But I got a telemarketing call from the San Diego Opera at work yesterday and I got suckered into buying a ticket to see Tosca.
Just kidding. I did buy a ticket, but I didn't get suckered into it.
What concerned me was that the company offered to sell orchestra level seats at a discount. This type of discounting is unheard of with single performance tickets, so alarms immediately rang in my head.
I asked the caller, "Exactly how cr&ppy are your sales this season?" He seemed taken aback and a bit offended by my question. (In hindsight, I guess I could have been more tactful.) He only offered that the ticket sales are slower than what they were a couple of years ago.
I was quite sad, but not surprised, to hear this since several opera companies (including the legendary Metropolitan Opera) are facing financial crises of their own.
I told him that due to my own financial constraints, I won't be able to afford the orchestra seats even at the steeply discounted price, but that I was willing to buy a ticket in the $50 price range.
That gave me the option to buy a $35 nosebleed seat or a $65 slightly less nosebleeding seat. I opted for the $65 ticket.
You might think this was an unnecessary purchase that I can't afford - - and you'd be right. But I'm a true believer in supporting the local art and music community in good times and in bad. In an economic crisis, art and music institutions are usually the first to get their funding cut by government, private donations and other private endowments. With this credit crisis, ticket sales are clearly adversely affected as well.
In yesterday's post, I questioned the prudence of haggling with a business that I know is hurting. Now, I am struggling with whether attending an opera is truly a frivolous activity that I should cut out of my life.
I've decided that if I'm not going to go further into debt to attend the local symphony and opera, I'm going to continue to do so. This is really the only way I can show my support to artists and musicians who have dedicated their lives to provide culture, education and beautiful entertainment to the public. The alternative is to drive these folks out of business, which would leave a horrible legacy for our future.