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Getting Tickets

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Since casting announcements seem to be a last minute thing could anyone offer some suggestions as to how to get tickets if the theater is sold out? There are always particular artists that we may want to see.

In my case I would have to fly to San Francisco from southern California, so last minute waiting for returns is really not practical.

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Casts are usually announced a week ahead of the performance, so it's not totally last minute. Also, not all returns are last minute. I return tickets I don't want as soon as possible, so even during that week after casts are announced, you might find something. Also, there are almost always tickets up in the back, side balcony; horrible seats, but at least you would be there and you might get a last minute return.

If all else fails, I always suggest standing room. It's the only way I like watching from the orchestra, because you are guaranteed no heads blocking the view.

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Since casting announcements seem to be a last minute thing could anyone offer some suggestions as to how to get tickets if the theater is sold out? There are always particular artists that we may want to see.

In my case I would have to fly to San Francisco from southern California, so last minute waiting for returns is really not practical.

Craigslist is generally the way to go to find tickets for sale in the Bay Area. Try searching under the following categories:

CL >SF bay area >for sale / wanted >tickets - by owner

And this direct search link for "ballet" tickets may work:

http://http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/tix?catAbb=tix&query=ballet&zoomToPosting=&minAsk=&maxAsk=

Edit: we buy at our own risk from individual sellers - you will just have to trust your gut feeling about what the seller describes. Some people allow PayPal payment which is a good thing.

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How many performances at SFB are sold out?

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Craigslist is generally the way to go to find tickets for sale in the Bay Area.

Thanks, pherank.
Although casting isn't announced until just before a series, it's for the entire series. Hopefully the artists that one wants to see will also appear towards the end as well when seats might still be available.
Helene, from a quick glance at the seating chart, Giselle for instance, is almost sold out for the first Saturday, evening January 25, and about 85% sold out for the following Saturday evening except for the Balcony, which is about 50/50.
How are the Balcony seats?
My main interest, by the way, would be to see Maria Kochetkova and Simone Messmer, If they were to feature them consecutively, I might start commuting. flowers.gif
Added:
Thanks, also, PeggyR. I just saw your post. Is standing room usually available that evening and how do you get it? Can you get it ahead of time?

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Craigslist is generally the way to go to find tickets for sale in the Bay Area.

How are the Balcony seats?
My main interest, by the way, would be to see Maria Kochetkova and Simone Messmer, If they were to feature them consecutively, I might start commuting. flowers.gif

Balcony seating, near the front, really isn't bad, but it IS distant, and high up. I personally prefer to sit on the edge of the Orchestra, closer to the front, if I can't get a better seat. Although the sight angle is skewed, you are at least fairly close to the dancers.

I definitely recommend seeing Froustey too, while you can - we don't know if she will be around beyond one season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDaMvwi9bKg

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I prefer the Dress Circle or Balcony Circle in general. For "Giselle," I might go for the Orchestra, but I prefer to sit higher in general. It's a fairly steep auditorium. I love the back of the Balcony for opera when they have Operavision, but for ballet, it's a bit far.

Good for SFB for doing that well with "Giselle."

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I definitely recommend seeing Froustey too, while you can - we don't know if she will be around beyond one season.

Thank you very much, pherank, for bringing the video over here. I don't recall ever seeing such fine vertical centering, as shown in her frictionless spins and her non ending en pointe. I'll certainly try to see her if I can.
Helene, I personal love Orchestra if possible anywhere. I like being as close as possible. At SFB I'll settle for most anything for the moment.

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Several people here and on another thread about her have expressed concern that Froustey might not stay around long with SFB. Where is this concern coming from? Are there indications she might return to POB? Join ABT? (Except for two performances of Manon, the principals for ABT's Met season seem settled -- and I don't see Manon listed on her SFB bio page as a role she's done.) I'm not asking about pure speculation, but is she indicating doubts about staying in interviews, e.g.?

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Several people here and on another thread about her have expressed concern that Froustey might not stay around long with SFB. Where is this concern coming from? Are there indications she might return to POB? Join ABT? (Except for two performances of Manon, the principals for ABT's Met season seem settled -- and I don't see Manon listed on her SFB bio page as a role she's done.) I'm not asking about pure speculation, but is she indicating doubts about staying in interviews, e.g.?

No, she's not expressing doubts, but she took a sabbatical from POB as insurance. So she can return safely after, I believe 1 year's absence. If something develops for her at POB (a promotion), then she might want to return.

But I think she would develop a more distinctive approach/style by staying with SFB for a while at least.

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Giselle is probably going to sell out because it's one of two story ballets the company is doing this season, the evening of the 25th especially since it's the same week as the Gala which is on the 22nd. Makes it an attractive combo if you're coming in from out of town. Cinderella did sell out last year and there was a mad crush even in the standing room area.

