Has anyone ever worked with ticket brokers? I really did not want to buy a thousand dollars worth of tickets without casting info.
I totally agree with you. I find it quite unbelievable that companies don't show casting info, yet ask for your money. They must have some idea who they plan to put in there! I think we are all okay with the fact that things happen and casting changes at the last minute, but we do want a general idea of who we might get. Same with opera companies. It is crazy how some expect you to purchase a subscription without knowing who is going to sing a major role like Norma, for example. You know they have to know who they have pencilled in for a role like that. You don't just choose to put that on the schedule and then go to the local bus stop looking for a singer to sing the most difficult role in the entire repetoire.
Since opera companies usually have to book at least two years in advance, in my experience, the companies I've gone to almost always show casting by subscription time, apart from the occasional TBD, usually because someone had to pull out. However, ABT is one of the few ballet companies that announces principal casting well in advance. Ballet companies might have dancers rehearsing roles eight months before a premiere, especially when a choreographer or stager is only available to start then, but more often, the subscription deadline has passed before the choreographer/stager even sees the dancers and chooses them. Ballet also deals with so many injuries that it's impractical to announce casting early: if someone has to be replaced, people feel that they've been sold tickets on false pretenses.
Multiple cast juggling is fairly common in ballet, and I've only seen it a few times in my experience of opera. Once was in 2002 when Sondra Radvanovsky didn't sing in a Santa Fe "La Traviata," and the scheduled Elvira in "L'Italiana in Algieri," Madeleine Bender sang Violetta, and one of the apprentices, Meredith Barber, sang Elvira. (The performance in between, of "La Clemenza di Tito," was the first time I'd every heard Kristine Jepsen [Sesto], Joyce diDonato [Annio], and Isabel Bayrakdarian [Servilia] live.) Another was a Wagner opera where a cover sang the lead, and someone else came in for the cover's smaller role. I remember performances at NYCB, especially late in the Spring season, where the list and explanation of substitutions seemed longer than the cast list.