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LivingSocial recently offered tickets to the Minnesota Opera at a 50% discount. The reduced price: a single ticket to Mary Stuart for $50. Yes, that's about what you'd pay for a mid-range seat to hear the Minnesota Orchestra play Mozart, more than you'd pay to buy the best seat to Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie, over three times what you'd pay to see a burlesque show at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, and about five times what you'd pay to see a first-run movie at a local theater. But I knew that opera is the most fantastically expensive of the performing arts, and I wondered just how much of a savings from the true cost of the opera a $50 ticket represents.
I wrote to the Minnesota Opera; here's the response, direct from production director Kevin Ramach:
This is for [the] entire season of our current production year:
So the average ticket buyer is already paying less than 50% of his or her "fair share" of the full cost of the lavish production. A LivingSocial ticket represents even less—particularly given that the Minnesota Opera will only get about half of the $50 you pay to LivingSocial. So it's quite a deal. If you do attend Mary Stuart, it would be appropriate to pause during your pre-show dinner and raise a toast to the generous donors and sponsors who significantly subsidized your ticket cost.