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Ticket Limits for ROH Friends


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I was amazed to discover that all levels of Friends are now going to be able to purchase only 6 tickets per production (Period 3).

 

It was fair enough that limitations were imposed from time to time on certain productions but this is a blanket condition which will adversely affect many ballet-goers - especially those who purchase for two people.. It also seems strange to introduce it at a moment when Manon has not sold well even though (to judge from all the familiar faces in the audience!) many people are sampling all the many casts..

 

I have written to the Friends to question and complain and it strikes me that others may wish to do likewise.

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I think others will already have done so, capybara :)  I'm not a Friend, so it doesn't affect me, but it does seem to me from what I've heard that they've gone from one extreme to the other.

 

We'll have to ask Kevin O'Hare not to schedule 9 different casts in future :)

 

Actually, can you imagine what hell that's going to make public booking?  It's already busy enough, but if more Friends are going to be on there trying to make up the dozen or so peformances of Swan Lake they were unable to book for, it's going to be dreadful.

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I hadn't noticed that restriction because I went straight to the magazine and did not read the letter. Why would they want to prevent Friends coming  to see a variety of casts. I am a Friend and feel I may be disadvantaged as I always come with someone and am buying two tickets for each show, so I am limited to three shows per production now. Some people are paying a lot more than I am to be Premium Friends. They must be even more outraged as they have got the same letter I presume. Why would they bother to renew a membership at that level? 

Edited by nevsky
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I think you'll find that most Patrons and Premium Friends are not 'hoovering up' the cheaper tickets, Anne!

 

I agree that it would be nice to think that consideration for 'ordinary' Friends was the driver. However, someone who phoned to complain has reported the Friends' Office as admitting that the change has been prompted by 'adjustments' to the privileges afforded Patrons.

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Oh, dear poster choosing to refer to yourself as 'capybara', have these 'ROH Friends' privileges not always been somewhat duplicitous?  Certainly I seem to remember feeling that way when I was a (basic) member (indeed before they made divisions amongst their 'Friendly' subscribers).  Admittedly I have for some time managed to resist the pleasure of their various and varying temptations and somehow still managed to live to tell this tell.  Might it perhaps not be best for the sake of your overall mental and emotional well being, 'capybara', to celebrate the current six ticket allowance knowing it is sure (or certainly most like) to be reduced to four at some point in the not too distant future.  Then, just think, you'll have the joy of remembering when .... (as you do, say, now having had the good fortune of enjoying an extended period of no allotted ticket restrictions) ... and be able to smile proudly in that memory.  That smile I'm told can be telling towards the overall betterment of your constitution.  The additional advantage of that (i.e., that which ACE officers now refer to as 'additionality' - even though that word does not appear in any dictionary I can find) - I'm sure may be one that not even the ROH Friends Office may have contemplated.  Who knows perhaps some kind fiscal contributor will alight them towards the possibility of such.  I'm certain they would be most attentive in that instance.  Perhaps even the BMA or GSK? (This is, of course and as ever, just but by way of a respectful - and dare I say it - 'friendly' suggestion.)   

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Well as from next week my friends membership will expire and it's not being renewed as I got fed up with never getting to any event held in the Clore Theatre......just the sort of events I joined for so,for me the subscription just isn't worth it anymore.

 

I am lucky though in don't live a million miles from the ROH so can go back to queuing on the day for things I really can't miss and take pot luck with public booking for other performances.

 

Actually I just got two for the price of one quite literally as am now a Friend of Rambert (who already have been fantastic with invitations successfully booked etc) and the Ballet Theatre UK........though not so pleased with the latter as haven't acknowledged my cheque from over a month ago so not sure how successful that one will work out.

Next year it will be ENB's turn!!

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I thought this forum was for us to discuss issues of interest not for an individual to take against another contributor and criticise him/her in a somewhat unpleasant manner (see above). Incidentally, looking at the many nom de plumes adopted across the forum it seems inappropriate for Bruce Wall to take against one individual who uses such a means of identification.

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Well, guess that's the end of taking friends along to ballets with exciting casts...

 

The ticket limits stay in place when public booking opens (at least they did for a Boheme were I was going to take a few friends), so probably no need to worry about extra traffic on that day. Limits tend to be dropped a short time before the performance, which is amusing when something hasn't sold but you still won't be able to buy a ticket until well after public booking has been open for a while.

 

There have been booking limits for each period, and they seem to vary. Are there reasons to assume that this is the permanent new limit?

 

At least for opera, 6 per production doesn't sound too bad.

