Homely but function is always preferable, because selling tickets is more important than looking good. Always make it easy for people to give you money, as my web site basics page says.
And also: I must report that the Met's IT staff (or whoever does the web design; could be an outside design company) neglected to check how it looks and works on mobile phones. I know this because I tried the site on my phone and it just didn't work. I didn't get a mobile-adapted site, and if they think they have "responsive design," which adapts automatically to your device, they are just wrong. I saw a lot of code instead of the web site, and, well, that is not want you want your customers to see. Removing the ? from the end of the initial URL did help, but after that? Completely useless. I could not find the fucking calendar!
Note: I am a user of the most popular mobile operating system in the world. There are about a billion Android phones out there. It's better if Android users can view your web site correctly! I mean, it can't be possible that they checked this, but only on iOS? No.
And also: board members, staff, and critics should be required to use the web site to buy tickets at least annually so that they experience exactly the same pain that audience members, aka your customers, experience. I am looking at you and you and you and you and you, big-city reviewers, who can call the press department and bypass this crap. You are advocates for the audience, and calling out terrible orchestra and opera web sites is one concrete and important way to advocate for the audience.
I am not looking at myself because I buy most of my own tickets, so I do go through the pain. And then I complain about it here and everywhere else I can, sometimes in letters to musical organizations.
And also: the Tessitura web site lists the NYPhil as a customer. Man, they have the ugliest Tessitura display I have ever seen. Pony up for something better and more functional, guys. What you have looks like Brown Paper Tickets, a ticketing provider used by many smaller organizations (that is, the ones who can't afford Tessitura). It works just fine, but using a Tessitura display of that type is...really very strange for the country's oldest symphony orchestra.
Oh, gosh, I went ahead and ranted.
So, public service announcement. If you hate the search function on an organization's web site, use Google instead. There is search help, believe it or not. You have to search for it, because somehow Google is allergic to context-senstive help, that is, having a link to that help center on the search page. That would make sense, right? And I should know.
Anyway, here's the syntax for using Google to search a specific web site:
For example, if you want to find the sole performance Maurizio Pollini is giving at the NY Philharmonic, type this into the Google search box and hit return:
site:nyphil.org "maurizio pollini"
If you want to see Semyon Bychkov's concerts, use this:
For the BSO's Elektra programs at Carnegie:
Or substitute Goerke or Nelsons or "Boston Symphony" for that last term.