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New York Opera | Getting Cheap Metropolitan Opera House Tickets

Opera, a form of theatre in which music takes center stage and the performers are all gifted singers. An opera performance typically takes place in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra and led by a conductor. While opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century it eventually found its way around the world.

The first successful, dedicated opera house in the United States was the Academy of Music which opened in October 1854. The Metropolitan Opera House took over in 1883 and ushered in the opera in the states. Back then, watching an opera performance was considered a sign of absolute luxury and refined tastes. That's partly the reason this musical theatre genre is not loved by many. Yet, those who have watched an opera have only loved the experience - the soul stirring performances, breathtaking high notes, and beautiful orchestral music makes opera truly one of a kind.

While watching a Broadway show is an easy choice, you should opt for watching an opera if you're looking for an offbeat experience. Better yet watch both! Looking for tips on navigating the NYC opera scenario? Our Metropolitan Opera NYC guide has all the information you would need.

Metropolitan Opera House New York

The Metropolitan Opera began construction after a group of New York City millionaires were unable to secure box seats at New York's Academy of Music. Slighted, the millionaires decided to open their own opera house so that they could get good seats for the latest theatre performances. The Metropolitan Opera officially opened in 1883 with an opening night performance of Gounod's Faust, an Italian opera.

Tragedy struck a few years later and the Academy of Music was destroyed in a fire in 1866. While the academy moved to a new building, the Metropolitan Opera House replaced it as the city's primary opera venue. In 1966, the MET moved to its current Lincoln Center home.

The Metropolitan Opera House is a massive performance venue with a seating capacity of 3800. Officially the largest repertory opera house in the world, the MET attracts over 8,00,0000 patrons during the opera season. The opera house is opulent in every sense of the word- featuring motorized stages, hydraulic elevators, and state-of-the-art rigging systems. Visually, the MET boasts a stunning glass facade and decidedly modern aesthetics.

Over the years, the Metropolitan Opera House has hosted many iconic opera performances, including Nick Muhly's Two Boys, Phillip Glass' The Voyage, Prokofiev's War and Peace, John Corigliano's The Ghost of Versailles, and numerous others. The MET also functions as the home of the Metropolitan Opera Company, and the American Ballet Theatre in the summer.

MET Opera House Timings

The Metropolitan Opera House is officially open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM but the performance timings depend on the show. Most matinee performances start at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM and evening performances start at 7:30 PM or 8:00 PM.

Directions To MET Opera House

The Metropolitan Opera House is located between West 62nd and 65th Streets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. You can take the No. 1 subway to 66th Street (Lincoln Center) station. If you prefer taking the bus, many lines stop at the Met, including the M5, M7, M10, M11, M20, M66, M104 and BxM2

MET Opera House Entrances

The Metropolitan Opera House has two entrances for patrons. The primary one at front of the building and the newly opened South Entrance at the southeast corner of the MET.

How To Get Metropolitan Opera Tickets?

Watching an opera performance at the MET has become a New York tradition of sorts. A lot of tourists and even opera aficionado locals make their way to the opera house to experience the glorious aura of an opera performance. In fact, on average, approximately 800,000 people make their way to the MET for 200 different performances during the opera season. Given that it's one of the popular experiences in NYC, getting Metropolitan Opera tickets can be difficult if you don't plan ahead.

MET Official Website: The easiest way to get Metropolitan Opera tickets is from the MET's official website. All upcoming shows and their timings are mentioned on the website, making the process easy for you.

Lincoln Center: Alternatively, you can go to the Lincoln Center and purchase MET Opera tickets offline. This option is recommended for patrons who are not comfortable with technology.

Third Party Websites: The final (and best) option for getting Metropolitan Opera tickets is through third-party websites and mobile apps like Headout. These apps sell MET Opera tickets at a discount and usually offer a ton of other customer-friendly benefits.

Rush Tickets: Subject to availability, $25 Rush Tickets are offered online on the day of the performance. Tickets go on sale for Monday through Friday evening performances at Noon, for matinees four hours before curtain, and for Saturday evenings at 2:00 pm. Please be sure to log in before trying to purchase Rush Tickets. These tickets are only available online and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Tickets: The METOpera Students program offers full-time undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to purchase student tickets to select performances at a special student rate. MET Opera Student tickets are available online, by phone and at the Box Office.

