It bears repeating: at the Met, the most expensive opera tickets are indeed expensive, but you can stand behind the orchestra section—or even sit at the upper reaches of the house—for less than the cost of an IMAX showing at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 multiplex up the road. This persistent fiction of “elitism,” and contemporary classical music’s supposed inaccessibility, is one of the strongest propagandistic tools ever devised by the titans of corporate pop culture. They would prefer you not ever cost-compare a Family Circle seat to Satyagraha alongisde a 3D screening of Transformers 3.

-Seth Colter Walls

You can read that — and more — here.


  1. That quote seems a bit over the top. I really doubt that the mainstream pop culture “devised” the “elitist” label just to stifle competition from the classical world. Too often in the past, been our own worst enemies in that regard. And I can’t imagine anybody in the pop world feels threatened by The Met.

    But it’s still a good thing he does to remind us that we’re not really more expensive than most other kinds of mass entertainment.

  2. Yep, it is a wee bit over the top. Good thing the pop world never goes there, eh? 😉

    When I checked out the prices for some pop stars I was pretty amazed.

    Still, I go to see a ball game in San Francisco and between the food and the tickets we spend a huge hunk of money there, too. (And we always search for free parking, or we’d add around $30 to the cost.)

    Mostly we spend money on what we think is important to us, I think. For some that will be Lady Gaga. For some a ball game. For some it’ll be Beethoven and others Philip Glass. For some it’ll be dress up time and others prefer dress down time. For some it’ll be rowdy and some want reverential quiet. For some the entertainment will be two men beating each other up. We live in a world of variety, and people aren’t all going to agree on what is worth the money. Go figure.

  3. patti with an i

    No, we aren’t all going to agree on what we think is worth spending our money on. But he’s absolutely correct that only symphony and opera and similar kinds of “high” culture get tagged with the “elitist” label, despite not being any more expensive than things which are regarded as more populist. Try as one might, it’s impossible to spend as much on a Symphony Silicon Valley ticket as it costs to get a prime seat for Lady Gaga or the Sharks. There’s just as much of a “proper” dress expectation at either of those events, too!

  4. So true. I was on vacation in london for about a week and went to the bbc proms in the Royal Albert Hall twice – mahler five, and something with a piano concert by mozart and a piece I don’t remember – for 5 pounds each time. I also found the attitude was less elitist in the cheap seats – it was this round sort of walkway around the hall, and it didn’t have seats, and people just went and sat and laid on the ground, some even reading a book!
    (there where still people in suits sitting up really straight in the more expensive seats, though)

    Also hi. I used to follow this blog but sort of forgot and now I’m back, I guess.

  5. Nice to see you back, Eefje! Hope all is well with you!