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NYC Ballet PricesAudience Member Goes on Strike


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#181 Eileen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:28 PM

I have written and submitted an op-ed piece to The Wall Street Journal on the City Ballet pricing issue. It takes a different tack than my submission to the Times. I doubt it will be published, but the very act of writing helps clarify issues and focus my thinking, always a good thing.

#182 susanger

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:00 AM

Finally, a reply, received yesterday, to my two letters. From Peter Martins and addressed to me, not Dear Subscriber, and with a live signature. Mr. Martins thanks me for writing and for renewing my subscription. He writes that George Balanchine told him "more than once, 'People don't like change, but often change is necessary.' And perhaps the greatest thing about Mr. B was his ability to adapt to changing times." Even he has had to change his seat in the theater, Mr. Martins writes, re-locating to the far side of the rear orchestra from his seat in the back center of the First Ring. He says he is enjoying this new perspective and hopes I, too, will "embrace" the changes the company has instituted.

I appreciate his response but really, Peter Martins can sit in any seat in the house -- for free. The cost of his seat didn't increase by 50%. I think I'll invite him to come sit in the $29 seats in the Third Ring so he can enjoy that new perspective too.

Mr. Martins closes by explaining that he is seeking to achieve a balance between "maintaining for our loyal subscribers like yourself your continued pleasure in watching our performances into the future while at the same time increasing revenue and filling the house in the best way possible."

I understand the company's need to close its deficit and maximize its revenues. Their current plan just does not seem to be "the best way possible."

#183 Trini

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:44 AM


Finally, a reply, received yesterday, to my two letters. From Peter Martins and addressed to me, not Dear Subscriber, and with a live signature. Mr. Martins thanks me for writing and for renewing my subscription. He writes that George Balanchine told him "more than once, 'People don't like change, but often change is necessary.' And perhaps the greatest thing about Mr. B was his ability to adapt to changing times." Even he has had to change his seat in the theater, Mr. Martins writes, re-locating to the far side of the rear orchestra from his seat in the back center of the First Ring. He says he is enjoying this new perspective and hopes I, too, will "embrace" the changes the company has instituted.

I appreciate his response but really, Peter Martins can sit in any seat in the house -- for free. The cost of his seat didn't increase by 50%. I think I'll invite him to come sit in the $29 seats in the Third Ring so he can enjoy that new perspective too.

Mr. Martins closes by explaining that he is seeking to achieve a balance between "maintaining for our loyal subscribers like yourself your continued pleasure in watching our performances into the future while at the same time increasing revenue and filling the house in the best way possible."

I understand the company's need to close its deficit and maximize its revenues. Their current plan just does not seem to be "the best way possible."


Thanks for sharing. Interesting response.

#184 puppytreats

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:47 AM

New pricing worries: Netflix to raise prices. (See link: http://www.huffingto...n_n_895779.html). What is a fan to do? I am ready to cancel my subscription. Do any other streaming sites have ballet? (I am not referring to blurry snippets on youtube.com, although I have watched full length ballets in a series of consecutive snippets.) My library has some ballets available for viewing, but not all that I wish to see.

#185 Jayne

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 11:11 AM

puppytreats: does your library have a method to request new DVDs for purchase? Sometimes library systems have computerized "recommendations" where members may make requests.

Regarding the scalping issue, modern Russia has all sorts of organized ticket scalping for popular events, so I don't think this necessarily a "Russian" disapproval of scalping. I think there are factions from all societies that participate in scalping (as buyers or sellers) and factions that disapprove of scalping and believe it ought to be illegal.

Some professional sports clubs have organized alternative methods for reselling tickets, that bypass disreputable middlemen and the risk of forgeries. It works like this: owners may return tickets to the sports club's ticket office for resale at the box office. If the ticket sells, then the original owner receives full payment via paypal, minus a reasonable handling fee. Other sports club do essentially the same thing, but utilize online auctions for the tickets, which might not always sell at full price, or might sell for more than full price. Everything is done under the wing of the sports club, and ticket numbers are vouchsafed. This gives securities to both buyers and sellers.