Metropolitan Opera Seating Chart

With a seating capacity of a whopping 3800 people, the Metropolitan Opera House is the world's largest repertory opera house. The venue features the orchestra section on the ground floor and five levels of elevated seating in an inverted u-shape facing the stage. The five elevated levels are stacked on top of each other but bent slightly forward so that people get a good view of the stage no matter where they sit. To help you find the best seat in the house, we have broken down the Metropolitan Opera seating chart:

Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra

The biggest seating section in the MET Opera House is the orchestra, with a seating capacity of 1583. There are 100 standing row seats available as well that allow patrons to stand and watch a performance in case all the seats are sold out. The orchestra section has 33 rows in total from A to EE and different subsections that offer varying views of the stage:

  • Orchestra Premium Aisle

    The corner two seats on each side of the aisle for the first twenty rows

  • Orchestra Premium

    The center seats in the first twenty rows of the orchestra

  • Orchestra Prime

    Seats wrapping around the orchestra premium subsection on sides and at the back

  • Orchestra Front Side

    Seats at the far side of row C through O

  • Orchestra Balance

    The corner seats behind and to the sides of all the sections mentioned above

  • Orchestra Rear

    The last three rows in this section, including seats at the sides

  • Standing Room

    Located three rows behind the orchestra rear section, the standing room section doesn't offer physical seats for patrons but a general standing area.

Metropolitan Opera House Parterre

The first elevated section in the MET Opera House, the parterre houses 29 box seats that form an inverted horseshoe-shape. The parterre section has 220 seats spread across the following sections:

  • Parterre Center Premium: Seats in the first row of the center region

  • Parterre Center: Seats in the two rows immediately behind the center premium section

  • Parterre Side Box Rear: Rows two and three of the side boxes

  • Parterre Side Box Front: The first row of the side boxes

Metropolitan Opera House Grand Tier

The grand tier features a mix of orchestra and parterre-style seating. There's a big block of seats in the middle accompanied by 5 sets of box seats on either side. The central seating section has 382 seats while the boxes house 60 seats. There are 30 standing room places available at the end of the grand tier.

  • Grand Tier Premium

    The front three rows of the middle two center sections along with some seats on the aisles

  • Grand Tier Prime

    Seats in the center two sections, rows 4 and 5 and in the side center sections, rows 1 to 4

  • Grand Tier Balance

    Rows 5 and 6 of the center section

  • Grand Tier Box Front

    The first row of the side boxes

  • Grand Tier Box Rea

    The back row of the side boxes

  • Standing Room

    The standing room doesn't offer any physical seat and is located at the end of the grand tier

Metropolitan Opera House Dress Circle

With a layout that's identical to the grand tier, the dress circle houses 7 rows of seating in the middle with two sets of six box seats on either side. The center rows hold 386 seats while the boxes have 68 seats in total. Please note that the dress circle is accessible to the public only during ballet performances.

  • Dress Circle Premium

    The front three rows in the middle section and the first two rows of the side section

  • Dress Circle Prime

    Seats in rows four to six in the center sections and a majority of the side center sections

  • Dress Circle Boxes

    Six box seats on each side of this section, making up 68 seats

  • Standing Room

    There are 40 standing room places available at the end of the dress circle.

Metropolitan Opera House Balcony

With 362 seats spread across 7 rows, the balcony is amongst the smallest seating sections in the MET Opera House. The section also features 80 box seats although they offer obstructed views of the stage. The subsections on the balcony are as follows.

