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Subject: "RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices" Archived thread - Read only
 
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AnnWilliams

27-02-02, 11:39 PM (GMT)
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"RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
 
   The following is an extract from an e-mail I received from a ballet-fan friend in Melbourne yesterday

'....tragedy of tragedies I won't be seeing the Royal Ballet when they visit
Australia. We simply can't afford the ticket prices. They are even more than
the prices charged for Sylvie's Manon performances (and, typically, I don't
get a concession).....virtually all the best seats have been reserved for
members of the Victorian Arts Centre and other 'high-flyers'. There wasn't
even a deal done to give preference to Australian Ballet subscribers...... I was very cross when I discovered the seating reserves have been 'fiddled' to get more people paying higher
prices. Some B reserve seats have been upgraded to A, C to B and so on. All
in all, it not a tour for the ordinary dance lover - they're looking for the
Aussie equivalent of the Covent Garden Upper Market.'

Can anyone comment on this? Is it the RB having to hike the prices to cover the touring costs, or the Aussie venues cashing in or the RB's name and rarity value? What exactly is the point of a tour like this anyway if the real ballet fans cannot afford the price of a ticket?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Ted 28-02-02 1
     RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Brendan McCarthymoderator 28-02-02 2
         RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices trogadmin 28-02-02 3
             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices AnnWilliams 28-02-02 4
                 RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Brendan McCarthymoderator 28-02-02 5
                     RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Bruce Madmin 28-02-02 6
                         RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices alison 28-02-02 7
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Bruce Madmin 28-02-02 8
                 RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices AEHandley 28-02-02 9
                     RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices MichellePotter 01-03-02 10
                         RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Ted 01-03-02 11
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices roddy 01-03-02 12
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Caitlyn 03-03-02 14
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Caitlyn 03-03-02 13
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices Ted 03-03-02 15
                             RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices MichellePotter 03-03-02 16

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Ted

28-02-02, 05:03 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #0
 
   I wonder if this ballet fan can give us some more details as I don't know what are A, B, C reserve seats and no actual prices were mentioned. Moreover, should RB get the blame when the tour is normally organised by an agent rather than the company itself? It's all well and good to say we ordinary people can't afford the inflated ticket prices. It would be equally illogical to expect anyone to organise any events with negative profit. In the absence of any facts and details, this thread is likely to invite some very unfair and unjust remarks on RB.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

28-02-02, 07:20 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #1
 
   LAST EDITED ON 28-02-02 AT 09:43 AM (GMT)

I see Ted's point of view. This tour, unlike the RB's performances here, is not part of its public service obligation. It is, and has to be, strictly commercial, rather as was the Hochhausers' promotion of the Kirov at the ROH last year. I imagine the promoter has thought about how aggressively he can price the tickets and acted acordingly.

There has to be a profit for the promoter and the Royal Ballet's costs (together with an element of profit) must be guaranteed. As to the point of the tour, I imagine there are a number of considerations. It is part cultural mission, part trade promotion, part flying the flag, part giving the dancers a break from London. But the pricing strategy will not, in the main, be a decision for the Royal Ballet. The promoter is taking on a significant risk, without benefit of state funding, and has to calculate accordingly.


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trogadmin

28-02-02, 09:39 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #2
 
   I can't comment on Melbourne venues, but my guess is they are much the same as the rest of the cities in Oz. In Adelaide, the A,B,C reserve refers to the seating area; A is the front stalls and front circle, B is the rear stalls and rear circle, C is at the very back. There are no standing places at Adelaide venues. Joe Public would not expect to have to stand if he was going for a night out.

With regard to ticket prices. The tour of the RB would have to be funded largely and probably completely by ticket sales. It is a long way from London to Sydney; the cost of shipping a hoard of dances, an orchestra and props is very high. Once you get to Oz, the distances involved are also large, for instance Adelaide to Melbourne is 800kms. This is a very long road trip or again you fly.

As usual, the RB "national tour" consists of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Yes they are the three biggest cities in Oz, but there are five other capital cities, which rarely rate a visit from an overseas act. The people in the other cities often feel like a voice in the wilderness; Australia does not stop at the Great Dividing Range, just as Britain does not stop at the Watford Gap. It would seem there are those who dispute this.

When I was in Oz last year, the ENB were touring R&J. They went to Adelaide, which surprised everyone who lived there. The venue was basically an indoor athletics stadium (very naff). Tickets were $90 no matter where you sat, which is a horrendous price. The AB played the month before in the very swish Festival Theatre at $70 for A reserve seats. On the morning of the ENB performance, tickets went on sale at $50. Perhaps the same thing will happen for the RB tour.


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AnnWilliams

28-02-02, 01:22 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #3
 
   I gather that the Melbourne and Sydney prices range from the equivalent of 33 to 50 - nothing cheaper.

As Trog points out, the expense of getting to Australia in the first place and then moving around while there must be considerable. Still, you would have thought something could be worked out to enable a fairer and more representative group of dance fans to see the shows. I know it isn't quite the same thing, but what if NYCB were to come to London and we (the readers of this board) couldn't afford to go and see them? How would we feel? There is always a way here (standing, risking your life in the slips etc) but from what I hear no such alternatives are available to the Aussies for the RB tour.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

28-02-02, 01:37 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #4
 
   The calculation that any promoter will make, bearing in mind that this is an entirely commercial venture, will be based on the pain threshold for the paying public. He will want to fill the house, and will make a rational calculation, based on evidence, about how much the public is prepared to pay.

