The Grand theatre sold tickets for new year’s the Nutcracker the most popular ballet. At the appointed day and declared. Under the supervision of the police and security services. And even the most stringent measures did not help: in a huge queue had reached the scuffle and sputtering gas.
What happens at the pre-sale of tickets to Big? As a guide the main theatre of the country is struggling with the ticket mafia and defeat it — this is what I talked to the General Director of the Bolshoi Vladimir Urinam.
— We usually start pre-selling tickets for three months, and people know about it. Moreover, on the website posted schedule: what performances the sequence in which sell. This rule works for the whole season.
— So, selling the highest-grossing of the Bolshoi ballet at this time was out of the ordinary. Why?
New year’s “Nutcracker” is a unique story in history is Great. Such a popular play in the days leading up to New year (23 December-8 January), no. It’s a passion — the whole family go to “the Nutcracker”.
Scene from the ballet “the Nutcracker”
— It’s beautiful: with the whole family to a magical Christmas ballet. And even in the Bolshoi theatre…
— Nothing wrong with that, except that Moscow with guests — 15-million city. But we would sell everything calmly, if not for the dealers: they realize that there is a good opportunity to capitalize on high demand. Besides, this year we play “the Nutcracker” on 6-7 performances more than in previous years, sometimes twice a day. And it turned out that on the day sales hit the highest number of performances, which naturally caused a stir. Well, then, some of the limitations that we imposed on the sale of tickets, caused activation of the mafia dealers. They have prepared more than serious, and that was the day I really have never seen.
— Can you tell me what it was, and the continuous rumors about the killing the Large?..
— We know that in the queue there are always people from dealers, but I used to have the feeling that they just picked up. By 10 o’clock when the box office opens on the square in front of the theater rode a few small buses, leaving dozens of people and directly became to his people in the queue who were standing there with the night.
photo: Kirill Iskoldsky
— Look, in the Theater square entry. And you say you drove a bus?
– Drove calmly agreed, apparently, who should be paid. And the man, which in turn was the fifteenth, was the fiftieth or the sixtieth. Today the situation is different. Once the queue begins to form, those wishing to purchase tickets becomes more than two hundred people, the security service and the police begin the queue to build and give out bracelets with numbers.
This time already to four in the morning the queue was about four hundred men. Then it was decided to give bracelets, but the dealers tried to disperse the queue, spraying gas. The crowd became agitated, began the fight almost wall to wall. But we in the evening the police were called, she was on duty, and as soon as turned on the gas, the police called the Riot attire. And the instantly riot police all lined up, we handed out bracelets, and all calmed down.
These bracelets we introduced last year. And if you do not have a bracelet with a number, then nothing happens. We have complicated the lives of dealers.
— I wonder what is the fee of the “left” of the waiting list?
I do not know. I believe that those who stand longer, they pay more, and those who had approached and stood up to his own, and paid less. Now the queue is already so join impossible.
— Behold the man defended. How much he can buy tickets in one hand?
— Two tickets. Because of this, I think, we have dramatically increased the costs of “competing firms”: the resale they raise the price — we all saw it on the site. We have introduced personal tickets for different categories of beneficiaries: people on veteran ID card or other instrument may buy a ticket just for yourself. You are a veteran, you are in our list come the queue and get. If you because of certain circumstances can’t go to the show, we have this ticket to take your money back. And if earlier in the veteran queue lined up for 60-70 people, with the introduction of the personal ticket, it dropped to 6-7.
— See, Vladimir, how much you made restrictions wristbands, personal ticket, but your every action is a reaction. The mafia is immortal?..
— As for immortality don’t know, but work is getting harder. Dealers now legally go to the Internet with two sites we sued and won 5 million rubles. But they immediately create a new domain, and not in Russia. And there’s nothing we can do, if the title is not used “Big”. Man, say, goes and writes “buy a ticket to the Bolshoi theatre”, and he immediately poured a lot of sites. Despite the fact that we on our own website warn with a specific site you can buy where you can get to the dealers, significantly increasing the price (plus shipping), people will still get there, where the ticket to the “Nutcracker” comes to 52 thousand. They believe that this price puts a Big…
— And what a price ceiling for “the Nutcracker” on December 31? And what is the margin on the resale of tickets to “the Nutcracker” or now “Manon” when Anna Netrebko sings? Were you trying to find?
Our ceiling on the performance 31 December — 20 thousand. For example, we have 25 performances of “the Nutcracker”, speculators bought up the, say, 200 tickets out of 1,500 — 5,000 tickets. For example, the ticket costs 10 thousand, 5 thousand and 50 million, if at double the price. But they sell 5-6 times more expensive! And I noticed that as soon as we introduce some restriction to the Directorate immediately receives a bundle of letters, shouting: “how long? You limit! Do not give ordinary people the opportunity to get to the theater!” And all this on behalf of the people…
— The problem exists in the West?
— I always cite the example that he watched from the Vienna Opera. All around there too are the people in such a beautiful old livery. I specifically learned are private, nothing to do with the theatre have not, it is their business. At the box office no tickets, and the demand is there. “What do you have?” I asked them. Then one threw the floor of the livery — embedded inside her pockets and in these pockets the tickets, right on the numbers. So, they increase the price compared to the one in the box office, not more than 10-15%. If the ticket to “La Boheme” was worth 120 euros, so the middleman — 140-150. Then the Director of the theater explained to me that they have a brutally illegal trade of counterfeit tickets. Immediately involved the police.
And our police is included?
— No. The police sees it as a trade, but no one intervenes. When I talk to representatives of the government, I reply: “And we have no reason”. We have not prohibited: I want to sell a ticket — sell. However, there is one lead which can still complain about the government: people who sell tickets, receive income, and, therefore, must pay taxes. But you understand that none of the dealers do not pay any taxes. The state may be engaged to monitor the system and to arrange a show trial — but that the government should do, not the theatre.
