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Hi all, still newish to the forum so not sure if this is the right place to put this so please do move if not. Enjoy all the discussions on here and find it all very insightful! I'm debating whether it would be worth getting a ROH membership - I'm under 30 so would qualify for young friends (and anything above this is out of my price range anyway). I have a job with regular hours so it looks like I wouldn't be able to attend any friends rehearsals. I have so far only bought tickets £30-40 (though realistically would be looking to spend up to £70 for the new season depending on what I think is value for money) so I question if it's worth it for me, as the membership is the same as another ticket! So it looks like I'd really only be getting the membership for priority booking, but usually at the price ranges I buy (generally seats in middle amphi) there is reasonable availability (apart from when I tried to book for the Firebird mixed bill I had to settle for tickets which were actually cheaper than what I wanted to spend as the better seats had been snapped up!). The other thing I'm thinking is now the Linbury is open, which is a smaller theatre, I'm even less likely to be able to get tickets in there? Furthermore with the ROH price increases I can potentially see more people may be booking seats in the price ranges I may be looking at (especially if they want to see multiple performances), although I also think people who can afford a membership are more likely to spend more on seats (and most in this forum seem to prefer to sit in the stalls etc, which I would love to do occasionally but have never been able to afford) but perhaps this is a misconception. For additional information I mainly go to see ballet, around once or twice a month and generally see each ballet performance at least once (depending on what's on, I didn't go to see Frankenstein at all, but have seen R&J twice!). I've seen two operas over the past year and think in future I'll mainly stick to ballet, though with the odd opera maybe once/twice a year (though for opera I would actually be looking to spend even less on tickets then for ballet!). I also wonder if having a friends membership creates a bit of a scrum on friends booking day, as that's what you pay for so I imagine the website is pretty crowded and so in some ways it may be 'better' to wait for the general booking day as there may actually be less people on site that day (though admittedly with fewer available seats!). I do wonder if 'friends' are sort of a squeezed middle of paying for priority booking, but there have already been various premium friends booking periods open before so you still don't get access to the seats you want necessarily? Also wondering if friends membership generally increases every year in price, because I'd be quite annoyed if I had to pay substantially more year on year (ie seeing ticket price increases over the past year has really worried me). I wouldn't want to pay £62 for a young friend this year say, and then end up with it being £75 next year - I know it's impossible to predict this but just wondering if historically the membership price does increase year on year, and how proportionate it is? I presume the friends membership runs for a calendar year (e.g. from 1st June to 31st May say)? So in short - those who have membership (particularly those with just 'friends' membership) - what makes it worth it for you? Do you generally get to buy the seats you want on booking day (would also be interested to see how much you spend generally). Has anyone stopped being a member and found a big difference, or recently started? Sorry for a long post and genuinely grateful for any insights you can provide!
The ROH magazine popped through the door today. One thing that caught my eye was something that I had meant to query before. On the "when to book" page it gives a date for "Friends (including Standard, Senior and Insiders)". What exactly is a "Senior" Friend or an Insider ? I have looked on the ROH web page but not found anything that explained it, or how one could sign up for it. Is it possibly a concessionary rate for older people ? I wonder because of a possible comparison with the National Trust which has a cheaper rate for pensioners, but only if you specifically ask them for it, otherwise your direct debit continues at the same price.
On Tuesday I hope to be in the audience for the opening gala of the Dutch National Ballet at the Stopera in Amsterdam. I had to work all day and well into the night yesterday which meant that I missed the opening night of 1984 which was an enormous sacrifice for me but if Tuesday is anything like this video it will have been worthwhile. The company's website suggests that it will be a great evening, "Nearly two hundred dancers, including the dancers of the Junior Company and pupils from the National Ballet Academy will make their appearance. And after the performance, it’s party time!" Here are some of the delights in store: "This year, the festive programme will consist of new creations, famous pas de deux, work by the Netherlands’ greatest choreographer Hans van Manen and highlights from the repertoire. Artistic director Ted Brandsen will make a selection from the company’s varied repertoire, which will include some ‘appetisers’ that give a taste of special ballets in the coming season. The complete ensemble will perform in a Grand Défilé alongside the youngest dance talents of the Netherlands: the pupils of the National Ballet Academy." There should be quite a substantial British contingent. DonQ Fan will be there for a start as well as the immediate past president of the London Ballet Circle. After Ernst Meisner had addressed the London Ballet Circle a gentleman who introduced himself as a friend of Meisner presented himself to me and suggested that we might form a British branch of the Friends of the Dutch National Ballet along the lines of the American Friends of Covent Garden. I think it is a great idea and have written about it more than once in my blog. If anyone is interested I would love to hear from them. Finally, for the last two years the Junior Company have performed at The Linbury. That auditorium will be closed for a while next year so I hope it will be possible for them to dance somewhere else. I suggested the Stanley and Audrey Burtin Theatre in Leeds and Meisner did not rule it out, If they did come here Team Terpsichore would spoil them to bits.