The New York Times’ Michael Paulson and Javier C. Hernández, surveying the prospects for renewed attendance at events in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, cite a study by the analytics firm TRG Arts, showing that among 243 North American performing-arts organizations ticket sales dropped by 40 percent in the 2021-22 season, with ticket revenues down by 31 percent.
Performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera played to 61 percent capacity last season, compared with 75 percent of seats sold before the onset of the pandemic in 2020. “The biggest problem is that we haven’t finished with the pandemic,” says Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager. “I believe our audience is there – just some of them are in hibernation.”
Norman Lebrecht, on his Slipped Disc blog (http://slippedisc.com) has reported that attendance has been down for a number of major European summer festivals.
By the end of September, we should have a fair measure of whether attendance will rebound for classical events in the Richmond area, with the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts, the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia and the new Belvedere Series of chamber programs all launching their new seasons. Virginia Opera and the visiting classical artists series at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center open their seasons in October.