Eileen

NYC Ballet Prices

241 posts in this topic

New York City Ballet is my passion and I attend as frequently as possible during the season. I picked up the subscription brochure for next season today - and I was shocked at the price increases. I can't subscribe at the savings due to family obligations, so I buy close to the date.

In reaction to the City Ballet price increases, I have decided, after serious consideration, to go on strike as an audience member. At first I thought this would be a "ballet diet" - meaning seeing less. But that's not enough to express my deep disapproval of the price increases. Instead, I am going on strike. I will not attend next season AT ALL unless I can get a meaningful discount, either through the Atrium or some other manner.

I am not stepping up to the box office and paying $149 for the best seats, and I am not going to sit in the 4th ring at this stage of my life.

I am going on strike, I am rebuffing City Ballet based on their cavalier expectation that their audience will pay the higher charges. This one will not.

What's your opinion? I'm writing to NYC Ballet management to express my rejection of their pricing policies and to announce my Strike of One. Does anyone want to join me?

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ticket prices rarely cover all of the ballet company's expenses. Sometimes they don't even cover 50%. The difference is covered by individual donors and corporate donors. I deduce that NYCB has received fewer donations during the 2010 / 2011 season, and therefore must charge more in ticket prices to make up the difference in 2011/2012 season.

If not for private and corporate donors, your seats would probably be in the $300 range, which is what one would pay to go see a major rock n roll or R&B concert with a good seat. I had to pass on tickets to see Britain's national treasure Adele in concert, because the only remaining tickets were $269 each.

A ballet performance includes upwards of 50 dancers, 50 musicians, a conductor, lighting technicians, stage hands, licensing fees, stage managers, theatre facility rental, ushers, and others to pay. It is not the cheapest form of entertainment, and prices will never approach what we pay for cinema tickets.

If money is a serious issue, I recommend that you go to the Ballet in Cinema performances to get your "fix" of high art, and otherwise try to support local groups that perform Balanchine but are less expensive. I believe if you go to the Balanchine Trust website, they have a calendar of upcoming performances of their works, and there will be opportunities to see Balanchine works, located within a 3 hour driving radius of New York.

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ticket prices rarely cover all of the ballet company's expenses. Sometimes they don't even cover 50%. The difference is covered by individual donors and corporate donors. I deduce that NYCB has received fewer donations during the 2010 / 2011 season, and therefore must charge more in ticket prices to make up the difference in 2011/2012 season.

If not for private and corporate donors, your seats would probably be in the $300 range, which is what one would pay to go see a major rock n roll or R&B concert with a good seat. I had to pass on tickets to see Britain's national treasure Adele in concert, because the only remaining tickets were $269 each.

A ballet performance includes upwards of 50 dancers, 50 musicians, a conductor, lighting technicians, stage hands, licensing fees, stage managers, theatre facility rental, ushers, and others to pay. It is not the cheapest form of entertainment, and prices will never approach what we pay for cinema tickets.

If money is a serious issue, I recommend that you go to the Ballet in Cinema performances to get your "fix" of high art, and otherwise try to support local groups that perform Balanchine but are less expensive. I believe if you go to the Balanchine Trust website, they have a calendar of upcoming performances of their works, and there will be opportunities to see Balanchine works, located within a 3 hour driving radius of New York.

Ballet is expensive, and the salaries paid to Peter Martins and the Executive Director could use some paring. Martins is paid over $600,000. He'd better butter up the donors, because the middle class is being priced out of his company performances. It's a good idea to go to Pennsylvania Ballet for Balanchine in Philadelphia. I intend to from time to time report on my strike, on my correspondence with company executives and on any responses. I feel very close to the dancers in this company, having watched them grow from Nutcracker to principal, but I cannot finance the exorbitant costs of City Ballet. NYCB should renegotiate with its unions and pare the salaries of its executives and artistic directors. More on the strike as the year progresses.

