Why watch UFC when you can pay-per-view the Met Opera?

Peter Gelb, general manager for the coronavirus-battered Metropolitan Opera, announced a new pay-per-view option this week on Zoom.

Why watch UFC when you can pay-per-view the Met Opera?
[Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera]

America’s foremost performing arts organization is taking a cue from Ultimate Fighting Championship.


The Metropolitan Opera, whose regular performances at New York’s Lincoln Center have been on hold since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, is launching a pay-per-view option today, letting stir-crazy music lovers get their opera fix with a series of live-streamed concerts for $20 a pop. The 12 concerts will take place throughout the summer and fall at various scenic locations in Europe and the United States, and will feature such vocal power-hitters as Jonas Kaufmann, Renée Fleming, Roberto Alagna, and Aleksandra Kurzak.

Met Opera boss Peter Gelb announced the new venture via Zoom this week. Tickets are set to go on sale today at noon and can be purchased on the Met Opera website.

With a sprawling operating budget of over $300 million and a heavy reliance on the deep pockets of rich patrons, the Met is facing an existential crisis in the COVID-19 era. Mass gatherings in New York have been sidelined since March, and while the organization has said it hopes to reopen its doors on December 31, theater insiders increasingly believe indoor venues will not be able to welcome large crowds until there is a working vaccine or treatment.

That makes pay-per-view streaming a potentially vital stopgap for the Met as it plans for its post-pandemic future. In March, the organization began offering free streams of past performances, and a rep says some 11.8 million people have viewed the series since. The streaming series also helped generate 30,000 new donors, the Met says.

The forthcoming live concerts will be accessible for 12 days after each event, and you can watch them on your computer, phone, or smart TV with Chromecast or AirPlay.


Check out the full schedule below:

  • July 18 at 1 p.m. ET: Jonas Kaufmann, live from the Polling Abbey in Polling, Bavaria
  • August 1 at 1 p.m. ET: Renée Fleming, live from the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • August 16 at 1 p.m. ET: Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak, live outdoors from the Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Èze, France (sole Sunday performance)
  • August 29 at 1 p.m. ET: Lise Davidsen, live from the Oscarshall Palace in Oslo, Norway
  • September 12 at 1 p.m. ET: Joyce DiDonato, live from the Fundació Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain
  • September 26 at 1 p.m. ET: Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczała, live from Barcelona, Spain (location TBD)
  • October 10 at 1 p.m. ET: Anna Netrebko, live from Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna, Austria
  • October 24 at 1 p.m. ET: Diana Damrau and Joseph Calleja, live from Malta (castle location TBD)
  • November 7 at 1 p.m. ET: Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena, live from Zurich, Switzerland (location TBD)
  • November 21 at 1 p.m. ET: Sonya Yoncheva, live from Berlin, Germany (location TBD)
  • December 12 at 1 p.m. ET: Bryn Terfel, live from Wales (church location TBD)
  • December 19 at 1 p.m. ET: Angel Blue live from New York City (location TBD)

This post has been updated.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine