Affordable opera tickets

How to get a discount Don Giovanni

1. Buy in advance. Opera really isn’t as expensive as you think. Purchase online and ideally when new season tickets are released to the public.

2. Chase return tickets. Some ticket holders won’t be able to attend a performance so their tickets are typically returned to the box office and resold to the public. ‘Returns’ can be purchased online, by telephone or in person. Tickets come back in dribs and drabs, but the closer to the performance, the more there are. Persistence is paramount, especially for the most popular productions.

3. Consider a restricted view seat. With a slight tilt of the head, you might gain a full stage view. The box office should explain the extent of the restriction. Look into standing room places too. These may be standard or allocated on a performance by performance basis.

4. Check concessions. There may be discounts for multi-ticket purchases, students, pensioners or the unemployed.

5. Ask about online rush seats. The Royal Opera House releases cheap seats on a Friday at 1 pm.

6. Enquire about loyalty schemes. ‘Friends’ membership schemes at the ROH or the ENO allow you to buy discounted rehearsal tickets among other perks.

7. Ask about special deals. ‘Secret Seats’ at the ENO is an ongoing lucky dip where you pay for a cheap ticket but end up in an expensive one.

8. Visit the Leicester Square discounted TKTS kiosk. It’s run by the Society of London Theatre ( and was formerly called the Official Half Price Booth. ENO tickets are occasionally available at TKTS .

9. No luck? Follow up in person or via telephone. Some offers may not be advertised and/or be available only very last minute.

10. Don't forget to look outside London such as Opera North, the Welsh National Opera or English Touring Opera. Tickets for productions outside the capital may be cheaper.


More stuff:

  • Check all offers and forthcoming performances at the Royal Opera House here
  • You can see opera sung in English at the ENO here.
  • Get all the basics on opera here with Classic FM’s guide. 


This guide is by our international property and opera guru, Saundra Satterless. Contact her on

Last updated 28 March 2018.