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New York’s Performance Benefactors Wrestle With How to Fill Seats

“We need to reframe the debate as ‘Get back to the city’, rather than ‘Get back to the office,’” says Henry Timms, who runs Lincoln Center.

Keri-Lynn Wilson, who is conducting Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk this season, with  Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera.

Keri-Lynn Wilson, who is conducting Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk this season, with Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The crowd that comes out for black-tie opening night galas of the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall are not exactly the people who need to be coaxed back to theaters and museums. But these benefactors are highly aware of the citywide slump in attendance at operas, Broadway shows, concerts, and dance performances. And they’re trying to lead by example.

“I'm going to everything I can,” said soprano Renée Fleming at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera on Sept. 27.