Eileen

NYC Ballet Prices

241 posts in this topic

What garbage. They haven't a clue. I just wonder how much money is being wasted on the marketing company that is advising them. Peter Martins should take 10 minutes every day to personally call his disgruntled subscribers.

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The marketing department's reply to ViolinConcerto is actually a masterpiece of corporate pablum--it explains nothing and it promises nothing. It even leaves NYCB an opening to resume the status quo ante if the new policies should prove not to be a box office philosopher's stone. As someone whose task it sometimes has been to blow fairy dust in the face of a disgruntled client, I must compliment K. Brown and her henchmen and women on such a soothing piece of vapidity. Trouble is, neither ViolinConcerto, susanger, nor, I suspect, anyone else, is buying it...

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The true test will be box office receipts for the 2011-12 season.

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As a result of not renewing my third ring subscription I got a call last week from a volunteer at the NYCB. He was very pleasant and tried very hard to convince me that a far off center seat in the 2nd ring would be a great seat to view the ballet at an affordable price. I did not buy it. He finally said that NYCB was restructuring its prices to be more in line with other entertainment venues in NYC and was way behind in doing this, and later on that they had a $6m deficit and had to deal with it by increasing ticket prices. I pointed out that the new subscription price structure and the various strange "turn off" mailings sent to me as a subscriber said to me that NYCB was looking for a different level of clientele (i.e. richer) than those who occupied the center seats in third and fourth ring, and while I do not like the new policy, they are certainly free to do as they wished, but it now excluded me. The gentleman was very pleasant and spent quite some time on the phone trying to convince me to resubscribe. Now NYCB prices have increased over the years but I always felt that they kept the prices in line so that NYCB was affordable all round and kept to the original aim of bringing ballet to as wide an audience as possible. Now there is a new policy in place. I hope it works for the sake of ballet in the spirit of Balanchine and for the dancers. I look forward to seeing NYCB maybe once or twice a year depending on what is on and whether I can get decent seats at affordable (probably discount) prices. But this is also an opportunity to see other ballet companies that visit NYC with the $ I would have used for NYCB. When I hear the music on the radio I am already nostalgic for the ballets to these scores I will probably no longer see after 20 years of subscribing but I am sure that this, too, will pass with time.

Cheers!

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Thanks, trini and others for describing your experiences. I understand that NYCB employees and volunteers have to put the best face on new policies, whatever they think about them personally. But I have to agree with melange, who writes:

The marketing department's reply to ViolinConcerto is actually a masterpiece of corporate pablum--it explains nothing and it promises nothing. It even leaves NYCB an opening to resume the status quo ante if the new policies should prove not to be a box office philosopher's stone. As someone whose task it sometimes has been to blow fairy dust in the face of a disgruntled client, I must compliment K. Brown and her henchmen and women on such a soothing piece of vapidity.

What worries me the possibility of unanticipated consequences. Even if this new policy works in financial terms, NYCB seems to be turning away just the kind of audience they need most.

These people are often the Company's biggest enthusiasts, those who attend most frequently and have seen the most. More important, they are "enthusiasts who actually know what they are looking at." They are the keepers of the Company's history and of its standards.

My fear is this:

--What will happen, if that particular audience departs or cuts way back on attendance?

-- Who will be left to speak up to management if and when performance standards begin to slide, or when repertoire becomes watered down or trivialized?

The NYCB is a great company, charged with preserving a vast repertoire of ballets and seeing that they are danced at the highest level. To do this one needs a discerning audience. Not just ticket-buyers with deeper pockets.

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I will try writing an Op-Ed to the New York Times.

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We were also loyal through good times and bad, good ballets and not so good ballets, because, as you state, we understood the essence of the company. We also appreciated the high standards and spread the word about the NYCB and introduced many to NYCB over the years. Sadly, that has come to an end for some of us loyalists with the outrageous increases in ticket prices. Loyalty cuts two ways. It takes two hands to clap.

Kudos to you for considering writing an Op Ed piece.

