Courtesy of fellow-blogger Intermezzo, the Bayreuth Festival is teaming with an Internet ticket service to offer black-market-like priced tickets. These will be acknowledged as valid ones, i.e., will be personalised so that valid holders will not be turned down.
Is this a good idea ? The real judge would be if the classic Bayreuth black-marketeers have a bad year. But the Beckmesser in me has difficulties feeling that this is such a good idea: It could get the black-marketeers fell vindicated. Another issue is that the company the Festival operates with is German whereas it seems that victims of Bayreuth scalpers seem to be speaking English with an American accent.
If this is too successful, then it could become fundamental to the Festival finances who could gradually increase all prices (which would not solve the issue of the black market which is more a reflection of the imbalance between a small supply and a much bigger demand). What would happen if all tickets were subjected to an eBay-like pricing, ie, have patrons name the price they you are ready to pay ? Any idea on the impact ?
I leave the reader to evaluate if they want to take advantage of this offer and remind them that if they really want to spend money on the Ring, then they can buy advanced tickets for $ 25,000 and $ 10,000 the 2012 cycle at the Met conducted by James Levine.
I last heard Levine conduct this work in New York in 2004 and enjoyed every second of it. I heard Thielemann perform the full cycle in Bayreuth (reviewed here, here, here and finally here) and had another great time. None of the performances were without some blemish but hearing them as a cycle is a treat.
This being said, at these highly inflated prices, can anyone really relax and enjoy the music ?