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He'd better butter up the donors, because the middle class is being priced out of his company performances.

On my recent trip to New York, I was shocked to find that a ticket for a matinee performance of Jewels was $112. If I lived in New York and made my current salary, I would never be able to go.

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Jayne's response is wise. It's easy to overlook all those hidden expenses. And Eileen doesn't mention dancer salaries. The NYCB has 24 principal dancers. They're probably paid at varying rates, but let's say they make 200K each - that's an expense of 4.8M a year just for the principals.

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He'd better butter up the donors, because the middle class is being priced out of his company performances.

On my recent trip to New York, I was shocked to find that a ticket for a matinee performance of Jewels was $112. If I lived in New York and made my current salary, I would never be able to go.

If you live in NYC or are visiting and willing to take a chance, check out the Atrium for discount tickets. I've gotten half price tickets there for NYCB a few times. They don't have every performance but I've had good luck.

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If you live in NYC or are visiting and willing to take a chance, check out the Atrium for discount tickets. I've gotten half price tickets there for NYCB a few times. They don't have every performance but I've had good luck.

I've seen them at TKTS too.

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I've seen them at TKTS too.

I am sure that many repertory programs will be discounted at the Atrium now. Especially the mediocre "premiers" that are so ballyhooed, and turn out to be such disappointments. Partly what is weighing down City Ballet is its commitment to dismal new choreography. The much marketed Calatrava-designed ballets of last year - none were interesting except for Ratmansky's Namouna Divertissements. And these are expensive productions and I'm sure the choreographers are highly paid. I am aware of what it costs to do ballet at this level, but I do not think a recounting of the company's expenses is "wise". It is well known to anyone who follows cultural news. In the end, it does not pay for my ballet tickets, but artificially keeps prices inflated. My point is many of the costs are avoidable. This "strike" may be a blessimg in that it will give me a breather from familiar ballet repertory and allow me to experience new forms of art, and return to reading and learning.

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New York City Ballet is my passion and I attend as frequently as possible during the season. I picked up the subscription brochure for next season today - and I was shocked at the price increases. I can't subscribe at the savings due to family obligations, so I buy close to the date.

In reaction to the City Ballet price increases, I have decided, after serious consideration, to go on strike as an audience member. At first I thought this would be a "ballet diet" - meaning seeing less. But that's not enough to express my deep disapproval of the price increases. Instead, I am going on strike. I will not attend next season AT ALL unless I can get a meaningful discount, either through the Atrium or some other manner.

I am not stepping up to the box office and paying $149 for the best seats, and I am not going to sit in the 4th ring at this stage of my life.

I am going on strike, I am rebuffing City Ballet based on their cavalier expectation that their audience will pay the higher charges. This one will not.

What's your opinion? I'm writing to NYC Ballet management to express my rejection of their pricing policies and to announce my Strike of One. Does anyone want to join me?

I'm with you 100%. I will completely boycott the NYCB performances next year, and I think that my attendance of ABT will be severely curtailed after this season, too. Everybody who follows ballet knows how expensive it is to mount a first-rate production with marquee names, but ABT now charges $140 for prime orchestra seats (admittedly, some performances with top-tier guest dancers only) that cost $100 a couple of years ago. My income does not go up 20% a year, why should ABT's? NYCB doesn't even invite international stars, so their price hike is even less justified IMHO.

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New York City Ballet is my passion and I attend as frequently as possible during the season. I picked up the subscription brochure for next season today - and I was shocked at the price increases. I can't subscribe at the savings due to family obligations, so I buy close to the date.

In reaction to the City Ballet price increases, I have decided, after serious consideration, to go on strike as an audience member. At first I thought this would be a "ballet diet" - meaning seeing less. But that's not enough to express my deep disapproval of the price increases. Instead, I am going on strike. I will not attend next season AT ALL unless I can get a meaningful discount, either through the Atrium or some other manner.