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Kudos to you for considering writing an Op Ed piece.

I agree. This is the "local company" of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable dance audience in the country. That audience deserves to be heard in a wider forum than here.

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As a result of not renewing my third ring subscription I got a call last week from a volunteer at the NYCB. He was very pleasant and tried very hard to convince me that a far off center seat in the 2nd ring would be a great seat to view the ballet at an affordable price. I did not buy it. He finally said that NYCB was restructuring its prices to be more in line with other entertainment venues in NYC and was way behind in doing this, and later on that they had a $6m deficit and had to deal with it by increasing ticket prices. I pointed out that the new subscription price structure and the various strange "turn off" mailings sent to me as a subscriber said to me that NYCB was looking for a different level of clientele (i.e. richer) than those who occupied the center seats in third and fourth ring, and while I do not like the new policy, they are certainly free to do as they wished, but it now excluded me. The gentleman was very pleasant and spent quite some time on the phone trying to convince me to resubscribe. Now NYCB prices have increased over the years but I always felt that they kept the prices in line so that NYCB was affordable all round and kept to the original aim of bringing ballet to as wide an audience as possible. Now there is a new policy in place. I hope it works for the sake of ballet in the spirit of Balanchine and for the dancers. I look forward to seeing NYCB maybe once or twice a year depending on what is on and whether I can get decent seats at affordable (probably discount) prices. But this is also an opportunity to see other ballet companies that visit NYC with the $ I would have used for NYCB. When I hear the music on the radio I am already nostalgic for the ballets to these scores I will probably no longer see after 20 years of subscribing but I am sure that this, too, will pass with time.

Cheers!

Trini, I am curious, did the caller identify himself as a volunteer? I doubt very much if this is a task that volunteers would be assigned to. A friend of mine got a similar call (they spoke for over an hour late at night!) and the caller said he was in the the marketing department. He also made arrangements for what my friend thought was a very reasonable location/price, and then, CALLED BACK THE NEXT DAY TO RESCIND! He said he'd made a mistake. Do you think my friend is renewing? No. And he's had his subscription since the 1970's.

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We were also loyal through good times and bad, good ballets and not so good ballets, because, as you state, we understood the essence of the company. We also appreciated the high standards and spread the word about the NYCB and introduced many to NYCB over the years. Sadly, that has come to an end for some of us loyalists with the outrageous increases in ticket prices. Loyalty cuts two ways. It takes two hands to clap.

Kudos to you for considering writing an Op Ed piece.

Thank you, Trini. I wrote and submitted it today, but I doubt it will be chosen. I will redo it as a letter to the Arts & Leisure Section of the Sunday Times, at least.

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We were also loyal through good times and bad, good ballets and not so good ballets, because, as you state, we understood the essence of the company. We also appreciated the high standards and spread the word about the NYCB and introduced many to NYCB over the years. Sadly, that has come to an end for some of us loyalists with the outrageous increases in ticket prices. Loyalty cuts two ways. It takes two hands to clap.

Kudos to you for considering writing an Op Ed piece.

Thank you, Trini. I wrote and submitted it today, but I doubt it will be chosen. I will redo it as a letter to the Arts & Leisure Section of the Sunday Times, at least.

Thank you Ellen, for trying to be our voice. I hope something is published.

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Thank you, Eileen. I echo vipa.

Violin Concerto, I must admit that I cannot remember if the person identified himself as a volunteer. In the past the calls I have gotten (not for this ticket price increase but for other reasons) were from volunteers so I may have assumed so. But I am sure he did not say he was marketing, that I would have remembered. Maybe he assumed I would know. He did state a number of times that he enjoyed going to NYCB and it was his favorite ballet company. Fortunately for me I had a chart with all the prices that I had written down which I called and asked for on receiving the first renewal package with xeroxed copy of a theatre seat map and no prices. So, when he tried to convince me that the far off center seat in second ring © would be fine viewing in comparison to what I had this past year, I went for my chart and was able to talk with him based on facts.