 

The seat blocks near the stage also don't go on sale unless they find that noise levels for the orchestra are ok during rehearsals. Guess I'm unlikely to sit there again either.

Edited by Coated
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I thought this forum was for us to discuss issues of interest not for an individual to take against another contributor and criticise him/her in a somewhat unpleasant manner (see above). Incidentally, looking at the many nom de plumes adopted across the forum it seems inappropriate for Bruce Wall to take against one individual who uses such a means of identification.

 

Oh, dear contributor 'nevsky', I had meant my entry to be light in touch.  Seemingly much more so than you seem to have taken it.  No ill was intended whatsoever.  I do agree that the 'Friends' policy changes are unfair and agree it is an item of interest. I have, myself, been disturbed in the past by the actions of the ROH Friends and, as I implied, I have decided to let their ploys pass.  It is all, I think, one can do.  That said - and since you name me directly - I fear you have troubled me by your entry.  Certainly I chose to take refuge in the fact that I'm sure any 'unpleasant'ness I may have felt was entirely unintentional on your part.  Indeed I am convinced of it.  I wish you naught but all very best wishes. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Thank you, Janet, for your frankness.  It is as ever cherished.  Given the response I would appreciate it if you could please remove my two previous entries (and this one as well).  With thanks and respect.  I, too, now as it happens have been hurt.  No further response from myself will be raised on this matter.  I am sorry for my misfire and will retire from correspondence on BcoF for a time.

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Since I don't live in the UK I don't have any experience of the ROH Friends system and how it affects ticket sales, but it seems perverse to me that they'd put on a production with nine casts and then restrict the ticket sales for the very people who are likely to want to see several casts in the same ballet. I mean, if you go with a friend or significant other, as many people do, that's three performances.

 

I can sort of see that they might want to put a limit on early ticket sales to avoid having performances sell out before the general public has a chance to buy any, especially if a good number of tickets end up on eBay or other ticket reselling sites. But if I'm understanding Coated correctly, those limits stay in place once the booking is opened to the general public. Does this mean that a non-Friend could happily buy tickets for each of the nine casts (assuming they were available, which for Manon they are) but a Friend calling the box office on the same day couldn't do that? I hope I'm misunderstanding, because that makes no sense whatever.

 

Bruce, I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but if you're encouraging people not to complain about this but feel grateful that it isn't even worse, I have to respectfully disagree. If people don't complain when idiotic things are done, IMO that's much more likely to result in even more idiotic things being done, on the basis that the first idiotic thing must actually have been quite reasonable since nobody complained.

Edited by Melody
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Since I don't live in the UK I don't have any experience of the ROH Friends system and how it affects ticket sales, but it seems perverse to me that they'd put on a production with nine casts and then restrict the ticket sales for the very people who are likely to want to see several casts in the same ballet. I mean, if you go with a friend or significant other, as many people do, that's three performances.

 

Quite.  I assume that there must be some way for Friends to buy additional tickets later, because otherwise the companies, the RB especially, are going to lose an awful lot of ticket receipts.  But there's no question of the general public not being able to buy tickets: a minimum of 20% of tickets are held back for public booking. 

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Invariably there are hundreds of tickets available when public booking opens, although perhaps not for all areas of the auditorium and at all prices. Does this restriction apply to all ticket purchases or just to tickets purchased before public booking opens?  

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I think you'll find that most Patrons and Premium Friends are not 'hoovering up' the cheaper tickets, Anne!

 Of course that's true, but it only takes one or two who do to take all the stalls circle standing tickets (my particular problem) - and let us not forget that there are more levels than Patrons and Premium Friends who also have an advantage over ordinary Friends.  For the whole of Periods 1 and 2 this season I managed 

to get SCS for only three performances.  If I log on ready to start selecting tickets at 10.00 on the dot when Friends booking opens and find no SCS for most or indeed all the performances I would like I can't see any other logical or consistent explanation.  I know that some of these tickets have been set aside for student standby, but still ...

 

And to reply to aileen at No. 17 above, in the past there have been restrictions to 4 tickets per production (from memory, although I stand ready to be corrected) but it only applied to Friends booking, during their advance booking period, not when they used public booking.  Otherwise, as has been said, Friends would be a disadvantage.

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  but it only takes one or two who do to take all the stalls circle standing tickets (my particular problem)

 

IMO the two reasons why there has been a problem for base level Friends getting SCS tickets are (i) the very strange decision a couple of years ago to allow all levels of Friends to buy 6 tickets per performance and (ii) a significant number of SCS tickets (10 IIRC) for each show being reserved for students.

