The new program, one of several the Met has launched recently to reach new audiences, has been funded by a $2 million gift by Agnes Varis, a managing director on the opera house's Board of Directors, and her husband, Karl Leichtman. The couple also funded the company's recent advertising program on New York streets and mass transit as well as the September 22 open house in which 3,000 people received free tickets to a dress rehearsal of the Met's acclaimed new production of Madama Butterfly.
Speaking of the new rush tickets, Dr. Varis said, "This first-ever Met program brings great opera within everyone's reach, and it doesn't get better than that."
The $20 rush tickets will be available for all performances Monday through Thursday (except, of course, those for which $100 seats are already sold out) at the Met's box office beginning two hours before curtain time on the day of performance. There is a limit of two tickets per purchaser.
Other initiatives to expand audiences which the Met has undertaken or announced recently include: reducing the price of its least expensive Family Circle tickets from $26 to $15; the simulcast of selected Saturday matinee performances into movie theaters around North America and elsewhere (admission $18), with subsequent television broadcast on PBS; the launch of an all-Met channel on Sirius Satellite Radio; and the development of a listening library of performances in streaming audio to be available on the opera house's web site.
For information about and schedules of the Metropolitan Opera's 2006-07 season, visit www.metopera.org.