I am sorry your friend had this experience. Sounds like NYCB folks need some training in dealing with long time subscribers. Seems to me someone who has been subscribing since the 70s needs special consideration. I must admit I am sorry he called since it awakened all the feelings I had on first learning of the price changes, and with no positive outcome. They should not call unless they have something positive to offer.

I also want to thank all on this board for everything. This is a period of mourning for me NYCBwise and you are all being very helpful. Thank you.

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It may not be common in NYC, but in Seattle, I've received calls from volunteers to renew subscriptions, as well as for fund-raising activities.

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I've been avoiding their calls for several weeks now because I'm unsure what I want to do. I think I will not subscribe and take my chances with single tickets, but it's hard to know what availability will be like with the new structuring. What's sad is that it looks like no matter what I do, I won't be able to go nearly as often.

Does anybody know what's going to happen with standing room when the Fourth Ring is closed?

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I have written two letters to Ms. Brown, two letters to Peter Martins and one letter to the chairman of the NYCB board. I have had no reply. The last letter said good bye after subscribing through five decades.

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"Thank you Eileen, for trying to be our voice." - from vipa

What an honor and a responsibility. There are slim chances of publication in the Times, as their ways are arcane and they are looking for writers of greater exoticism than I can offer. I am not from a currently fashionable ethnic group. All I have is a passionate desire to speak the truth with honesty, forthrightness, and hopefully, courage.

Last night I tried to sell (successfully) a Mariinsky ballet ticket starring Vishneva in front of the Met Opera. The desire for tickets was far greater than availability. Mine was the only one available. Most of the prospective buyers were Russian. I knew they were not interested in my ticket, as it was expensive. I explained to them that the face value on my ticket had been increased by the box office by $50 and I thought $25 more than that was not excessive. But they had been raised in Communism, where profiting is not only illegal, but also viewed as immoral. The looks on their faces showed me clearly that they considered my offering to sell a prime orchestra ticket at a profit was an act of immorality. It was stealing from the people. It was nonkulturny. I knew only an American would understand the economics of it - I had a very scarce commodity and there was a huge number of people looking for tickets, although at low prices. Many Russians queried me about the price and I said gently, "I'm sorry, it's rather expensive." I was looking for someone who could afford my price. One (American) woman told me what I am doing is illegal and she threatened to report me to the guards. I told her, "You are misinformed. Reselling tickets at a higher price is now legal. Have you read the New York Civil Code?" I had not read the New York Civil Code, but I will research it tomorrow at work. I invariably find people who believe profiting from tickets to be immoral are people who believe it is moral to offer me quite a bit less than face value, and when that does not succeed, tell me to my face that I am a criminal! They want a bargain, and they want me to give them the bargain, rather than to one of their many competitors in the below-value "market".

Ironically enough, a stranger told me a woman is looking for a ticket and brought forward this woman who had threatened me! I said forthrightly, "I would never sell to her. She threatened to report me to Lincoln Center." I felt murmurs of approval from the crowd, watching this drama. I then quickly sold the ticket to a well dressed woman who could afford it.

My point in all this is now I am on the other side, I was a seller of a ticket, and I was dealing with all those who felt entitled to low cost tickets from me. But how was I to choose among them? Should I offer it to the shabby Russian lady who offered me $30? The box office price was $177 now, and there were no tickets available. The free market was the only way I could distinguish among all the "offers" pouring in, by selling to the best price offered for my ticket. City Ballet is doing the same thing. Someone asked me, "Why are you selling?" I thought for a moment and said, "Because I need the money more than I need to see the ballet." I had a commodity in great demand. The only problem was the excess of Russians who believed selling tickets for a profit was immoral, who were aware of the American free market but considered it "criminal" and freedom run amuck. A few Americans supported me, understood I was not overcharging under the circumstances. "It's a fair price," one American man told me.

