Met Opera box office has slight uptick in 2nd season after pandemic

FILE - People appear in Josie Robertson Plaza in front of The Metropolitan Opera house at Lincoln Center in New York on March 12, 2020. The Metropolitan Opera saw a slight uptick in ticket sales in its second season following the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) (Kathy Willens, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Opera saw a slight uptick in ticket sales in its second season following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Met sold 66% of tickets during the season that ended Saturday, up from 61% during the 2021-22 season.

Sales were lower than budgeted because of a cyberattack in mid-December that shut down the company's website and box office for nine days and left operations limited for several weeks. Without the shutdown, the Met projected 68% attendance. The opera's available dollar capacity, which takes into account the impact of discounts, ticked up a percent last year to 57%.

Still, figures are down from 75% attendance in 2018-19 and a projected 76% for 2019-20 before the mid-March shutdown caused by COVID-19.

“We have seen improvements,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said Wednesday.

“The Hours,” the Kevin Puts' opera featuring Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato and Kelli O'Hara sold 86% of tickets and had four sellouts among eight performances. The Met is reviving “The Hours” for eight performances next May.

The Met said the average age of its single-ticket buyers, which comprise 75% of sales, had decreased to 44 from 50 in 2023.

“I'm encouraged by the significant change in the audience age,” Gelb said. “It's more diverse, so I feel encouraged by the fact that we're building an audience for the future. But we still have to get beyond the impact of the pandemic on the older audience, which may be a lasting one.”

The New York Philharmonic said Wednesday it sold 89% of paid capacity in its first season at Lincoln Center’s renovated David Geffen Hall.

The Met released its tax form for the year ending last July 31, which showed revenue of $281.6 million, up from $163.8 million in the previous fiscal year, when all performances were canceled due to the pandemic. Revenue, heavily reliant on fundraising, remained below $294.5 million in the year ending July 31, 2020, when the pandemic wiped out the final 58 performances. Contributions and grants rose to $187.7 million from $140.4 million.

The Met's endowment trust decreased to $47.1 million from $49.2 million.

Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin earned $1,195,702 in the last fiscal year, up from $662,283, and Gelb earned $1,094,327, down from $1,331,060.