K.Rohner's Blog -www.krohner.ch-

Posts Tagged ‘La Scala

Travelling for business to many places I feel my cultural activities fall short. But that’s only because of the awareness what I miss in my home town. I discovered many years ago that it is not really necessary to starve of culture. Cultural events take place all over the world and while travelling I started to like the adventures of the culture abroad in the Bolshoi, the Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, La Scala, the Bastille or any other place.

So whenever I am in a town somewhere in the world and there is an evening without duties I check out the programs for opera and concerts. If I am in command of the language I inform myself what is being played on stage. I want to know the exact time of the appearance and check with the concierge if it is possible to get tickets in the public sale. If the performance is sold out, then you know it is a very good quality and worth while to attend. I plan the transport to be in front of the door about twenty minutes before start of the performance.

In my inner self I tell me, you are going to have a nice evening in the opera or if I do not get any tickets go and have a nice dinner. So I gauge myself not to be disappointed if there are no tickets.

Usually it is very easy to find tickets in the area front of the evening box office. There are two kinds of sellers: the private people who can not attend the opera or the show, because of some misfortune and they try to get some money back from what they have spend for the evening. Often these are tickets of lower quality, because people who can pay really high prices they also do not care so much, if they can not attend the show. If I am satisfied with the ticket usually I ask to know the official price. “Well” I usually reply “I only planned to spend so and so much!” which is about half of the price. Most often you I get the ticket for the amount suggested. These people are afraid they will not get any money at all, so they take the cut in price.

The more interesting kind of negotiation is with the professional people. They usually get some quantities of tickets to sell above the official box office price.

They start their sales in the afternoon or about 1 to 2 hours before the performance. In Verona for example you can find them in the square before the arena already by lunch time. They very often cooperate with the concierges in hotels. The concierge then will tell you at his desk, the performance is sold out, but that he has some special connections to get tickets, but they are more expensive.

Often the professional dealers are 15 minutes before the start sitting on their last investments. If they are very shrewd they will still ask a price higher than printed on the ticket.  It is really the timing of the negotiations, because with every minute before the curtain goes up the probability that they may sell the ticket is becoming slimmer.

I just tell them that I do have only so much cash with me, because I am used to pay everything with the credit card. And that I am sorry not to be able to pay their requested price. I fake the walk away with some steps and prepare the exact amount of money, so I have it ready and I do not need to count the money in front of them. Then I just wait and see. Once it is more or less 5 or 3 minutes before the start they come an offer you the tickets on the price suggested by you. I take the ticket and literally run into the place to take the seat just before the performance starts. If your seat is in the middle of a long row you may inconvenience many people. I usually do that by apologising in my home tongue, so they understand I am a foreigner, which makes the case a little bit less drastic.

In the many years I have hardly ever stayed outside and most often I paid less than the official price. On top I spend my self a nice dinner anyway, since it was mostly a nice performance for good cash.

One hint from an insider: if you have a choice always select the ticket for the private box front seats, they are the best in this last minute venture. You are able to sneak in even, when the performance has started.