So here I am defending City Ballet once I am in their shoes! They have a hot commodity and they want to sell it for the highest price to a rarefied, well to do audience. I guess we are the poor Russians, believing we have a "right" to inexpensive tickets. This is the free market, folks, like it or not. I will take the money I made selling ballet tickets and go to "exotic" Canada where I will splurge on Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Life's expensive. Life takes money.

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They removed prime viewing seats in the orchestra at the request of the New York City Opera, who have now decamped, in order to make aisles. Judging from a picture of the auditorium in today's Times, it looks like some ninety seats could be reinstated, which would help with meeting demand for good seats under the new plan, if that's what we're forced to live with.

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Last night I tried to sell (successfully) a Mariinsky ballet ticket starring Vishneva in front of the Met Opera. The desire for tickets was far greater than availability. Mine was the only one available. Most of the prospective buyers were Russian. I knew they were not interested in my ticket, as it was expensive. I explained to them that the face value on my ticket had been increased by the box office by $50 and I thought $25 more than that was not excessive. But they had been raised in Communism, where profiting is not only illegal, but also viewed as immoral. The looks on their faces showed me clearly that they considered my offering to sell a prime orchestra ticket at a profit was an act of immorality. It was stealing from the people. It was nonkulturny. I knew only an American would understand the economics of it - I had a very scarce commodity and there was a huge number of people looking for tickets, although at low prices. Many Russians queried me about the price and I said gently, "I'm sorry, it's rather expensive." I was looking for someone who could afford my price. I then quickly sold the ticket to a well dressed woman who could afford it.

The only problem was the excess of Russians who believed selling tickets for a profit was immoral, who were aware of the American free market but considered it "criminal" and freedom run amuck. A few Americans supported me, understood I was not overcharging under the circumstances. "It's a fair price," one American man told me.

I guess we are the poor Russians, believing we have a "right" to inexpensive tickets. This is the free market, folks, like it or not. I will take the money I hade selling ballet tickets and go to "exotic" Canada where I will splurge on Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Life's expensive. Life takes moxie.

I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

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I've tried to sell a ticket in front of the Met (I always give a discount) and have been spirited away by police, even threatened to be arrested by some police. I usually then walk to Avery Fischer Hall to complete the transaction. So I find this story somewhat unbelievable, that you were holding a mini-auction. And even then, why the gratuitous comments about Russians? Many of them have been in the U.S. for many years and it's a stretch to think that they're all stuck in this "communist" mentality.

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I've tried to sell a ticket in front of the Met (I always give a discount) and have been spirited away by police, even threatened to be arrested by some police. I usually then walk to Avery Fischer Hall to complete the transaction.

I wish somebody would clarify the rules about this. I tried to give away a ticket for the Met's Rheingold--it was completely sold out and I just wanted to place the ticket in the hands of some impoverished-looking student--and security told me I couldn't even do that unless I moved to the front of the plaza. Well, it was five minutes before curtain and I didn't have time, so the ticket went to waste. It's a public space. Does Lincoln Center security have the right to shoo away people who are not engaged in anything unlawful? Or maybe I'm wrong. Does anybody know for certain what the New York laws are about this nowadays? I tried but failed to find something online.

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I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.

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I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.

Well I'm American, and I find jacking up the price of a ticket that you're trying to sell tacky. I don't ever do it and that has nothing to do with culture, but personal values.

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I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.

Well I'm American, and I find jacking up the price of a ticket that you're trying to sell tacky. I don't ever do it and that has nothing to do with culture, but personal values.

Thanks for your input, I will take it under consideration while I enjoy Quebec City. We all have our personal values.

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I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

If you have a problem with a post, please report this via the "Report" button in the bottom left corner of the post, and the Moderators will review it. That is our site policy.

I find that making sweeping generalizations about populations is pretty ridiculous. I can't be offended as a Russian, but I can be offended that I'm included in the generalization about Americans. Where I grew up, it was illegal, and may still be, to charge more than the face value of a ticket plus fees, and I don't think most Americans think it is a cultural imperative to do something illegal.

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