Saturday, April 20, 2024

More on "Elitist Pop Culture"

Alex Ross has a post today about the notion of elitist pop culture, in which he quotes an article by Mark Swed this week and himself in 2014. Let me add a bit to the discourse: in 2006, I wrote about the cost of classical music and opera tickets for San Francisco Classical Voice. The article is gone from the SFCV web site, lost in a bad data migration, but the unedited version lives on at this blog. I quote (and when you read this bear in mind that these are 2006 prices):

But what kinds of ticket prices result from these expenses? Here are some representative single-ticket prices for different organizations (subscriptions usually result in a lower per-ticket cost):

  • Soli Deo Gloria is $18 general admission or $13 senior/student in advance, with students from K-8th grade free.
  • California Bach Society charges $25 general admission, $18 senior, $10 student
  • Berkeley Opera tickets are $40 general/senior, $15 youth/disabled
  • Philharmonia Baroque charges from $28 to $62
  • San Francisco Symphony tickets cost $20 to $107 at Davies, $29-55 at the Flint Center
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic seats cost $20 to $89 for their most recent visit to Davies, but $15 to $129 at home in Disney Hall
  • San Francisco Ballet tickets are $10 to $199
  • San Francisco Opera tickets range from $25 to $215

Are these prices unreasonable, given the cost of putting on these events? It might depend on what you compare the prices to. They’re undeniably higher than renting a DVD ($3) or attending a first-run film ($10). They’re in about the same price range as a ticket to the Oakland Raiders ($26 to $101). Rock concerts for big-name acts can be stratospheric: the Rolling Stones charge anywhere from $60 to $472 for a seat at one of their concerts, making a box seat at the Opera look like a bargain. Coldplay tickets run $40 to $80 in Chicago, while Sheryl Crow will set you back $16 to $300 at one venue.

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