Although Seattle Opera is known as one of the world’s top operas for Wagner fans, the organization puts on an entirely worthy bel canto and doesn’t shy away from more modern fare. Seattle Opera recently announced its 2012/13 season, and it’s something to get excited about, especially for those of us who can’t quite manage to muster the appropriate reverence for a certain German composer.
The season begins in August with Puccini’s extravagant Turandot, set in Imperial China’s Forbidden City. In October, Beethoven’s only opera, the politically charged Fidelio, is reimagined in a modern fascist state. Rossini’s comedic Cinderella brings a little sunshine to January, while in February and March we are graced with that classic entry point for new opera fans, Puccini’s La Boheme. In May, the season ends with a double bill of Seattle premieres â€“ Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Puccini’s Suor Angelica.
Despite the fact that ticket sales cover only 40% of Seattle Opera’s budget, their ticket prices are among the highest of performing arts organizations in Seattle. There are paths around those high ticket prices, however, and the good folks at the box office are happy to help you navigate them. Here are a few tricks for scoring cheaper opera tickets.
- Ask for the cheap seats. There are a few $25 seats in the back corners of the second balcony. The sight lines are not the best, but they aren’t terrible, and the sound at McCaw Hall is excellent wherever you sit. These seats sell out quickly, so plan well ahead.
- Bring friends. If you gather a group of ten or more, you all get 15% off your ticket price.
- Join the rush. Students and seniors can sign up for the rush program. Student rush members can buy a same-day ticket for $20. Seniors (65 and over) may purchase a $40 ticket. Â Seattle Opera also offers significant discounts (up to 50% under certain circumstances) for students and seniors who subscribe.
- Stand around. You can buy a ticket that doesn’t come with a seat. For $15, you can watch the performance from the back of the Orchestra, and you do, literally, stand throughout the performance (you cannot sit in any unoccupied seats, but there is a padded rail to lean against).
- Join the club. The Bravo! Club is a subscription option for anyone under forty. Membership costs $65, but comes with deep discounts on season tickets. Members get all the usual subscriber perks (including discounts on extra tickets, flexible payment plans, free pre-show podcasts) as well as invitations to special events throughout the year that include free receptions during intermission as well as social events between performances.
- Just be yourself. If you are a teenager, a student, a member of the military, or a senior, you are eligible for discounted single tickets. If you do not fall into any of these groups, you can still visit the opera’s website and sign up for their email list. They regularly send out special deals.
- Find hidden tickets. If you can’t wait for next season, Seattle Opera’s Orpheus Odyssey is a treasure hunt going on right now. The hidden treasure is a pair of tickets for the closing night of Orphee et Eurydice. Rules of the game are posted on the Seattle Opera Blog.
Tickets can be purchased online, but restrictions apply to nearly all of the cheaper options, so it’s best to call the box office at 206-389-7676 for help getting the best deal. With some planning, Seattle Opera really can be affordable, even for those of us whose incomes more closely match those of the characters in La Boheme than the folks watching from the box seats.