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The post-Volpe era at the Metropolitan Opera begins with a populist bang: They're slapping ads on any surface to which they'll stick. The Times reports that with opera's natural audience now noisily unwrapping its sour candies in that great hall in the sky, a new generation of people willing to spend $300 to watch carb-fuelled grotesques belt out "Ernani involami - all'abborrito amplesso" must be found, and soon. Will the strategy work? The Times trots out high-culture expert Leon Wieseltier, who seems skeptical:

"There is an honorable tradition of advertising musical and theatrical productions, but this poses a difficult challenge. Opera will never again be a popular taste, and coaxing masses of young people into highbrow pleasures isn't easy. The young are not necessarily the hip, and the hip is not necessarily what will sell out a pharaonically large venue."

Yeah, we want to drop three hundred bucks to sit next to that guy. We're gonna stick with My Chemical Romance, thanks.

The Metropolitan Opera's New Stage [NYT]