Tuesdays (old and traditional SF?), Friday and Saturday evenings seem to have "A"ish casts. Someone at the box office told me there are few last minute changes for principal dancers, and if there are, people are most vocally disappointed if the change involves not being able to see Maria Kochetkova, Yuan Yuan Tan, Davit Karapetyan, or Damian Smith. Mathilde Froustey is probably also going to be hot ticket (listen to the mid-performance applause she gets in her solo on the SPF/Grand Pas clip – fairly rare in SF) but I don't know about hierarchy and having to go through the ranks, etc for a dancer new to the company.

You can get standing room tickets the day of the performance (around $20) or use a balcony ticket ($30-40) in standing. It's not close-up and intimate as I think you would like – to me it approximates row A and B, fourth ring at State Theater. But I don't think anything anywhere at the War Memorial Opera House is as nice as say the second or third rings for City Ballet performances for the combination of intimacy and angle of view. (I even miss my old $7.00 fifth circle seats – inline, like seats on a small commuter airplane, and everyone with their shopping of the day piled all around them.)

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Added:
Thanks, also, PeggyR. I just saw your post. Is standing room usually available that evening and how do you get it? Can you get it ahead of time?

-Standing room can only be purchased the day of the performance.

-Box office opens at 10 am.

-Standees are not admitted in order of ticket purchase. You line up outside the door, which opens an hour before the performance. You are let in in the order you line up, which means getting there early on a popular night if you want a decent spot (opening night Giselle would probably be popular, especially as it's nearly sold out).

-The standee areas are back of the Orchestra (which is pretty good, especially since you don't have to worry about heads obscuring your view), and the balcony, which is pretty bad. It's been my experience that a lot of people stay down in the Orchestra area, even if it means standing 2 or 3 deep. As of a few years ago, the ushers didn't seem to care. But it's best just to get there early so you are at the front of the line.

-The standing room price is about $20 - $25.

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My experience with Balcony standing room was in the '90's, when my plane was fogged in, and as a latecomer, I was escorted there for the first act of "Don Carlo." I was miserable: it was like a yuppie bar, with people chatting, and I wanted to slap them. I suspect that was more latecomer than standee behavior, but if the company still parks latecomers there, I would make sure I was in the Orchestra standing room.

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Mathilde Froustey is probably also going to be hot ticket (listen to the mid-performance applause she gets in her solo on the SPF/Grand Pas clip – fairly rare in SF) but I don't know about hierarchy and having to go through the ranks, etc for a dancer new to the company.

My guess is that she will be a Friday/Saturday night performer, since she's new to the company. Not that that's a bad thing in any way - the entire week will have worthy soloists in action.

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Thanks again everyone for your insights and suggestions. The popularity of Tuesday nights is interesting news. When I lived in San Francisco, long before my interest in ballet, my daughter's elderly babysitter told us that Thursday night was the big one for locals.

I guess what I would really like to find is a ticket agent with a reasonable markup. Agent prices seem quite high in San Francisco (double or more?).

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I love the back of the Balcony for opera when they have Operavision, but for ballet, it's a bit far.

It's also used for some ballet performances, isn't it? I have little experience with ballet at the War Memorial, but during last year's run of Nijinsky, the ballet was projected onto the screens, though I didn't use them.

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I guess what I would really like to find is a ticket agent with a reasonable markup. Agent prices seem quite high in San Francisco (double or more?).

Why don't you call Ticket Services directly and discuss your situation - they seem to be fairly flexible on exchanges. This links to some trio packages (elsewhere there's a warning about "demand based priciing" - don't know when that kicks in)

http://www.sfballet.org/tickets/packages/customize

I'll have to keep an eye on Thursdays. Wednesday's curtain is earlier, so I think there are more commuters that night – and there are often Green Room interviews/lectures Weds before the performance.

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Thanks, Quiggin. When I mentioned the lady years ago referring to Thursday as the 'locals' night out', she was just referring to going out in general, which may have had little to do with ballet attendance.

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Thursday night is the "go out" night in parts of Europe. For example, when I worked onsite with our teams in Ireland, they would have dinner at 9:30 or 10:00pm, followed by a pub followed by a club followed by the wine bar from 2-4am. (I can stay up very late; it's being vertical after 11pm that's a challenge.) I could never understand how the young bucks in international finance in London could do this and be at their desks and productive at 8am Friday.

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I guess what I would really like to find is a ticket agent with a reasonable markup. Agent prices seem quite high in San Francisco (double or more?).

Why don't you call Ticket Services directly and discuss your situation - they seem to be fairly flexible on exchanges. This links to some trio packages (elsewhere there's a warning about "demand based priciing" - don't know when that kicks in)

http://www.sfballet.org/tickets/packages/customize

I'll have to keep an eye on Thursdays. Wednesday's curtain is earlier, so I think there are more commuters that night – and there are often Green Room interviews/lectures Weds before the performance.

Re demand-based pricing, it seems to kick in whenever. For instance I was in SF last April for two mixed programs, the price of which was the same on the day of the performance as it had been when tickets went on sale the previous November. But by that time, ticket prices for Cinderella, which was still 4 weeks in the future, and was already almost sold out, had doubled (yes, doubled!).

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