Once, my mother could not attend a Symphony event, it was a one-off, so no chance to exchange tickets for another date. the symphony took back the tickets for resale, and sent my mother a letter stating the ticket return counted as a 501c3 donation to the symphony. The box office was able to resell the tickets at full price, and my mother was able to claim a deduction on her taxes.

#186 Eileen

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 12:47 PM


We all have our personal values.


Clearly.
As a Russian American who grew up in this country, and simply as a human being, I found your post incredibly offensive and have reported it to the moderators.

As to the point that City Ballet tickets are a rare commodity and, therefore, the company, as a free market agent, can raise their prices sky high, I would argue that they should first try selling out the repertory season at the current price. If, as has been reported on the board, their average attendance rate is only 62%, they can not be said to be in possession of a hot commodity, and should sell their tickets at a discount instead of creating a false sense of scarcity by closing off the top two rings.


By the way, thought I'd mention - I'm also a Russian American. My grandfather came to America from a village near Czernowitz in the year 1910.

#187 Amy Reusch

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 08:53 PM

What I don't understand is why they don't try just closing the third ring... That price level is such that those people could choose between spending a little more or joining the 4th ring....

#188 Roberto Dini

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 07:20 PM

What I don't understand is why they don't try just closing the third ring... That price level is such that those people could choose between spending a little more or joining the 4th ring....

I agree with you, but the rationale probably is to consolidate the populated areas of the house. Closing the third ring but opening the fourth would leave a gap.

#189 abatt

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:45 AM

I think the rationale is to remove half the seats in the house from public sale (decrease supply) in order to increase the demand for the high priced seats in the other areas of the house. The fourth ring has a vast number of seats (considerably more than the third ring, and perhaps even more than the orchestra section). They are playing games with supply and demand in an attempt to increase revenue from ticket sales. They are saying that there are affordable options now in the orchestra, first and second ring, but they have never released any figures on exactly how many cheap seats are in those areas. I think it's a pretty small number. I don't think this has anything to do with improving the experinece of the audience.

#190 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:23 AM

It is curious how impressive the venue seems from the top ring, as opposed to how small and intimate it seems from the orchestra. I know they are trying to solve financial equations, but truly, most people I know in the top ring will simply stop going, not upgrade. It is nice that the subscriptions offer deals, but that appeals to lower ring style thinking... The top ring audience's financial situation usually does not allow for the appeal of "spend more to save more".

#191 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:15 AM

The fourth ring has a vast number of seats (considerably more than the third ring, and perhaps even more than the orchestra section).


For what it's worth, I just did a quick count. There are about:

873 seats in the orchestra
676 seats in the 4th ring (87 A&B center| 551 C-O center | 38 sides)
306 in the 3rd ring (260 center | 46 sides)
308 in the 2nd ring (274 center | 34 sides)
333 in the 1st ring (277 center | 56 sides)

Which is 2,496 in total. per the NYCB website, there are 2,544 seats in total, so I'm guessing the balance is in the 5th ring.

Shutting the 3rd and 4th rings down completely would reduce the house size from 2,496 to 1,514, or by about 39%

#192 vipa

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 03:53 PM

Thanks Kathleen, it's very helpful to look at those numbers - One question - isn't the 5th ring just the upper most portion of the 4th ring?

If they had to shut down anything why not just the 4th ring. I don't get why they are shutting both the 3rd & 4th rings, unless it's to fill the seats with the bad sight lines in the other sections.

#193 Trini

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:08 PM

My guess is that 3rd and 4th rings will reopen in the future but with new subscribers paying higher prices

#194 vipa

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:30 PM

It's really funny in a way that the Koch brothers paid for huge renovations of State Theater, and now that theater is cutting off access to people who can't afford hight ticket prices. The same Koch brothers that were instrumental in Kansas doing away with all state funding for the arts. The big argument, in that case, being that some people like Beethoven, but all tax payers shouldn't have to pay for an orchestra to play Beethoven. A simple minded argument.

I'm not saying that the Koch brothers came up with the new seating play, but I have to believe they'd approve of it.

Moderators - If I'm getting too political please remove.

#195 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:41 PM

I suspect the huge number of 4th ring seats was part of some mission to bring art to all of us...not just the wealthy patrons.


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