If NYCB comes to London, this is exactly what will happen. The DCMS and the Arts Council will not put up any money. The risk will be borne by either the Hochhausers or Raymond Gubbay. The only thing that might mitigate ticket prices is major involvement by a large commercial sponsor.

Such tours are by no means guaranteed commercial successes, and the ticket prices have to include a risk premium. It does begin to make one think about what the prices would be at an unsubsidised ROH.


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Bruce Madmin

28-02-02, 02:14 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #5
 
   >It does
>begin to make one think
>about what the prices would
>be at an unsubsidised ROH.

I think that calculation was done 2 or 3 years ago and the average subsidy per seat for RB was approx 40. A fag packet calculation shows its about right. The average football fan or lover of musicals might well bemoan their lack of good luck...



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alison

28-02-02, 06:15 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #6
 
   That's gone up, then. I'm sure I remember it being 26 before the House closed.


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Bruce Madmin

28-02-02, 07:40 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #7
 
   >That's gone up, then. I'm
>sure I remember it being
>26 before the House closed.


My fag packet works like this...

Arts council grant = 9M
+ contribution from friends, trust, donations probably takes it to around 10M - may be more even.

Rough number of performances per year = 120

Which means each performance is subsidised to the tune of..
10,000,000/120 = 83,000

Seats in house=2250
average occupancy about 90%
So av seats sold each night = 2000

And so average seat subsidy = 83,000/2000 = 42

All number rough but the end result is not a million miles away I'm sure.


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AEHandley

28-02-02, 10:52 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #4
 
   >I gather that the Melbourne and
>Sydney prices range from the
>equivalent of 33 to 50
>- nothing cheaper.

Whereas these prices don't seem unreasonable by London standards, the cost of living in Oz is much lower and I think these would be shocking prices to most Australians so I understand the gripes.


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MichellePotter

01-03-02, 09:10 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #9
 
   I am lucky enough to get house seats for many ballet performances in Australia. But I also buy a lot of tickets so I am aware of how much things cost. For the information of my British colleagues these are some recent prices in Australian dollars (rounded):
Australian Ballet Beyond 40 A reserve (current program) is $79; Royal Ballet forthcoming programs A reserve are $149; Sylvie Guillem in Manon with the Australian Ballet A- reserve (November 2001 program)was $134. I can't remember exactly what the A+ reserve was for Manon. For the first time, as far as I am aware, there was a division of the A reserve tickets with the VERY best seats being sold as premium seats, which I declined to buy. I think it was around $175 for the premium seats but I shouldn't be quoted on that. Currently the rate of exchange is about 36 pence per dollar. As a rule of thumb over here we tend to triple British prices to get an equivalent Australian price. So the Beyond 40 tickets A reserve would cost about 27 pounds in England, the Royal Ballet tickets for the Australian tour about 49 pounds. There are lots of issues involved here, as has been pointed out in postings, but however you look at it $149 is a lot of money to pay for a ticket. There are other reserves available of course but I think the prices would translate in a similar way.


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Ted

01-03-02, 09:55 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #10
 
   i seriously don't know why those complaining about the ticket prices don't take the matter up with their local government or whoever is responsible for the promtion of arts. i remember when the bolshoi came to london in the early 70's, i cut down on all my other expenses to the very minimum for several months in order to go to 10 of it's performances and i sat in the cheapest seats in the balcony of the coliseum. i never thought that i had a cause of complaint regarding the price of the seats then and i still maintain the same view now.


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roddy

01-03-02, 10:31 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #11
 
   To put things in some sort of perspective, premium ticket prices for Michael Jackson's concert in Sydney were $250 and for Barbra Sreisand's, $1500. I believe they were sold out.


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Caitlyn

03-03-02, 01:02 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #12
 
   I meant to add - cutting down on other expenses is certainly an option. But the possibility of seeing multiple shows is really only feasible if you live in the same city as the performance venue. If you only get to go once, you're better off paying for one good seat!


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Caitlyn

03-03-02, 00:52 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #11
 
   There would be no point taking the issue up with any level of Australian government. They wouldn't be remotely interested!


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Ted

03-03-02, 06:01 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #13
 
   so in conclusion, as far as the promotors are concerned, ballet fans are merely part of the general public. the fans are only entitled to discounted tickets if they fall into those special groups such as the kids, students etc as stipulated by the promotors. the fans will either pay for the prices set by the promotors or stay at home and moan. i don't suppose the promotors would be remotely interested in any kind of loyalty programmes similar to those frequent flyer programmes since the visit of RB or any overseas company for that matters is only once in a blue moon.


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MichellePotter

03-03-02, 06:27 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: RB's 2002 Australian tour: ticket prices"
In response to message #15
 
   There's an interesting side issue here too. The die hard fans will always go into hock to see as much as they can whatever the price. But the general public, the new audiences national companies want to attract, will always (it seems) pay the high (by Australian standards for ballet performances) prices to see an overseas company, often because of its perceived superior status as an overseas company, but then feel they've paid their ballet dollars for the year. I'm sure too there is more than a bit of anxiety in some places that Swan Lake is coming with the Royal tour because Graeme Murphy is creating a new Swan Lake for the Australian Ballet, which is due to premiere later this year. I guess there are a lot of people out there who will pay their $149 to see the Royal's Swan Lake and then baulk at paying another $79 to see Murphy's. No complaints here, and I'm certainly not suggesting that the Royal should stay away. Just an observation! It is naive to think that building ongoing audiences for national companies is the aim of presenters of course, but I think high ticket prices do often get in the way.

And I wouldn't bother writing to the Australian government!


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