“It’s a small gesture — like bringing back tickets for my daughter’s ballet recital,” Linda Gaiter said Friday morning in the lobby of the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, looking a bit frustrated. Her nine-year-old daughter had gotten tickets to Saturday’s performance of The Nutcracker, sold through Ticketmaster. “I’m only getting one chance to do it,” she said. “And I don’t have time to come back and get something more expensive.”
Gaiter and more than 2,000 other people started to learn on Thursday that a ticket lottery for seats to the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming 2019-2020 season — and possibly the next five seasons — would be opened online. Last month, the Met released to the New York Times a $5.5 million grant that it got from the New York City fund for affordable housing, known as the Affordable Met Opera Project.
So what’s the point of that, ask some ticket-holders in line? “We’re falling behind,” Gaiter said. “You can’t be everywhere and do everything. It’s selfish.”
An employee from Ticketmaster moved around the line, trying to take tickets from prospective buyers. (There was another line for tickets to shows — and to Steiner Studios, where troupes like Cirque du Soleil and the New York City Ballet train, and which is staying open for free this week. At least two dozen passersby stopped to help.)
Meanwhile, the line, which was backed up four blocks, was quiet. It wasn’t so quiet that the audience members couldn’t hear the orchestra, though the pianist hunched over nervously as he played a cello solo; he nodded approvingly when the audience member next to him whispered that it was very beautiful. The raps and reed work — gorgeous — on the solo alto saxophone.
But the excitement of those remaining until the end of the line started to reach a fever pitch when the hallway disappeared, and the trickle of ticket holders filled the lobby.
The Met will now offer free seats to all of its artists — actors, singers, dancers — for every opera and ballet performance in the city for the next five years, as well as free concerts and summer performances. But being a fan of the Met can cost a pretty penny. Even when considered only against private and public funding, ticket prices will stay about the same.
So it’s nice to see you, people. Let me try to say thank you.
Standing ovation follows