But the Met is facing serious challenges. Staging live opera is expensive, requiring lavish sets, star singers, and an orchestra and chorus far larger than the biggest Broadway shows. Inflation increased the opera company’s burden, with shipping and material costs rising rapidly. And ticket revenue from in-person performances and movie-theater broadcasts last season was about $25 million less than before the pandemic.
In addition to tapping its endowment, the Met said it would take measures to cut costs and increase revenues that were suggested by the Boston Consulting Group, which had studied the company’s operations on a pro bono basis.
The Met has already started to produce fewer performances: 194 this season, down from 215 last season. It plans to change its schedule over the next few years so that each opera has more brief performances; Currently they may have two or three short runs spread out over the fall, winter and spring. Doing so would allow the company, which sometimes presents four different operas over the course of a week, to have fewer operas in rotation at any one time.
And plans call for scheduling the Met’s most popular titles, such as Puccini’s “La Bohème,” on weekends, when they bring in significantly more revenue than less familiar works. These changes, along with other cost-cutting measures and more targeted marketing efforts, are expected to bring the company approximately $25 million to $40 million in revenue each year.
Even before the pandemic, the Met, the largest performing arts organization in the United States, with an annual budget of about $312 million, faced existential questions as the old model in which patrons bought tickets for multiple productions each year faded. Fell.
The pandemic, which forced the company to shut down for more than a year and a half, compounded those troubles. Many of the Met’s patrons, who are older, stopped attending live performances and cinema broadcasts frequently, forcing the company to seek new audiences.