Quarter time

THIS SUMMER'S CONCERT offerings are listed on the following page in ascending order of cost—and you might be surprised to see the Seattle Symphony so near the beginning. The list is a shade deceptive in that most of the low-end ticket prices reflect the student/senior discount, but for the SSO the low price is based on seat location, not age, and since there are no bad seats in Benaroya Hall, $10 is a good deal.

But if I had organized the list in terms of value, the results would have been different. Consider, for example, if you bought (or should I say had bought— it's been sold out for a while) the least expensive seat—$40—for G�rd䭭erung, the longest of the operas in Seattle Opera's August Ring cycle. Performances are scheduled to run from 6:30 to 11:45 p.m., which, taking out two intermissions of 20 minutes each, leaves 275 minutes of music at roughly 14.5 cents a minute. Compare this to, say, $25 for a 100-minute chamber music concert, which works out to a quarter a minute; or consider, too, the millions of notes you'd hear in the opera, as opposed to mere thousands. Finally, factor in the efforts of the hundreds of people needed to pull off a G�rd䭭erung (compared to a considerably less labor-intensive chamber concert), and you'll see that the Ring is the value-for-money bargain of the summer.

If this still isn't cheap enough—if you have not $40, but $0 to spend on summer music—there are options. You could volunteer for one of these organizations. Even the wealthiest music groups still rely on Good Samaritans, and that would get you in the door. But that, of course, would entail actual work; so if you're cheap and lazy, too, you could try the stratagem of bopping an usher on the head, dragging him or her backstage, and switching clothes (the time-honored method of infiltrating enemy camps and secret headquarters). As a last resort, since critics get two complimentary tickets to just about everything, I suppose you could get me to take you. I'd be happy to review your r鳵m鬠if you'd like to send me one. (Photos appreciated but not required.)

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