budget of 80 percent, resulting in a shortfall of $4,303,000," Volpe wrote in Dec. 12-dated memorandum to Met department heads, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
76 percent! And in a boom year, with good casting.

(The sold-out Rigoletto aside, the only thing I've been to of late has been An American Tragedy. That seemed pretty full on both occasions, but I now wonder how much of it was paper.)

Incoming general manager Peter Gelb's instinct seems to be to up the stakes with more and trendier new productions. Is this, I wonder, a pitch for the local market or for the transatlantic one depressed since 9/11?

1 comment:

  1. There was a fair amount of visible velvet at AmTrag the night I went. Not 24%, I wouldn't have said. On the other hand a new opera probably got a fair amount of papering, so it's hard to say.


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.