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IMO the two reasons why there has been a problem for base level Friends getting SCS tickets are (i) the very strange decision a couple of years ago to allow all levels of Friends to buy 6 tickets per performance and (ii) a significant number of SCS tickets (10 IIRC) for each show being reserved for students.

I agree about the strange decision, which is why I said perhaps this new limit was an attempt to redress the balance.  And I did mention the student allocation which has undoubtedly made things worse for us ordinary Friends. It does seem that the restrictions or otherwise on tickets have varied wildly over the years.  I just hope the powers that be don't introduce yet more levels of Friendship - I dread being reduced to Pauper Level (one below ordinary) which would perhaps entitle me to view the availability of tickets but not actually make any bookings until two days after all other levels of Friends have been served (a joke, I hasten to add, or at least I hope so).

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A year ago I upgraded to Supporting Friend with a view to being 'in with a chance' of getting SC standing places. I got none for the Ashton Bill or for Osipova performances. - The jury is still out.

I know, Bill - which is the reason I decided not to upgrade when I renewed this year.  However the introduction of Friends+ has made me regret this decision!

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There clearly is a problem about the allocation of tickets between the different levels of Friends for certain events and perhaps for particular casts but the solution is not to impose a blanket ban on anyone buying more than six tickets for any ballet production but to impose limits on the number of tickets that you can buy for particular casts or events. Years ago there was a limit of four tickets per applicant for Nureyev performances which achieved the desired effect. 

 

I am sure that everyone would be interested to know what response, if any, the Friends give to anyone who complains.My guess is that they will say that this limit has always applied to both opera and ballet but that the box office has become rather lax over its application to ballet performances.They may even say that they have had letters of complaint from people who could not get the tickets for performances that they wanted to attend which is why they have issued the reminder.

 

The fact that they have issued this notice at a time when ballet ticket sales have been particularly sluggish suggests that the decision to do so was made by someone who is more concerned with principles than money in the bank.As the ballet company has to cover its costs over the season and achieve a set  percentage of ticket sales for each production I would have thought that it would be pleased to sell as many tickets at full price as it can early on, rather than run the risk of selling at a discount later. Alienating its loyal fan base does not seem like a particularly clever move when people are feeling hard up but then what do I know?

 

Perhaps it is the first shot in the campaign to find a new ballet audience . For those too young to know the goal of finding a new ballet audience is to the Royal Ballet, what the search for the philosopher's stone was to the alchemists, a costly delusion. But from Mac Millan's directorship onward it has re emerged at intervals as an ideal to be pursued at any cost and usually involves 

radical changes to the repertory to encourage a new radical audience . Talking about radical pieces does any one find it odd that the schedule of performances in the most recent edition of the Friends magazine makes no reference to Wolf? The performance dates of works that will take place during the months covered by an edition of About the House usually appear in the schedule even when the tickets will not be sold until the next booking period.Is its omission just to keep everything on two pages? I ask because several people I spoke to on Saturday thought it strange that there was no mention of this exciting new work in the October edition.

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Anyone want to bet on the Friends suggesting you might like to upgrade your membership? :)  (but then if lots of people did that it would be counterproductive, wouldn't it?!)

 

Currently, according to the Friends' Office,  the only way of getting more than 6 tickets per production is to become a Patron - a mere £5,500 a year!

 

I would imagine that the Premium 2 Friends (whose subscription has recently gone up to £1,900) will wonder if it's worth paying so much when the only difference between them and the next level of Friends is the priority booking (one day ahead of the Premium 1 Friends).

Edited by Bluebird
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So, the ROH has the very serious ballet fans by the......  Sorry, I just can't think of any other way to put it.  Naturally, it all comes down to money.  The only way that many people will be able to continue having a chance to see multiple casts of a production is to join the public scrum, and there is even less guarantee there that they will get tickets, if indeed they are allowed to try again there.  Do we know if that is the case?  So for productions such as SL, Manon, Mayerling, SB, etc. where there are more than three casts (or friends start attending performances on their own), they will have to pick their 'top three'?  I am not a friend so can't complain or get involved, but I soooo hope that all friends complain most vociferously about this.  It seems very unfair that when people pay so much to be in with a good chance of being able to see all the dancers they want to, that is now taken away from them. 

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I'm afraid that the purpose of being a Friend is not to be able to get the best tickets but to support the Royal Opera House and its works.

Well that's what they always say, of course.  But I seriously doubt if most Friends of all levels would sign up without the incentive of advance booking.

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