To the editor:
Regarding Ted Shen's Critic's Choice (September 5), we would like to correct the reference to "last season's alarming drop in attendance." Lyric Opera of Chicago did not experience a drop in attendance in its 2002-2003 season; in fact, the company sold 294,533 tickets to 86 performances, a slight increase over the 293,140 tickets sold to the 2001-'02 season. In 2001-'02 ticket sales reached 100 percent of capacity for the 84-performance season; in 2002-'03 Lyric sold 97.4 percent of its tickets in the 86-performance season. The slight drop in percentage of tickets sold can be attributed to the increased number of performances, as well as to the continued sluggish economy. It should be noted that companies such as the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera would be thrilled to have attendance figures in the neighborhood of Lyric's.
Manager of media relations
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Ted Shen replies:
I based my statement on what Lyric general director William Mason told me in the middle of last season: "We're going through a strange period now. Our ticket sales are at 94 percent--still an enviable figure, but not as high as in past years." Ticket sales have long been over 100 percent, yet some may not find the year-end figure of 97.4 percent quite as alarming as 94 percent.