I am not stepping up to the box office and paying $149 for the best seats, and I am not going to sit in the 4th ring at this stage of my life.

I am going on strike, I am rebuffing City Ballet based on their cavalier expectation that their audience will pay the higher charges. This one will not.

What's your opinion? I'm writing to NYC Ballet management to express my rejection of their pricing policies and to announce my Strike of One. Does anyone want to join me?

I'm with you 100%. I will completely boycott the NYCB performances next year, and I think that my attendance of ABT will be severely curtailed after this season, too. Everybody who follows ballet knows how expensive it is to mount a first-rate production with marquee names, but ABT now charges $140 for prime orchestra seats (admittedly, some performances with top-tier guest dancers only) that cost $100 a couple of years ago. My income does not go up 20% a year, why should ABT's? NYCB doesn't even invite international stars, so their price hike is even less justified IMHO.

You are brave. A Strike of Two Audience Members. Thank you.

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Ballet has always been expensive to produce and I don't believe the box office has ever covered costs - this is not something new. Ticket prices at ABT are on the high end, but have remained relatively stable. But what's going on at City Ballet is a huge change in direction. They are raising prices considerably all over the house, but especially in the 4th ring.

The pricing listed in the brochure their subscribers received was unclear which necessitated many calls to the box office. When you speak to a representative you are told that "they would like their patrons to enjoy a more intimate experience so they want to fill the house from the bottom up". They are discounting certain seats in the extreme sides of the orchestra, 1st & 2nd ring, but are now charging $49 for 4th ring side arm tickets (AAs), $89 for 4th ring side sections and $100 (or maybe it was $120) for Rows A&B and the center section all the way up to the top! These seats used to cost $30 and were $15 with a 4th Ring Society membership. PS - they are not accepting new subscriptions for the 3rd & 4th rings and have said that they do not expect to offer 4th Ring Society memberships next season.

City Ballet has spent years educating & cultivating their audience. In a time when arts organizations are trying to find ways to build a loyal, engaged audience they have done an exemplary job - and now they're throwing it all away.

Not only will NYCB not increase their revenue with this scheme, they will lose their audience. It's happening already. I go to NYCB 3-5 times a week and see a lot of people there night after night. Everyone I've spoken to since this new pricing scheme came out is outraged. Most are not boycotting, and neither will I. But everyone I've spoken to - whether they sit in the orchestra or 4th ring - has decided to reduce the number of performances they will see next season to compensate for the price increase. I know someone who had 5 subscriptions in the orchestra for many years - he's reduced that to 3 in a less expensive section. Most 4th ring subscribers that I know have refused to move down to the lower rings. They're paying the new prices but reducing the number of their subscriptions.

I'm sure that there will be discounted tickets available but what I don't think NYCB realizes is that their core audience is not going to wait till the day of performance to see if they can score a cheap(er) seat. Nor will they spend all of their newly free nights sitting at home on their couches. This is NYC - there are lots of cultural events going on every day of the week and we are often forced to chose between several options on the same night. We will find different companies to attend and our loyalty to NYCB will be even further diminished.

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There was a time, when advance subscriptions were touted as a way to save money. Now the faithful subscriber, who pays almost top dollar, might have reason to feel like a chump. Not everyone has a schedule that allows for constant research and last-minute purchases.

I wonder how subscriptions are doing, as opposed to single-performance sales?

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I wonder, too. I just wanted to mention now that I've had a chance to think out the implications of my Strike, that every time a performance takes place that I would have wanted to attend, I will deposit the amount of the ticket in my savings account. When my savings reach an appropriate amount, I will add them to my IRA or 401(k). It will be interesting to see what I've been spending on ballet. I only know I will miss it intensely.

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Let's see. Premium orchestra seats at the Met can go for more than $200-300 depending on location. Lower box seats at a Yankees game go for more than that. Top tickets to Wicked are over $300 at the box office. Other top broadway show orchestra seats run $150-175. So the most expensive ticket at City Ballet goes for $119 for a subscriber, or $149 for single sale. Considering all that, I feel City Ballet is a good investment for seeing a world-renown performing arts company.

