Met Opera Box Office Breaks Record

There are a lot of opera aficionados out there and The Metropolitan Opera has the record sales to prove it.

The Met said Monday it broke previous records for opening day sales when the box office opened to the general public Sunday.

Sales topped $2.08 million, a 25 percent increase over last season's opening-day sales of $1.66 million, said Sommer Hixson, a spokeswoman for the Met. Sales on the Internet this year were nearly 50 percent higher than last year.

The opera's season is set to open Sept. 24, and Sunday was the first day to purchase single tickets for the upcoming season.

Hixson attributed the robust box office to the new leadership of general manager Peter Gelb and the announcement earlier this year that the Met will be presenting seven new productions in the new season. That is the most new productions at the Met in any one season since the nine in 1966-67, the company's first season at Lincoln Center.

Photos: A Night At The Opera

Hixson also cited a number of marketing and advertising initiatives, including an ad campaign on subways and buses and the live Times Square telecast of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," which opened the season last year.

This season the Met is producing a total of 28 operas, and as of Monday, about half the seats had been sold, Hixson said.

Gelb took over last August when Joseph Volpe retired after 16 years as head of the country's biggest musical institution.