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A Three-Penny Opera?

[whitespace] Budget your culture and save the money for pâté

By Michael Stabile

Not everyone can afford the $1,500 gala dinner and premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire. And although they are significantly cheaper, box seats to other opera performances, like Norma, Tristan und Isolde or Don Carlo, can run as much as $145. There is always the option of sitting in the side-rear balcony at $25 a ticket, but from that far away you might as well be watching a flea circus perform the arias. But no one ever said that being a broke aesthete would be easy.

For the truly dedicated, however, there is standing room. The San Francisco Opera sells 200 standing-room tickets to each performance, at $10 a piece, starting at 10am on the day of the performance. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, and standees are admitted according to ticket number, but you're free to stand in any section of the opera, provided there's room.

The best "seats," according to at least one sore-legged veteran, are in the Dress Circle and the Grand Tier, where the view is spectacular, but the seated patrons seem less irked by the presence of the poor (standees in Orchestra often elicit an icy stare). If you are going to be standing for four hours straight, you might as well feel welcome.

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From the October 5-18, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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