THE fan blog
Contact: irina.stanescu@ymail.com
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The black market of the Opera

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Almost each product at some point has a black market. Lately I noticed that opera tickets get sold on such websites. It's an "official" black market. There are people who know the value of the tickets (meaning they know who's performing, how difficult it is to buy tickets), they buy many tickets when they get the chance and after a while, when the performance is sold out, they start selling the tickets. This is not nice or fair for those who really want to attend but it's extremely profitable. Just one example. The tickets for the New Year's Eve concert in Vienna can't be bought like regular tickets. You have to put your name on a list and at the end of January there's a drawing. Those who are chosen are allowed to buy the tickets. I saw a couple of tickets for sale on a website like this one last year. Guess how much the seller was asking for one ticket... 8000 euro! There is no limit for the price of the tickets. For sure there are people willing to pay these huge amounts of money. Otherwise the sellers wouldn't set this enormous prices.
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There are some opera singers that sell the performance instantly. In 10 minutes or less there are no tickets available. The day the tickets go on sale there are long online queues. Thousands of people are waiting patientely to buy one ticket.
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In this case, somebody is trying to sell tickets for Adriana Lecouvreur on November 30th 2010. The introduction is bombastic: The Royal Opera House in London, United Kingdom, is hosting a spectacular music event: Angela Gheorghiu will be playing a live concert on 30-11-2010!. And goes on: it is now the time and the place to order your Angela Gheorghiu Royal Opera House tickets. The event is not on sale. It won't be on sale until June or July next year. And it's not even the premiere. It's the fourth performance in the run. These are the proper words to persuade you to spend double the real value of the ticket: 359 UK pounds for "category 1 ticket" and 292 UK pounds for "category 2 tickets". Only that the seller forgot to mention the face value. Maybe because he/she doesn't know it. And he/she doesn't know that the Royal Opera House has names for each category... And one more thing. You are allowed to buy up to 60 tickets for each category. How in the world is one person able to buy 120 tickets from the Royal Opera House for a performance with Angela Gheorghiu? Nobody. They're just trying. If it works, lucky them.
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This is how some people earn money. They know as well as we know that the event will be sold out very quickly and it would be murder to get a ticket. But it's better to choose the official way. Using these kind of websites is no guarantee that you'll actually get the ticket. You'll be asked to put the credit card details, the credit card will be charged and you'll start waiting for the tickets. Which might not come. If you still want to use this kind of websites, take some time and read the "terms and conditions" section.
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I got angry when I saw this because I know how difficult it might be to buy opera tickets. Consider it a warning!
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I wrote this about one week ago and today, before posting it, I checked that website again to see if anything changed. There are even more performances on sale. All Adriana Lecuvreour run, the Traviatas at the ROH, the concert at the Royal Festival Hall and the concert in Berlin.

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5 comments:

  1. Linda Smith6/11/09 8:44 PM

    This was the case before the Met season tickets went on sale. There were several sites selling Carmen tickets at higher prices!

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  2. Bravo, Irina for your high level of integrity and honesty. It is a travesty to all concerned. Filling the pockets of scalpers or websites only shows our lack of morals.

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  3. Thanks.

    Only once I had to pay more for an opera ticket. It happened this Spring, for Traviata with Anna in Vienna. Those at the opera didn't give me a ticket even if I had requested it almost 9 months in advance. I was there with my father so queueing was not an option. I managed to find tickets but at higher price. I hope I won't have to do that again.

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  4. linda smith7/11/09 3:04 AM

    This also happens with tickets for shows and rock concerts. I'm surprised these online scalpers are allowed to do business on the internet.

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  5. They don't force anyone to buy and they have a lot of ruls. maybe that's why it's legal. They're just counting on our craziness :)

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