Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cher Publique, Tell Me Your Tales of Woe

I'm collecting stories of ticket-ordering frustration, concerning musical and theater organizations of all sizes, from your local chorus to the major symphony and opera companies, in any country. You can post anonymous or attributed comments or email me. Let me know if I can quote you in a blog posting or possible article; again, I can quote you anonymously or with attribution.


Immanuel Gilen said...

London's Royal Opera House is an absolute disaster. Unlike Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, etc. they don't have separate 'single tickets go on sale' dates per production.

This past April 6th, all of their summer productions simultaneously went on sale (including Domingo's Boccanegra and Netrebko in Manon). Their server is ill-equipped to handle the amount of traffic it gets, so that if you don't get an error message (chances are you will), you get stuck in a 'virtual queue' that takes over an hour to pass. I had to do that twice last Tuesday because the connection curiously timed out as I approached the end of the queue the first time around. At around 1pm (three hours after first trying), I finally got in to see Boccanegra was sold out and Manon left with a few 170 pound tickets. I have canceled my plans to go to London (which might not be a terrible loss considering I generally don't like Massenet, but that's beside the point).

I can't imagine being the only person to have this frustrating experience, and what about people who don't have the time or means to stay on top of things like this on a weekday??

Perhaps they don't care because the performances sold out anyways, but consider that I would have gone to Salome as well, which may very well fail to sell out. Plus I'm much less inclined to continue trying in future at all.

The Salle Pleyel in Paris is improbably worse (but that's an even longer story). I am not renewing my subscription with them, mostly because of box office indifference.

(on an orthographical side note, i think it's spelled 'public' in French)

Lisa Hirsch said...

"Publique" was deliberate. :)

Man. Yes, I've heard stories about the ROH web site from people on a small mailing list I read. Oy.

Would love to hear the Salle Pleyel story!!

Henry Holland said...

Oh, the ROH, about as user-hostile as it gets.

To simply find out what's being done over a whole season is a nightmare. They divide the season in to 4 parts (Fall, Winter etc.) and unless you are saavy enough to go to the press releases and read the season announcement, it can be a total mystery as to what is playing at Covent Garden in May, 2011. The last time I went to London, I simply ate the phone charges and called the box office, I didn't even want to try online.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The last time I was in London, I walked up to the box office to buy a ticket.