Musikverein is empty after star cancels

Vienna’s large Musikvereinsaal will be dark on Saturday night after the mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca pulled out late from a long-planned Lieder recital.

No refunds. The recital has been rescheduled for April.


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  • No wonder people resist buying tickets in advance. “No refunds” — concert/opera halls must be about the only businesses (aside from deep discount shops) that are so inflexible when THEIR product, bought and paid for, is no longer available. So it’s not “their fault” that someone gets ill or otherwise has to cancel. These halls and their attitude that the public should and will take whatever they can produce — and whenever– is just obsolete. Someone wanting a night out in Vienna in November may have no chance of taking it up in April the next year.

    I am fed up with concert halls telling me that the seat I purchase will be “best available,” no matter if I impose conditions (one medically necessary, the others aesthetic preference) on the seating I will accept in my price range. “Best available” has turned a request for seating between, say, rows G and P into a seat (same price) in row Z. I consider that utterly unacceptable. Similarly, I do not choose to accept alternative dates five months apart — or even five days. When I book a night out it is because I am free. That does not guarantee a single other date, let alone one of the hall’s choosing.

    Halls and producing companies moan about their difficulties — needing to know in advance how much money they will have for the season, their vulnerability to cancellations, etc. All true, but it is THEIR problem. It is outrageous that they penalise their unsurprisingly dwindling patronage. Get some good insurance and live within your budgets like other operations. And try thinking about customer service, which is VERY low in the mindsets of hall owners and producers.

  • Wigmore Hall game me a refund for her concert within 24 hours without me having to do anything.

    But they are one of the best, not only for acoustics…

    • You beat me to it. Wigmore Hall take great care of their customers, whether with a wholesale cancellation such as this or, as I overheard recently, a concertgoer whose transport home afterwards had gone awry. The house manager could have been busy trying to close up the hall, but instead he was patiently sorting out things for the gentleman in question. That’s real customer service: no wonder people want to go to Wigmore Hall, time and time again.

      • But the Wigmore Hall is a provincial backwater compared with Vienna isn’t it? I mean only a haughty disdain for your audience can show that you are the serious centre of high art. Or, maybe those in Vienna can easily swap November for April or forego the date in their subscription schedule. Either way the Wigmore Hall shows it is more attuned to their audience.

  • What about people who had tickets for this concert who do not live in Vienna and had booked a special trip for it? I hope that they persist with getting a refund. I once had tickets for a concert in Lisbon and it was only when I arrived at the venue that I learned that it had been cancelled. They tried to persuade me to accept tickets for a rescheduled concert months in the future, but I explained that I was not going to travel nearly a thousand miles for a concert and they grudgingly issued a refund following some hassle.

  • Can anyone confirm whether the photo is indeed of the replica in Zhuhai? I know the URL of the image says “China”, but they are so similar that it is hard to tell, and the photo is taken from an angle that makes comparison quite hard. As far as I can tell, there seems to be an appreciable difference between the design of the organ in the original and the replica. Or is it that the Chinese organ can be partially hidden away when not in use? Photos of the Zhuhai concert hall seem contradictory, so I am wondering whether something of this sort of going on.

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