We must work in the legal field. Here, for example, employed students or homeless-looking people who for 300 or 500 rubles will defend you where and how you want, bought tickets, walked away from the theatre for some distance and strong so the boys gave them. Neither our security nor the police have no right to do anything. He will say: “This is my friend Peter.”
Tickets usually fall into two channels: the first is those who will sell them directly from the theater alive, the day of the performance. (And they’re sometimes earn money that even on the website do not represent the day before the show, the stakes increase dramatically.) Second — tickets get to sites where you can buy three or four or even ten times more than at par with us.
— I would like to know more about the experience of the theatres La Scala, the Opera Garnier, Covent garden… How strong ticket mafia?
— Speculation was there, but not like us. There are people will not buy from dealers tickets at exorbitant prices, and we have to buy. There are, of course, a group of people that is always willing to pay extra, but if you don’t, people just don’t go to the theatre. And we have no tickets, but we all know that there is this channel. And it is because buy for any money.
— Please do not take offense to my question, but for anybody not a secret that the source of tickets for speculators are often the theatres themselves, but rather, cashiers, administrators — in short, all those who in any way associated with the ticket.
And we’ve had it. There existed a certain system: actors, workers of theatres had the right to purchase a specified number of tickets. This was a special booking. Anatoly G. Iksanov (previous Director of BT. — M. R.) was canceled this story so that today it is impossible.
But how can you control and what guarantees can you give?
— We post on the website all information — all hall officially announced how many tickets and what productions they sell. And the scoreboard is always possible to track how the tickets go on sale. What’s more, we sell their passports on the first day of pre-sale: I can easily check how many people came and how many tickets they have bought. If we had a thousand — so about two thousand, and sold. I like the Director of your booking there are different Federal government agencies who we sell tickets for special applications. I must say that we still exist, obligations to stakeholders — the sponsors, and in these sponsorship contracts is stated right on the sale of a certain number of tickets during the season. “Manon Lescaut”, the premiere of which took place, the sponsors immediately exhausted half the annual limit. This despite the fact that they have applied for the 160-180 seats, we had to cut them to 60. And don’t give.
— A lot of places?
About 300 tickets; of course, in the premiere performances of your booking maybe a little more. We also have uncomfortable seats, and cheap tickets that we sell student tickets. And then the dealers get, so that forced us to ask now student ID card. Cheap tickets we sell, and through a special social organizations that know their people and we give them a list of plays and a certain limit of tickets.
— That is you 100% guarantee that within theatre, there is no leak?
To guarantee that we have no leaks, I can’t 3000 people are working, but are very seriously trying to control. We are making every effort for this watch, although really need to keep track of only a very popular performances.
The webcast, which was to do a Big country that could undermine speculation? It is possible if you do not live in high definition to see it on the screen…
In Russia, unlike the West, there are practically no cinemas that are broadcasting Opera and ballet performances. Here I was now in Novosibirsk, so they broadcast is in only one theater. I’m not lazy, I went: “How are the people?” “When the stream, we have a full house”. But what is on Moscow 2-3 cinema? This is the problem with tickets not being solved, in contrast to Europe, where, if performance is of interest, immediately increase the number of cinemas.
— And yet, you think the mafia invincible? I even imagine how these people will read this interview and think: “Ridiculous fools, sit down, seriously talk about us…”
— And to you as a Director chosen? Did the offer you can’t refuse?
Never. I had a situation dealing with these guys 20 years ago when I worked in the Theater of Stanislavsky…
— And what was that like?
— Then we simply kicked out of the theatre premises: they insolently traded in the ticket hall. Moreover, they were associated with one of our administrator. In the morning I received a summary of what I have sold, and by evening realized that part of the tickets after the beginning of the play again back to the cash register. I fired him, and the guys started hard act. When I exited the theater, they openly asked: “are You afraid for your family?..” I was forced then to go to the police, and at the level of district division I just sent. And met them, warned that if, God forbid, with me something happens, they will have problems.
— You see, so maybe if somewhere there’s someone up with someone to meet and seriously talk?
— Now things have changed, including the structure of the ticket mafia. I see only artists that sell tickets outside the theatre…
— The bosses go to the Bolshoi theater, on the best places to sit?
— I think that may go. To fight the mafia can only according to the laws of the market: the price should be such on which tickets you purchase. These same money that goes to middlemen, went to the theater. Again, we can safely raise ticket prices, but the Russian theatre has always been socially oriented. To sell tickets at 30-40 thousand for us really, but can you imagine what will become of the Bolshoi theatre in the eyes of the public, the media?
Take this opportunity to appeal to the audience: dear, do not buy tickets from scalpers! Until you realize that you don’t have to encourage these people and pay them big money, speculation will not go away.
— If they are smart and resourceful, maybe their working in a Big invite, they will build the system?..
— The system is very simple, I can build. And no need to change the 100% price policy: need to do a small number of expensive tickets — about the fact that they sell for the same price. Cheap ticket to sell at high prices more difficult. If they buy a ticket for 1500, where the stage-we see not fully, but only three quarters, because they are the ticket for 30 thousand will not sell.
But I would not be surprised if it turns out that the ticket mafia of the roof, excuse me, to any member, a businessman or a police officer. If they protect, as it turned out recently, night clubs and haggling there teenagers, tickets to the Great God himself commanded them to control.
— Do not exclude. Where there is opportunity, where there is money, everything is possible. And where there is the opportunity to earn big money — what is there to say. Ever at Covent garden people will not buy a ticket at twice the price — offer, do not offer…