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Should I become a Friend of Covent Garden?


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Meanwhile I am thinking about a membership.

 

I have to plan my visits to London quite some time in advance - flights get more expensive the nearer the date and also my favorite b&b might be fully booked.

 

For example, do you think I’d have a chance to see “Elizabeth” at the Linbury in January if I were a member and could book a few days earlier or is that a sweet illusion?

I’d like to see at least 4 different performances between January and June, crammed in two visits (plus Sadler’s Wells and the Globe).

Also, can one member buy two tickets for the same performance, in case Mr P wants to join me?

 

I am so unhappy with the Berlin State Ballet right now and I feel somehow unfaithful but I can’t help it :( .

 

I'd love to hear from other Friends how they manage. Is it worthwile?

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My sense is that if you are considering a handful of performances a year then it isn't necessary to be a Friend of the ROH to be able to obtain decent seats for most performances, even if you need to plan around just a couple of visits to London.  If you want performances in which Osipova features or are focused on a popular seating area it might get more difficult, but even then I am sure there are some seats left for public booking and returns regularly pop up on the website and you just need to invest a little time in checking for them.

 

I would be surprised if there is real difficulty getting seats for Elizabeth in public booking.  I suppose the fact that Acosta is performing and is heading into retirement from the company may drive sales up (I am not sure he is THAT much of a draw, though); but I'm still not convinced you'll have trouble, especially if you book soon after public booking opens.

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Yes, but I'd come for Zenaida Yanowsky. Acosta is an extra treat...!

The Linbury has less than 400 seats as far as I know, I've never been there.

 

I'd also like to see the Ashton mixed programme a day before and two Sadlers Wells productions, Bourne's Sleeping Beauty and the Akram Khan Company...

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Yes, but I'd come for Zenaida Yanowsky. Acosta is an extra treat...!

The Linbury has less than 400 seats as far as I know, I've never been there.

 

I'd also like to see the Ashton mixed programme a day before and two Sadlers Wells productions, Bourne's Sleeping Beauty and the Akram Khan Company...

 

Have you considered ENB's Le Corsaire which is on at the Coliseum 13th to 24th January 2016?

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Petunia, I don't think that anyone can give sage advice on the issue of Friends' membership. Here is an observation. It is quite expensive if you are only able to make the occasional visit to Covent Garden.The money that you save from not joining would give you a bit more to spend on tickets. I think that the Linbury is going to your biggest problem because of its size. As far as the Ashton programme is concerned in your favour is that I think it unlikely that the performances will sell out at once although there are the Osipova fans who will book and those who have recently "discovered" Muntagirov as a result of his performances in Fille last season.Although there must be lots of people who are pleased to see Two Pigeons back in the repertory it is being performed before Christmas with another Ashton opener and not everyone will want to see the same ballet before and after Christmas with little change in casting.In addition the tickets for the January performances are going on sale before those who are unfamiliar with the ballet will have had a chance to see it.Not everyone who goes to ballet at Covent Garden goes to see BRB for whom Two Pigeons is a staple repertory piece.For many the thirty years of this Ashton ballet's absence from the Covent Garden stage means it is a ballet with which they are completely unfamiliar.

 

As far as the Ashton mixed bill is concerned, bear in mind that both Rhapsody and Two Pigeons will look slightly different as each cast will bring something different to their roles.There is some interesting casting in this programme Osipova has not danced the Collier role in Rhapsody before and then there are Hayward and Hay who made a terrific impression at their matinee debut in the ballet in 2014, finally there are the casts for Two Pigeons at least three of which are, in my opinion, not to be missed.

 

And then there is everything else going on in London at this time of year which makes life far more difficult and interesting. I hope that you manage to get the tickets that you want and that you enjoy the performances. Do tell us what you think of the performances that you see.

Edited by FLOSS
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I've let my membership lapse a couple of booking periods ago, I'm still able to get tickets to everything I'm interested in seeing, and I'm not compromising on what seats (or standing tickets) they are, if anything I feel I always got "better" tickets on general public booking.

For performances in the Linbury, as with the rest of the house, they keep a percentage of seats for public booking (fairly good ones too), as long as you're on the website at 9.00 am on the 21 October you'll be fine. Also bear in mind that if you join as a "basic" friend, the odds are that all the better seats will have been bought by higher-tiered friends, and if Acosta proves to be that much of a draw, the Friends allocation could be sold out before Friends booking opens.