  • Balcony Premium

    The front three rows of the center section and much of the first three rows of the side center section

  • Balcony Prime

    Seats in rows 4 to 7 in the center section and some additional rows in the side center section

  • Balcony Balance

    Seats in the side center section, from rows 4 to 7

  • Balcony Boxes

    The two sets of 6 boxes on either side of the balcony

Metropolitan Opera House Family Circle

The family circle is the final seating section in the MET Opera House and furthest from the stage. Featuring 11 rows from A to K, the family circle section houses 592 seats in total. There are no box seats available in this section but standing row tickets are available for up to 75 patrons. The subsection breakdown is as follows:

  • Family Circle Premium

    Seats in rows one to four in the middle three sections

  • Family Circle Prime

    In the center sections, rows five through eleven and most of the side center

  • Family Circle Balance

    Seats in rows six to eleven on the side section

In a crux, here’s what you must know about the Metropolitan Opera Seating Chart

Value for money seats

  • Orchestra:Orchestra Prime

  • Parterre:Center seats

  • Grand Tier Rows four and five of center sections

  • Dress Circle & Balcony: Middle seats

Best views of the stage

  • Orchestra: First 20 rows in Center Orchestra

  • Parterre: First center row

  • Grand Tier: First three rows

Best seats in the house

  • Middle section seats of Orchestra, Parterre, and Grand Tier.

Best MET Opera productions

First Timer’s Guide To Opera in New York

  • Picking An Opera

    Like when deciding which movie or show to watch, think about what you like watching in terms of the genre. Romance, comedy, drama, action, there are all genres of opera available. If you're not aligned to a particular genre, you can opt for the classics, including La Boheme, Aida, Carmen, Don Pasquale and the like. When picking an opera to watch, do a little bit of research and read the show's synopsis. This will give you a fair idea of the kind of show to expect and help you make your decision.

  • Getting Your MET Opera Tickets

    There are numerous avenues using which you can procure MET Opera tickets. The easiest method is to book your tickets online from MET's official website. You can also book your tickets by calling 212-362-6000. Another option is visiting the Lincoln Center and purchasing tickets from MET Opera's box office. If you're looking for last-minute MET Opera tickets, try third-party apps like Headout. Additionally, you can try getting rush tickets that are available for $25. If you're interested in watching a show and the seats are sold out, often tickets are available for the family circle standing room ($25–30) and orchestra standing room ($25–40) that go on sale the day of the performance.

  • What To Wear

    Contrary to popular belief, there's no mandated dress code at the MET Opera. You can wear whatever you’re comfortable in as long as it's appropriate for a public gathering. Some people use the opportunity of attending an opera performance to dress up - expensive necklaces and velvet gloves. Then there are others who treat it like any other outing and wear jeans and a regular top or shirt. The good part is that an opera performance is the perfect setting to wear a fancy dress or flashy suit - the ones stashed at the back of your cupboard.

  • Before The Curtain Opens

    Operas generally run longer than a Broadway show and it's advisable to eat something before the performance begins. There'll be an intermission during the performance but the food and drinks available inside the venue are overly expensive. Once you enter the venue, ask an usher for your exact seat location and collect a playbill from them. The playbill contains information about the singers and conductor, which is interesting since typically the performers are from different parts of the world. Also included in the playbill is the synopsis as well as details about the intermission. While there'll be no overt spoiler in the playbill synopsis, tread carefully if you wish to avoid all details of the show.

  • Agrippina

    One of the most popular comedies written by George Frederic Handel, Agrippina is set in ancient Rome and features a breathtaking score. The opera recounts the tale of a woman who plots the downfall of the Roman Empire. Boasting a stellar cast that includes mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato playing the role of Agrippina and conductor Harry Bicket, Agrippina is amongst the best MET Opera shows playing currently. TGID 11069

  • Find Your Seat

    With 3800 seats spread across 6 different seating sections, the MET Opera House offers seats of all kinds. The venue features walls made from African rosewood, which is known for its acoustic properties. All the seats in the house are equipped with translation titles on their back for patrons who don't understand foreign languages like French, German or Italian. If your seat is at the far end of the venue, you might want to rent a pair of binoculars to see the actors clearly. Binoculars are available on rent at the South Concourse level near the coat check.

  • The Opera Performance

    Once everyone is seated and the lights go dim, the audience will begin applauding for the conductor as they walk to their stand. It's always good to applaud the conductor since they are the ones running the show. Most operas are performed in a language other than English so you should employ the subtitles available at the back of the seat in front of you to understand the performance.