I subscribe to the center orchestra and am willing to pay some more per ticket to ensure that this company remains viable. I know not everyone can afford the prices and people will have to make adjustments to how often they go.

It's a tough call but we will have to see the impact. I am sure the company will be watching it closely to determine the net effect. No one wants to play to a.smaller house

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It's a shame for such a company to ever dance for empty seats... I suppose I would bankrupt a company in no time, but if it were me, I'd focus on filling seats before upping prices. I'd rather see innovations like the sort megabus.com uses to fill deats on its busses... Tickets are inexpensive until a certain number of seats have filled... And then they get progressively more expensive as the bus fills... Don't we have the technology to do this in theaters yet? It's sort of how the scalpers make a profit, isn't it? Less audience in seats leads to less audience...leads to less audience... Leads to less audience and less funding. Maybe NYCB is looking forward to the return to feudalism and single patron sponsorship. How much does Mr.. Koch like ballet after all? He got Kevin & Peter mixed up n December.

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Tickets are inexpensive until a certain number of seats have filled... And then they get progressively more expensive as the bus fills
This sounds like the opposite of what arts organizations, including ballet companies, are doing.

They acknowledge that they need subscribers for income before the season begins; they use the subscriber base for incessant fund-raising; they claim to value the input of subscribers when it comes to programming.

On the other hand it seems that the earlier one buys his or her tickets, the higher the price.

I am a lifelong subscriber and am also programmed to order tickets as early as possible. I doubt that I will chance this pattern at this stage of my life. But I know quite a few people who have stopped doing this. They feeling that they are somehow being taken advantage of. No one wants to be perceived as a lazy or naive consumer.

Since it is not always easy for people to take advantage of last minute deals, these people have tended to reduce their attendance at ballet and opera.

I don't know how significant this pattern is in terms of dollars and percentages. But I have observed it happening with greater frequency over the past decade.

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I think those who set prices and make other presumptions tend to err. More than once, I have read about a ballerina told to play for the fan in the last row, because that is where the true fan sits; only a true fan would forego anything to use his last penny to sit in the last row. I have heard similar discussions about fans of musicians, who bring fans from the last row to the front row, on the assumption that they really want to be there but have the misfortune of buying cheap ticket. However, I have saved my money by sacrificing other less important things in order to have sufficient funds to sit as close as possible for the performances that really matter to me. For example, I may want to see three different leads in a ballet, but I would rather see one performance from the front row sitting in a more expensive seat. I may want to see ten bands play during the year, but I save my money to see my favorite band in the front row; I do not spread my money over ten events and get bad seats to each. I also do not waste money on other entertainment or clothing. I will use the library or wear the same old clothes each year. This way, I can pay for my $150 front row ticket. How can the ballerina then say that her real fan is the one in the back row, when this person may have attended ten different events without her and bought into every new fashion trend of the season, and has only $20 left for a ticket, or waited to the last minute because she did not decide if she wanted to go until the day of the performance arrived and she had nothing better to do, and only a last row seat is left? My point is that the people who buy tickets early are a mix of true fans needing to feel safe and obtain the best seats early, whatever the price, and those who for social or business reasons buy a subscription. We pay a premium for the risk that the performer will be injured. We are forbidden to trade or return tickets on the day of the performance, so we pay for this risk, too. We can take a chance of buying cheaper seats at the TKTS booth or from a scalper, but we may not be able to obtain a ticket, and this is generally a risk we do not want to endure. Subscriptions offer certain types of discounts over a series of tickets, but greater discounts seem to be available on the day of the performance, if the risk is tolerable. Those who would seek subscriptions as fans would not generally endure the risk. That is why we are being gouged. The people who are not true fans would tend to make more cost-based decisions, and this is where I think the audience is being lost.