For the Linbury they also tend to put the first couple of rows on sale at a later date (assuming they are put on sale and not removed).

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Thank you all so very much for your valuable thoughts. I’ll stay away from Friendship but remain an ardent admirer…! :wub:

 

May I ask some more questions about the other venues? I have been looking at the Coliseum and the Roundhouse (I think I’ll ditch Sleeping Beauty for Corsaire).

 

At the Coliseum, is ok to sit in the rear of the dress circle or should I opt for the balcony?

I remember the theatre from years ago –it was huge, but we sat in the stalls… can’t afford that. Is the balcony comparable to the ROH Amphitheatre?

 

And the Roundhouse looks interesting, too. Stalls, Rear Stalls, Circle? Many tickets are already sold and that is four months in advance.

 

I’ll have to decide soon *starting a nervous twitch*  :blink:

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I can give some input on the Coliseum:

 

The balcony is probably better for sound than the back of the dress circle.  If you sit at the front, you're fairly close to the stage, more so than at Covent Garden.  However, the seats are only padded benches with armrests and backrests, and the legroom is poor.  If you're short, I would also guess that you'll have a satefy rail in your line of sight, partly somewhere really inconvenient, no doubt.  Rows A-C, I think, are sold as restricted view, but the rail still gets in the way from much higher.  The seats are much better in the dress circle, and it's really nice and low down, but I guess you'd be further back from the stage if you were at the back than in front balcony.

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The balcony is probably better for sound than the back of the dress circle.  If you sit at the front, you're fairly close to the stage, more so than at Covent Garden.  However, the seats are only padded benches with armrests and backrests, and the legroom is poor.  If you're short, I would also guess that you'll have a satefy rail in your line of sight, partly somewhere really inconvenient, no doubt.  

 

I'm in full agreement about the better acoustic and poor legroom in the front of the Coliseum balcony but would add that I've sat with friends of differing heights in the front row (row A) and none of us have had problems with the safety rail.  I do, however, agree that the rail can cause problems in rows B and C

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noooo - absolutely no point - save the money and use it to buy better tickets - conversation I had with box office when I was a "friend" but you shouldn't expect to be able to get tickets fro any events just because you are a friend!!"

 

save your money and your temper........hope you manage to get what you want

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I usually sit in the Upper Circle at the Coli in the lower half somewhere and have always been happy with seats. So if you can afford that I would go with that. The Balcony is okay but have to steel myself to walk down if near the front as it's quite steep. It isn't probably much more than Amphi at the ROH but can't think off hand why it's worse walking down at the Coli than at the ROH ....are there more rails to grab hold of at the latter?

 

I think where Friends issue is concerned if you are only an occasional visitor to UK it honestly isn't worth it.

I let my membership lapse last Autumn and now am a Friend of TWO companies for a very similar price of just ordinary Friends at ROH

 

The difference is I wasn't really a Friend to get seats .....I've never had much of a problem with this from public booking .....though I could always turn up on the day for a return which not everyone could do.....But I wanted to attend master classes, talks and company class etc but these almost always were sold out(eg anything in the Clore) before ordinary Friends could buy so in the end the money I was paying didn't seem worth it as it wasn't serving what I wanted to do with it!!

ENB's Corsaire is well worth catching and as far as I can remember is not as long as Sleeping Beauty at any rate! I think I was out by 10 pm last time (7.30 start) but could be wrong about this. Good luck with it all and with Corsaire there are matinees on Saturday and Sunday which is useful especially at that time of the year!

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Just to put the alternative point of view…

 

I go to the ROH for the RB about 10-12 times a year and for me basic Friends plus using the one week earlier package booking option is worth it. I’m quite fussy about casts and very fussy about where I sit. This Tuesday just gone I was able to get the seats I wanted – two on the end of front row centre block Amphi and one end of second row and all matinee performances. Having got front row Amphi and matinees I saved a bit over the regular price which offsets the Friends cost a little. So I’m a happy friend :D. Next week I’ll hopefully top up with a few more Giselles.

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  • 5 years later...

Hi everyone, not sure this is the right place to post this, but would appreciate any advice. I've never been a member of Royal Ballet but am seriously considering becoming one in light of the ticket situation and since I do want to support RB in these difficult times. However this is quite a big decision for me due to my limited financial resources (I've only just graduated uni!) Generally speaking, would you say that since the pandemic, reasonably priced/affordable tickets (e.g. upper/lower slips Amphi) are much more harder to book now (due to limited availability)?  Therefore by being a 'Young Friend' would that definitely increase chances of booking better seats? Or would there not be much difference? This is also because there are specific casts I would like to see, which of course would narrow dates and therefore limit availability...

