I attended the opera (on a $20 rush ticket) and exited after Glass appeared onstage and the applause had ended. When I got down to the plaza, the police were still not letting operagoers approach the barricade, and in fact I witnessed a man (not in a suit) get arrested for simply walking down the steps attempting to reach the OWS protesters (who I joined on the sidewalk). It was only after most people had left that the police allowed the two groups to meet.
As to the cost and accessibility of opera at the met: their outreach and education programs fall short. Student tickets cost $25-35 (for good seats, but why are they more expensive than rush orchestra seats?), are only for limited shows, and are only available to students under 29. The existing school outreach program leaves a vast number of empty seats at final dress rehearsals that could be made available to college students or members of the public at little or no cost. I am a PhD student in music history at CUNY, and the one time (the I know of) the Met offered a block of dress rehearsal tickets to Graduate Center students, they were all snapped up in hours, and used. And the cost of an IMAX ticket (or even cheap tix at the met) is often prohibitive if you are going to grad school full time, working full-time for CUNY teaching, and making 16-18K on fellowship. I have tried taking my undergraduate students to performances through the met outreach program, but even though the met will allow universities to participate in the school outreach program, the schedules don't fit class times and my sense is that very few area universities are participating. If they allowed college students to attend dress rehearsals on their own schedule rather than as a group (they issue blocks of tickets to the instructor), many, many more area college students could enjoy the opera. Yes, you can go to the met on a budget. But the organization could be doing much more for the community without straining their existing resources.