There's a widespread perception that opera's for the elite. No tux or JAR brooch or chauffeured car? No entry to the Met.
It's a stereotype with a small, 24-karat nugget of truth at its core. The most expensive seat in the Met's orchestra section is $310-- one flight up, a front-row seat in a parterre box is $445. That means a night out for two could cost close to $900.
But the Met seats 3,800 people. That's a lot of bodies to corral every night for a dying art form, so it shouldn't be a surprise that ticket prices vary widely. At the very top of the house, seats in the Family Circle, admittedly nosebleed territory, cost just $30. And if you're willing to put your Saturday night on the line, there's the weekend rush ticket lottery, where orchestra seats sell for just $25.
Compare that to entertainment with a less refined reputation.
-At "Kinky Boots," the musical by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, the cheapest seats are $87. And that's for only a partial view of the stage.
-Your lowest-priced option at a New York Rangers game is a $65 seat at the mezzanine level. Rink-side seats cost as much as $1,329.
-At the wildly successful production of "The Glass Menagerie," seats with partial views start at $42. The cheapest full-view seats in the theater start at $82.
It doesn't matter that you can pay more to see the opera if you choose. What's important is that the threshold to this "high art" is actually more accessible than what's often considered low-brow.
So you can leave your tux at home the next time you see Tosca. You'll need it for the Rangers game.