Last night, Seda and I went to the Munich Opera House where we saw the Bayerisches Staatsballett with a very interesting program featuring Century Rolls (Davide Bombana, John Adams), In the Country of Last Things (Michael Simon, Heiner Goebbels), and Elemental (Jacopo Godani, 48nord).
A couple of weeks ago I read an illuminating article in the FAZ about cities that have three opera houses. These were compared to the situation in Berlin where the city does not seem to be able to maintain three opera houses. One of the cities compared to Berlin was Munich and the interesting conclusion the author drew was that there seems to be a bigger and more supportive audience for opera in Munich than in Berlin. This is excatly the experience I made yesterday. The house was almost sold out, and this although we were seeing an experimental dance program with a lot of contemporary music that has been performed in Munich for quite a while. The Munich audience arrives early to the opera house. They wander around in the spacious lobbies, converse with friends, dine in the opera restaurant, or have drinks at one of the many bars which are distributed throughout the house. In the intermission people argue passionately about the performances and the music, they actually seem to care a lot about what they just saw.
You may think that Munich is a rich city and that audiences in Berlin don’t have enough money to go to the opera on a regular basis, but ticket prizes in Munich are really cheap. We had student tickets for 4,50 EUR and looking around the audience I noticed many young people. (Granted, the good seats are really expensive in Munich). In order to get cheap student tickets at the Staatsoper in Berlin you have to get to the box office one hour before the show begins, you have to wait in a long line, and you still have to pay 12 EUR. At the Komische Oper you can get student tickets in advance but there is only a 25% discount: not really cheap either.