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'Romeo & Juliet'... and free parking at L.A. Opera

October 20, 2011 |  9:00 am


For opera fans in L.A., one of the big turn-offs of attending performances downtown is having to shell out $9 to park in the dark, labyrinthine garage beneath the Music Center. But for one day, opera patrons will be able to park their cars for free thanks to a new initiative from L.A. Opera.

The company said that parking will be free at the Music Center garage for the Nov. 6 matinee performance of Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette." Ticketholders can receive a parking voucher by calling (213) 972-8001 or stopping by the box office by Oct. 25 and mentioning the code "Parking Badger."

L.A. Opera said the offer is limited to one parking voucher per household.

Wherefore this generosity, Romeo? L.A. Opera said the promotion is part of a new research project being conducted by its marketing department.

In essence, the company "wants to make attending opera a more pleasant experience," said Diane Rhodes Bergman, vice president of marketing and communications.

She said opera patrons in L.A. tend to be pleased with the experience while in the hall itself, but that before and after "is less pleasant." In addition to the free-parking pilot, the company is planning to test other initiatives, including waiving fees for online ticket purchases as well as a bring-a-friend privilege, but no dates have been set for the latter two.

L.A. Opera will absorb the cost of the Nov. 6 free-parking promotion, said Bergman. She said the company will gauge how its patrons respond to the various initiatives before making any decisions.

The Music Center parking garage is owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles, according to a spokeswoman for the Music Center. The county contracts with the company Classic Parking to oversee the operation of the garage.


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-- David Ng

Photo: The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times