 

Would really appreciate your advice/thoughts on this!

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6 minutes ago, Marie said:

Hi everyone, not sure this is the right place to post this, but would appreciate any advice. I've never been a member of Royal Ballet but am seriously considering becoming one in light of the ticket situation and since I do want to support RB in these difficult times. However this is quite a big decision for me due to my limited financial resources (I've only just graduated uni!) Generally speaking, would you say that since the pandemic, reasonably priced/affordable tickets (e.g. upper/lower slips Amphi) are much more harder to book now (due to limited availability)?  Therefore by being a 'Young Friend' would that definitely increase chances of booking better seats? Or would there not be much difference? This is also because there are specific casts I would like to see, which of course would narrow dates and therefore limit availability...

 

Would really appreciate your advice/thoughts on this!

Hi Marie.  I think you mean a member of Covent Garden!  A Friend…

 

I would say that there is a pecking order with Friend level, so I am not sure about ticket availability for Young Friends, whether it’s much better than public booking or other young people booking schemes.  I am sure people here will advise you.  

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13 minutes ago, Marie said:

Hi everyone, not sure this is the right place to post this, but would appreciate any advice. I've never been a member of Royal Ballet but am seriously considering becoming one in light of the ticket situation and since I do want to support RB in these difficult times. However this is quite a big decision for me due to my limited financial resources (I've only just graduated uni!) Generally speaking, would you say that since the pandemic, reasonably priced/affordable tickets (e.g. upper/lower slips Amphi) are much more harder to book now (due to limited availability)?  Therefore by being a 'Young Friend' would that definitely increase chances of booking better seats? Or would there not be much difference? This is also because there are specific casts I would like to see, which of course would narrow dates and therefore limit availability...

 

Would really appreciate your advice/thoughts on this!

 

These are the booking dates for the Autumn season by membership category (add 5 hours for BST). You'd be a week ahead of public sale 

 

General: 24 August 2021, 4.30am
Friends: 17 August 2021, 4.30am
Young Friends: 17 August 2021, 4.30am
Friends+: 12 August 2021, 4.30am
Supporting Friends: 10 August 2021, 4.30am
Premium 1 Friends: 5 August 2021, 4.30am
Premium 2 Friends: 3 August 2021, 4.30am
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9 minutes ago, Marie said:

Hi everyone, not sure this is the right place to post this, but would appreciate any advice. I've never been a member of Royal Ballet but am seriously considering becoming one in light of the ticket situation and since I do want to support RB in these difficult times. However this is quite a big decision for me due to my limited financial resources (I've only just graduated uni!) Generally speaking, would you say that since the pandemic, reasonably priced/affordable tickets (e.g. upper/lower slips Amphi) are much more harder to book now (due to limited availability)?  Therefore by being a 'Young Friend' would that definitely increase chances of booking better seats? Or would there not be much difference? This is also because there are specific casts I would like to see, which of course would narrow dates and therefore limit availability...

 

Would really appreciate your advice/thoughts on this!

 

Isn't the plan for seating to return to normal next season (God willing)?

 

I can only speak for pre-pandemic booking as a Not-Young Friend really, but I think it does pay off in that you are more likely to get an acceptable seat in a lower price band. With the number of greyed out seats in the plans for the areas you mention, I expect this to be even more the case next season.

 

Whether it's strictly worth it does depend on how often you're expecting to go, though. For what it's worth, speaking as someone who routinely books in the same price bands as you mention, I reckon on an average "saving" of maybe £8 to £10 per ticket from my membership, though it's impossible really to know.

 

One other thing worth mentioning is that the ability to attend general rehearsals is a real perk - I don't know your situation, but they're often (usually?) held the same day as the first night, so if you can get the time off it's a cheap way of seeing an extra cast, and perhaps from a different viewpoint to your usual. (For me there's the added economy of seeing two shows under the same train ticket - transport usually being my biggest outlay when I'm attending.)  And if it turns out to be a cast you've already booked for, you can either see them again or sell your ticket.

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3 minutes ago, Don Q Fan said:

And what are prices like for 21/22 as well I hear some amphi seats have hit the £100 mark?!

 

Romeo and Juliet and Nutcracker both go up to £91 in the Amphi (£135 is the top price overall).

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