Met Opera Breaks Box Office Records

TicketsMusical TheaterEntertainmentSocietyMusicJohn AdamsRobert Lepage

The Metropolitan Opera has set a record for itsbox office opening day, selling more than $2.6 million worth ofsingle tickets for the new season.

The total, reflecting the sale of more than 24,000 tickets onSunday, compares to $2.5 million in sales on last year's openingday. Sales included in-person purchases, plus those made bytelephone and online.

The company's 33-week season starts Sept. 27 with a newproduction of Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" directed by RobertLepage.

It's part of the Met's first new version in more than twodecades of the German composer's four-part epic, "Der Ring desNibelungen." And Met General Manager Peter Gelb was banking on atheatrical success by hiring the Canadian director whose dazzlingaudio-visual techniques have been called "visionary" by hipspectators.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his Met debut, James Levinewill conduct "Das Rheingold" six times through April, starringbass-baritone Bryn Terfel and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.

The second part of the Ring, "Die Walkuere," premieres April22, with Terfel, soprano Deborah Voigt and tenor Jonas Kaufmann.The full cycle is planned for the spring of 2012.

The 2010-11 season also features six other new productions,including Modest Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov"; Giuseppe Verdi's"Don Carlo" and his "La Traviata"; John Adams' "Nixon inChina"; and Gioachino Rossini's "Le Comte Ory."

News of the record-setting ticket sales is especially welcome atthe Met after several years of financial struggles exacerbated bythe recession.

Sales were strong for the whole season despite the Met's firstacross-the-board ticket price increase in five years. Individualtickets went up an average of 11 percent, with seats for regularsingle performances ranging from $25 to $420, up from a range of$20 to $375 last season.

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