It is not too early to begin planning for operas you wish to see this coming season. Single ticket sales for the 2016-2017 season for Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and the Metropolitan Opera in New York are ongoing already, and those for other opera companies will become available between now and the end of August when exclusivity for season subscriptions expire. Seasonal listings for opera companies in the mid-Atlantic region can be found here. .
Timing is important. The good seats go first, especially the good cheap seats; matinees also tend to fill up early. If you are well off or want to splurge, and want to be nose to nose with the singers, or want to hang with the gilt-edged crew, then get the expensive seats and shine, but don’t pooh, pooh the cheap seats. I sat in the first and second tier balcony seats at the Kennedy Center for the recent four operas of the Ring Cycle; the views were good and the sound was great, better I think than the orchestra section seats! Cheap seats also allow you to see more operas. I sat next to a young woman on a flight from NYC recently who said she had attended almost all Met Opera performances the last two years, usually spending about $35 per seat. I was envious.
Right now you can buy full-view tickets to the WNO production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro for as low as $45. Figaro is on just about everyone’s list of the ten best operas of all time, and Met opera star, soprano Lisette Oropesa will play Susanna. Also, please keep in mind that such a low a price may not be available later. Beware the Kennedy Center's "dynamic pricing": as demand for tickets goes up, so does the price of the remaining tickets. I learned this the hard way with my late purchase of Ring tickets.
To help get you going, here is a chart with the dates when public sales of single tickets begin and the first opera offered by that company for the 2016-2017 season. Good luck and see you in the cheap seats:
Opera Company Tickets avail. First Opera and First Date
WNO/Kennedy Center….... Now…………..….The Marriage of Figaro, Sep 22
Opera Philadelphia…………..Aug 1……………..Breaking the Waves, Sep 22
Virginia Opera*…………….…. Aug 22……………The Seven Deadly Sins/Pagliacci, Sep 30
Pittsburgh Opera……………..Late Aug…………La Traviata, Oct 8
Metropolitan Opera…………Now………………..Tristan und Isolde, Sep 26
Met Opera in Cinemas……..Jul 20………………Tristan und Isolde, Oct 8
I included Met Opera because, even though not in the mid-Atlantic region, it is hard to leave the Met out. I included Met Opera in Cinemas because that is a locally popular series available at theaters though out the region. Anne Midgette of the Washington Post wrote an interesting and timely article recently on the impact of HD opera in cinemas, very balanced and insightful; recommended reading, and you will see several comments from OperaGene in the comments section if you access the article online.
*Keep in mind that Virginia Opera performances rotate from Norfolk to Fairfax to Richmond. The Seven Deadly Sins/Pagliacci offering begins in Norfolk on Sep 30, moves to Fairfax on Oct 8 , and to Richmond on Oct 14.