The Metropolitan Opera has set a record for its box office opening day, selling more than $2.6 million worth of single tickets for the new season.
The total, reflecting the sale of more than 24,000 tickets on Sunday, compares to $2.5 million in sales on last year's opening day. Sales included in-person purchases, plus those made by telephone and online.
The company's 33-week season starts Sept. 27 with a new production of Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" directed by Robert Lepage.
It's part of the Met's first new version in more than two decades of the German composer's four-part epic, "Der Ring des Nibelungen." And Met General Manager Peter Gelb was banking on a theatrical success by hiring the Canadian director whose dazzling audio-visual techniques have been called "visionary" by hip spectators.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his Met debut, James Levine will conduct "Das Rheingold" six times through April, starring bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.
The second part of the Ring, "Die Walkuere," premieres April 22, with Terfel, soprano Deborah Voigt and tenor Jonas Kaufmann. The full cycle is planned for the spring of 2012.
The 2010-11 season also features six other new productions, including Modest Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov"; Giuseppe Verdi's "Don Carlo" and his "La Traviata"; John Adams' "Nixon in China"; and Gioachino Rossini's "Le Comte Ory."
News of the record-setting ticket sales is especially welcome at the Met after several years of financial struggles exacerbated by the recession.
Sales were strong for the whole season despite the Met's first across-the-board ticket price increase in five years. Individual tickets went up an average of 11 percent, with seats for regular single performances ranging from $25 to $420, up from a range of $20 to $375 last season.