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Heads-Up : Radical Change in Online Tix Sale Procedure !

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As of today it seems there has been a radical change in online tix sale procedure : one has to enter his/her name and passport number following which a booking confirmation only is emailed and one has to personally collect the actual tickets IN PERSON from a Bolshoy ticket sale counter, presenting the passport entered in the system and the credit card used in the booking ! I just got tix for the "Ballet Artists' Galas" on 25-26 April and this is what I found ..... no etix emailed to you as before, you have to go and collect and possibly stand in line ...... what a hassle !!

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As though getting into the theater wasn't a hassle before. :blink:

Naturally, the Bolshoi posted the new rules online in Russian, but not in English. As far as I can tell, the new rules apply only during the first week of sales. Starting on the Friday following the opening of sales, the usual procedures apply, and e-tickets can be downloaded online as before.

Ticket scalping is a serious problem at the Bolshoi. The next performance of Giselle, for example, has been sold out for weeks at the Bolshoi box office, but even at this late stage about 45 tickets are available on one of the scalping sites. There are even larger numbers of tickets available for Giselles not starring La Zakharova.

Some more effective ways of dealing with ticket scalping at the Bolshoi could be: 1. posting lead casting before tickets go on sale (as opposed to the last week of the month, when all tickets have long been sold, leaving no option other than the scalpers), so that audiences will know when Prima X is appearing and can buy tickets accordingly, and 2. instituting a resale system along the lines of the ROH, so that more tickets will be available through Bolshoi box office.

Edited by volcanohunter
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6 hours ago, Dreamer said:

Does the Bolshoi have a system that would be sort of an equivalent to what is know in the US the season subscription?

No. For one thing, that would require nailing down the schedule in advance, and at the Bolshoi schedules are fluid things. For example, a season booklet published in the autumn indicated that there would be performances of Jewels on May 9, 10 & 11, whereas now they are scheduled for May 8 & 9; performances of Coppelia originally scheduled for April 25-27 and June 6-10 are now taking place on April 20-22 and June 8-10.

Every Saturday new blocks of single tickets go on sale, three months in advance for ballets and operas, two months in advance for chamber music concerts. In the event of late additions to the schedule, the time frame will be shorter, of course.

Edited by volcanohunter
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In the words of Marcus Porcius Cato: "It is a hard matter to save that city from ruin where a fish is sold for more than an ox."

As long as people in Moscow are willing and able to spend a whole month's earnings on a ticket to a ballet performance, even such draconian measures as demanding passports to buy tickets (like airlines do) will be helpless against scalping. 

Edited by Fleurdelis
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VANOC had a good scheme for the Vancouver Olympics:  they extended the ticket account website to allow people to put tickets they purchased online up for sale at whatever price they wanted (probably up to a maximum, but I saw tickets to the Men's Hockey Gold Medal game going for more than I paid for every figure skating event except the Ladies FS, all of the curling play-offs and metal games, the Women's Hockey gold medal game (same time as the Ladies FS), and half of the long-track speed-skating events.)

They charged 10% to the seller and 10% to the buyer, who could flip those tickets.  (I made the mistake of reselling one of the victory ceremony tickets + concert for face value plus 10%, and it turned out to sell for over $400 on the day of the ceremony, lol!)  They didn't have an offset:  if you bought something off the site, you paid for it right away.  They sent a check the summer after the Olympics, if I recall the timing, long enough to catch chargeback fraud within the six-month window that credit card companies usually allow.  So they got their 20% and the float.

I wish they had sold/licensed that software to arts organizations.  It could have been one, central e-commerce, ticket-buying, ticket-trading engine.



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5 hours ago, Swanilda8 said:

This is all a little late for the topic, I realize, but asking for a passport number is pretty much business as normal in Russia – it's not seen as the same kind of radical demand as it would be in the US or the UK. 

Getting a ticket for any high-demand event at the Bolshoy has become a real hassle for people like me who fly in only a couple of hours before curtain up. My hotel is opposite the Bolshoy and even then !  One has to go to the main box office and present passport, credit card used in booking, and passport copy of any companion (whose passport number and name has to be entered when booking) to collect the tix. And there is always a queue and Russian ladies ahead of you in the queue let everyone they know join them and jump the queue ! So collecting your tickets with only a couple of hours to spare is almost a non-starter :  couple of weeks ago I wanted to collect my tix for a future event at the New Stage box office when I arrived for an evening performance, was given a card showing locations of Bolshoy box offices on Teatralnaya and directed to the main box  office. The next day I went there an hour before my matinee was due to start and queued at Window No. 3, only to be directed to Window No. 1 when my turn came. By then there was no time left so I went off to the matinee. It ended at 2:45 pm and I made it to Window No. 1 just 5 mins before it was due to close at 3 pm for the lunch break. Then the lady there would not release the tix since all three had my name and passport number !  Luckily by this time I have learnt just enough Russian to be able to explain that I live in Istanbul and did not have the passport copy of my companion when I bought the tix online, adding that getting a ticket for the Bolshoy has become a "kashmar" (nightmare) !!

This regime is in effect for the first week of advance tix sales, from online sale opening on a Saturday at 5:30 pm (box office sale opens in the morning !) to Friday of following week. From then on you can get e-tickets online and print them out at home ...... if there are any left !!

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