Thursday, October 15, 2009

House Problems

No, not Dr. Gregory House, the eponymous crank at the center of a popular TV show. The house management and ticketing systems of Zellerbach and Berkeley Symphony.

I went to the first program of Berkeley Symphony tonight, at the suggestion of my friend Mike, who thought it would be fun to check out Joana Carneiro, the new kid on the blockmusic director. We emerged from Naan 'n Curry 15 minutes before the concert, got to Zellerbach, and found a 40-person-long line for will call. Mike had in hand a printout with ticket numbers and bar codes on it, because he'd bought the tickets on line and the receipt was print-it-yourself. Being a couple of nerds, and knowing the scanner systems now in use at SFS and SFO, we thought maybe you could walk up to the front door, get the paper scanned, and be admitted.

No such luck. So we stood on line and the folks at will call handed him an envelope containing tickets. They did not scan the or do anything at all with the bar code printout. So, they're half-way to a good on-line ticketing service, in that they can generate a bar code for home printout, but it can't be read and used for admission at the concert venue, even though that would speed up admissions considerably.


As for the inside the house issues....almost everyone got seated on time, at the beginning of the program, though a few stragglers were admitted after the opening number, John Adams's The Chairman Dances. The real fiasco was after the intermission. The house lights came down while dozens of people were still being seated, and poor Joana Carneiro was sent out to the podium while most of those were still standing. WTF? No one is keeping an eye on whether the audience is still being seated? There is no reason the conductor should have to stand there for ninety seconds waiting for the audience to settle in and quiet down; it was an amazingly unprofessional and incompetent way to treat the audience, the orchestra, and the conductor.


Michael Walsh said...

I was appalled at stranding the conductor on stage as well. BSO could get one of those four-note xylophones. People would get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to having somebody peek out from backstage to see if the audience is seated yet?

Lisa Hirsch said...

That is what I was trying to say. Competent house management thinks about these things.