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"I only know I will miss it intensely."

I wrote that yesterday. I have lost love, lost spaghetti and lost creamy cookies, and lost weight. The love I missed intensely eventually turned to indifference as I rebuilt my life. The spaghetti and creamy cookies I don't miss at all, as I have lost a lot of weight. My point is, intensely missing something is a temporary reaction to loss, and I will temporarily miss NYC Ballet. Then loss will turn to indifference as I take up new activities.

I look forward to hearing from the executives of NYCBallet to my quite temperate letter about the Strike.

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"I only know I will miss it intensely."

I wrote that yesterday. I have lost love, lost spaghetti and lost creamy cookies, and lost weight. The love I missed intensely eventually turned to indifference as I rebuilt my life. The spaghetti and creamy cookies I don't miss at all, as I have lost a lot of weight. My point is, intensely missing something is a temporary reaction to loss, and I will temporarily miss NYC Ballet. Then loss will turn to indifference as I take up new activities.

I look forward to hearing from the executives of NYCBallet to my quite temperate letter about the Strike.

Not always, Eileen. Love endures death. Hasn't ballet taught that?

Not all loss turns to indifference. The pain remains, though dulled.

BTW, what exactly are creamy cookies?

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Let's see. Premium orchestra seats at the Met can go for more than $200-300 depending on location. Lower box seats at a Yankees game go for more than that. Top tickets to Wicked are over $300 at the box office. Other top broadway show orchestra seats run $150-175. So the most expensive ticket at City Ballet goes for $119 for a subscriber, or $149 for single sale. Considering all that, I feel City Ballet is a good investment for seeing a world-renown performing arts company.

Most of NYCB's audience, I believe, is repeat customers who have been attending for years or decades. NYCB has 16 weeks of rep tickets to sell, 7 performances per week. That's a whole lot of tickets to unload to customers who have seen most of these ballets numerous times in the past. Also, opera prices should not be compared to ballet. Opera tickets have always cost considerably more than ballet because people will pay top dollar to see world class singers. I don't think people will pay these super inflated prices for the numerous weak programs at NYCB. It should be interesting to see how empty the high priced seating sections are at NYCB. Me thinks there will be lots of discounted tickets floating around for programs that are heavy on the junky ballets. Hopefully whoever dreamed up this ludicrous system of charging as much for fourth ring tickets as for the orchestra will be fired within a year or so. I won't boycott, but I will be there much less frequently than I used to be. Also, I'm the type of person who needs to have my schedule arranged well in advance. It is more likely that I would just head home or to a movie after work than make a trip to the Atrium to buy a discounted ticket on the day of the performance.

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This is in response to puppytreats, who suggests that people who pay less for tickets and sit in the back, are not "true" ballet fans. Au contraire!

I am someone who has newly discovered NYCB, and in my thrill, verging on euphoria, I attended many, many performances over the past six weeks. I had been planning to attend several nights a week for the upcoming season. It hadn't occurred to me that Fourth Ring Society might be discontinued. I am not rich, or even all that well off. Ballet and the occasional opera constitute virtually the entirety of my discretionary budget. I don't need to sit close to the stage in order to get deep satisfaction from a performance. Fourth ring are not "bad seats" to me. I certainly have my favorite dancers, but so many dancers at NYCB are so good that I'm really happy to see almost anyone. I just want to see ballet, Balanchine ballet and Balanchine dancers. I am happy to buy in advance based on programming. Then I can check out the casting when it's posted and add in any desired performances that I'm not already holding a ticket for (anything with Teresa Reichlen, for example, or if Ashley Bouder and Taylor Stanley do "Square Dance" again). That was the plan, and I have been eagerly anticipating it. Now this about 4th Ring being discontinued. That is really crushing. I know ballet is expensive, what with the dancers, musicians, house costs, etc, etc. I'm very sympathetic to that, and I wish the government did more to support the arts here. But from a personal standpoint, I had anticipated so much joy from so many performances, and now that is being severely curtailed. It's very sad.

