How affordable is high culture? One great myth of our time — surely up there with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the Prince of Wales’s supposed eye for fine architecture — is that tickets for opera, theatre, ballet and orchestral concerts are too expensive, especially for the young. It’s a well-known medical fact that your blood boils more often as you get older. But few things set my corpuscles seething more than this oft-repeated chestnut.
In Britain, at least, it’s nonsense — as a music blogger (intermezzo.typepad.com) has just reminded me. She compared prices for top-range British orchestral concerts with similar events abroad. The cheap tickets to hear London’s orchestras range from £7 to £9 — same as a cinema ticket, and lower than at many pop and comedy venues. For comparison, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform with top soloists and conductors the cheapest seat is £30; and at the Berlin Philharmonic it’s a wallet-draining £46.