  • Find Your Seat

    With 3800 seats spread across 6 different seating sections, the MET Opera House offers seats of all kinds. The venue features walls made from African rosewood, which is known for its acoustic properties. All the seats in the house are equipped with translation titles on their back for patrons who don't understand foreign languages like French, German or Italian. If your seat is at the far end of the venue, you might want to rent a pair of binoculars to see the actors clearly. Binoculars are available on rent at the South Concourse level near the coat check.

  • Intermission

    The length (and even presence) of an intermission depends on the length of the show. There are shows with intermissions that last almost 30 to 40 minutes and then others that don't have one. Check your playbill for intermission details. You can use this time to go to the washroom or grab something to eat or drink from one of the intermission bars. The bars are generally stocked with light bites like sandwiches and chocolate bars and drinks like soda, champagne, and water.

  • Curtain Call

    The curtain call for an opera is much longer than most theatrical performances. Opera curtain calls run long, with the singers, occasionally the chorus, conductor, and design team enjoying their center stage moment. While long, the curtain call is also loads of fun as dramatic actors put their all in making their bow memorable.

Tips For Your MET Visit

  • Do a little research on what an opera performance entails if you're attending your first opera. This includes watching videos and reading articles and reviews online. With a fair bit of knowledge of what to expect, you'll be able to fully appreciate the experience.

  • While there's no decreed dress code at the MET Opera, you have the option to take the opportunity and dress up in your fanciest clothes. For clothing and fashion inspiration for the MET, follow the Instagram account "Last Night at the Met”.

  • Most operas in the Metropolitan Opera House are in languages other than English. To help you understand what's going on at the stage, every spot in the house is equipped with a small, seat-back screen that features subtitles in different languages. Some of the language subtitles available include French, German Russian, Italian, Czech and more!

  • Typically, operas have a duration of three hours or more and feature an intermission of about 30 minutes. Use this time to explore the beautiful Metropolitan Opera House and learn more about its history. You can also head to the MET Opera Shop to grab gifts and souvenirs.

  • Finding a good seat at the Metropolitan Opera House can be a bit challenging since there are over 3800 seats to choose from. This is especially true if it's your first time attending an opera. To avoid picking a bad seat, opt for any seat labeled premium or prime in any section. Do note that these seats are generally amongst the most expensive in the house.

  • If you're on a tight budget and don't care for the view offered, you can book seats labeled "obstructed view". While the view from these seats might not be the best, you'll be able to hear the stunning vocals in all their glory.

  • Metropolitan Opera House is a fascinating building with a lot of history. Experience everything there's to this performance venue by opting for a backstage tour. When booking your tour, make sure to time it either before or after the scheduled performance time. This way you won't have to travel to the museum on two separate occasions.

  • Opera is the quieter cousin of Broadway and cheering loudly, especially in the middle of the performance is frowned upon. Wait for the designated applause break during the intermission or curtain call to show your appreciation.

FAQs - New York Opera

How much is a ticket to the Metropolitan Opera?
On average, tickets to the MET start at around $25, with more than a third of tickets available for under $100.
How can I buy tickets to the MET Opera shows?
  • Online — Book your MET Opera tickets from MET's official website.
  • Mail — MET Ticket Service, Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, New York, New York 10023, U.S.A.
  • Phone — Call 212-362-6000
  • Box Office — Get your tickets from the box office located in the North end of the front lobby.
Is the MET Opera House open on Christmas and New Years’ day?
NA.
What do you wear to the Metropolitan Opera House?
While there is no dress code at the MET, it's recommended to wear comfortable clothing appropriate for a professional setting.
Can I wear jeans to the opera?
Yes, you can wear jeans to the MET Opera House.
Which is the closest restaurant to the MET Opera House?
There are numerous great food options near the MET Opera House. Some of your options include; Lincoln Ristorante, The Grand Tier, Lincoln Center Kitchen and more.
What are the best seats at the MET Opera House?
Generally, seats in the Orchestra Prime and Parterre Box are considered the best in the house.