Berlin politician’s staff sold his free opera tickets on eBay

Berlin politician’s staff sold his free opera tickets on eBay


norman lebrecht

September 06, 2016

A leading figure among Berlin’s Christian Democrats has admitted that a member of his staff was selling his complimentary Staatsoper tickets.

Stefan Evers said the staff member had been identified and the abuse stopped.




  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s hard to be a German government staff member…. you are supposed to like culture.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Ethics aside, it’s supply and demand at work. Back in 1999 I easily found last tickets for the Meistersinger at Bayreuth, under Barenboim, at a performance that had tickets sold only for union members at discounted prices. I don’t remember paying a black market price. I was not alone. In a quick web search I just found out that Bayreuth was selling discounted tickets to union members until the 2009 festival.

  • Jessie Harrington says:

    Why do politicians get free tickets to operas please? Is their salary not high enough? It is a neutral question, not a loaded one. Just curious…

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s a European idea, and especially dear to Germany: people burdened with the responsibilities of givernment are supposed to be sympathetic towards culture, and to be able to keep that stand you have to know things about culture, frequent the theatre, concert hall, read books, visit museums. Free tickets for politicians may betray a certain worry that they otherwise would demonstrate other preferences.

      Other explanation: the promotor of the cultural event finds that government should be represented at the performance since it is mainly their money which is spent, so: a gesture of politeness to keep the contact going. In Europe, apart from the UK and the Netherlands, culture is felt as an important part of national identity. For the islanders and the cloggies, culture is a mere commodity, something that can be traded.

      • Halldor says:

        I can’t speak for the Netherlands but in the UK culture is absolutely integral to national identity. Just not the small corner of culture occupied by classical music and opera. Literature, sculpture, painting, theatre etc are hugely popular: try and get into Tate Modern on a Bank Holiday – or any National Trust property – or the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – or the entire city of Bath.

        There’s more to culture than classical music. Though as the saying goes: to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail…

        • John Borstlap says:

          Yes, but isn’t culture (indeed, meant is high culture) in the UK mainly a private matter? There is a lot going-on but run by the people themselves. On the continent, there are Ministeries of Culture with flags waving from the façade and with (controversial) special budgets. The UK arts council is not the same, and quite contested.

      • Milka says:

        Nonsense , you define” culture” to suit your narrow point of view.It’s not just about the arts. What you are defining is “appearances “. The meaning of the word “culture ” is what always trips you up . A nations cultural identity covers an enormous spectrum
        of thought and activity ,your ignorance to the meaning of culture leads you to your
        closing pointless observation on the islanders .

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          Your remarks are correct but somewhat out of the context. I’m sure Mr Borstlap means “high culture”.

          • Milka says:

            To claim anything as “high culture ” is to be on treacherous ground .Who decides
            what is “high culture ” .What are the qualifications to be met so as to be designated
            as “high culture “” Just curious…

          • John Borstlap says:

            The notion of ‘high culture’ always triggers grave suspicions with some people because of being contrary to the egalitarian world view, which is hostile to the idea of excellence. The cultural inheritance that is still there, is witness to a broad consensus of excellence in the arts, but this consensus stems from undemocratic times, hence the attempts to bring-down this inheritance and replace it by unmade beds, tinned excrements, indigestion noises, destruction of classical music instruments as theatrical ‘act’, ad hominum attacks on people who defend the notion of excellence etc. etc. – in short: populism, the jungle cry of the primitive.

      • Jessie Harrington says:

        Thank you for a very clear explanation…

  • Ross says:

    Interesting. I wonder if he was getting USA ticket broker prices.
    The USA system is aggravating. You can be in front of your computer exactly when the tickets go on sale, but they still won’t let you buy them. However, a short time later, online ticket brokers have all the tickets and are selling them for multiple times the original price.
    This is common for any popular concert or sporting event.

  • Milka says:

    To arms ! to arms ! Borstlap is under siege by the populism of unmade beds.tinned
    excrements,(dare not go there ),indigestion noises ,( can he mean farting primitives) and
    a host of etc. etcs’ and jungle cries of the primitive (grand opera?). What is happening
    to our civilization ,being forced to confront legions of unmade beds ? It’s bad enough
    we had someone called Mozart and his farting comments, now we have the primitives
    with their” indigestion” noises which seems a step up in our cultural inheritance road
    trip ,but certainly not to Mr. Borstlap .