Much debate goes on about the cost of going to the opera, but ticket prices vary widely by theatre and price band. Here’s a quick comparison between eleven opera houses that are staging Rigoletto between now and the end of June, 2017. Verdi’s violent drama is a popular staple, of average length, and accessible to a wide audience, and I think it’s a good candidate for comparing admission prices.
First, the performances in ascending order by the Cheapest Ticket price:
In ascending order by the price of a Mid-Price Ticket:
And in ascending order by the price of the Most Expensive Ticket:
When possible, I’ve chosen a weekend performance (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) that is not a premiere, and I’ve left out (student) discounts and festival prices. A “mid-price” ticket is difficult to define in houses where price bands are determined by seating sections with widely divergent prices. In such cases, I picked the cheapest price in the mid-range section.
A couple of observations:
- It will surprise no-one that Eastern European prices are the cheapest and American houses the most expensive.
- Some A-list theatres, such as the Vienna State Opera and the Bastille, sell some of the most expensive Rigoletto tickets in Europe, but also cater for tight budgets with 15-euro tickets. Whereas Dutch National Opera and Dresden choose to rob less from the rich to give to the poor. The gap between their bottom and top prices is much smaller. Which is the more democratic price structure?
- It can cost you as little as 5 euros (Paris) and as much as 417 euros (New York) to hear Željko Lučić as Rigoletto.