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This is in response to puppytreats, who suggests that people who pay less for tickets and sit in the back, are not "true" ballet fans. Au contraire!

Have to agree. Some of the most dedicated fans sit up in the fourth ring. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you are less of a fan than someone who sits in the orchestra. By the way, I think the orchestra is the worst section from which to watch ballet.

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Let's see. Premium orchestra seats at the Met can go for more than $200-300 depending on location. Lower box seats at a Yankees game go for more than that. Top tickets to Wicked are over $300 at the box office. Other top broadway show orchestra seats run $150-175. So the most expensive ticket at City Ballet goes for $119 for a subscriber, or $149 for single sale. Considering all that, I feel City Ballet is a good investment for seeing a world-renown performing arts company.

Most of NYCB's audience, I believe, is repeat customers who have been attending for years or decades. There are only a few Yankees games per season in New York, whereas NYCB has 16 weeks of rep tickets to sell, 7 performances per week. That's a whole lot of tickets to unload to customers who have seen most of these ballets numerous times in the past.

The Yankees, like all major league baseball teams, play 162 games in a regular season, half of which are at home and all of which are televised. Yankee Stadium seats 50,000 (52,000 if you count standing room), so I don't think scarcity really explains the ticket prices at Yankee stadium. Even a seat at the tip-top of the grandstand will set you back $30.

The sad fact is, live events are expensive -- even when a lucrative television contract provides a substantial subsidy!

Although ... you can see some mighty fine dance (and bona-fide downtown dance stars) for next-to-nothing at venues like Dance Theater Workshop or, for a little bit more than next-to-nothing, at venues like the Joyce. You'll likely get recorded music and minimal sets and costumes, and yes, sometimes the choreography is just plain awful. But it can be just plain awful at Lincoln Center too ...

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d Today, 10:48 AM

christine174, on 19 June 2011 - 02:18 PM, said:

This is in response to puppytreats, who suggests that people who pay less for tickets and sit in the back, are not "true" ballet fans. Au contraire!

_- said "Have to agree. Some of the most dedicated fans sit up in the fourth ring. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you are less of a fan than someone who sits in the orchestra. By the way, I think the orchestra is the worst section from which to watch ballet. "

RESPONSE:

I am getting ready to stop posting on these boards because everything I say gets twisted. In this case, I did not say that fans in the last row are not the true fans. I said the assumption that the true fans only are in the back is false. When I was young, I had very little money - not even enough for food. I saved money, worked extra jobs, and then stayed on line for three days (at an additional cost, due to lost time at work and school) to obtain tickets to see my favorite band. I made sacrifices to get my ticket. The person in the last row did not make the same sacrifices. When I started working full time, I could not make the same time sacrifices, but knew that I could not get a good ticket without waiting on line, so I paid a large premium to a scalper to obtain the best possible seats. I sacrificed other things to have the money to pay the premium. Therefore, to put someone in the last row in a seat in front of me, on the assumption that the person in the last row was a poor but more interested or dedicated viewer, was inaccurate. The ballerina who is taught that people in the front are not true fans is being misdirected. I obtained my front row seat or my orchestra seat by making choices and placing a priority on the orchestra seat in lieu of other things on which I could spend my money. I made sure I called the theatre as soon as tickets went on sale so I could obtain the best seat available, making choices as to my schedule on the day I had to buy tickets. The sacrifices and choices I made may not have been made by someone with a last row ticket. Therefore, having a last row ticket does not demonstrate devotion. (It does not demonstrate a lack of devotion, either. If you take it that way, you are misinterpreting me.)

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BTW, what exactly are creamy cookies?

I was referring, inexactly, to the cookies served at office functions with cookie on the bottom and lemon or chocolate filling and a twist of cream on top. Don't get me started!

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