Concert Price Check

Gangplanks to the Konzertsaal inside the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum in Lucerne

Published: September 3, 2016

MUNICH — This month three of this city’s orchestras are on the road, occasioning a look at how presenters price them in other places. The variances are instructive, sampling just the top prices.

There is a window for trips in September. Music contracts here commonly run “Sept. 1 to Aug. 31,” whether for ensembles or individual artists, musicians or administrators, with summer work tail-ending the previous year, but local performances tend not to crank up until late in the month. Offered:

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) with Daniel Harding, guest conductor

Bavarian State Orchestra (BStO) with Kirill Petrenko, general music director

Munich Philharmonic (MPhil) with Valery Gergiev, chief conductor

For a regular orchestral concert at home, without subscriber discount, the top prices are: BRSO in the Herkulessaal, (U.S.) $73; BStO in the National Theater, $78; and MPhil in the Gasteig, $68. Tickets in all price categories include bus and train fares to and from the venue within a roughly 25-mile radius.

Logically prices climb on tour. At Berlin’s Musikfest this month, a six-hour drive away, you would pay a reasonable and consistent $100 for the visiting BRSO, BStO or MPhil.

But then in Lucerne, four hours west-south-west of here, the BStO and MPhil go for $245 and $296, respectively. Chalk the exorbitance up to an ever-robust Swiss franc. The price differential between the orchestras lacks justification.

Far below Lucerne yet still expensive at $162 is the BStO’s concert in Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. Perhaps lower government subsidies in Italy are a cause, given that this Eurozone economy suffers weak growth. Of course, La Scala’s platea may wind up empty or being papered.

Traveling more extensively than the other orchestras this time, the BStO costs $94 in Paris, $107 in Vienna and $117 in Luxembourg. Back in Germany on dates in between, the limited seating of relatively small halls must explain top prices in the range of $118 to $144 for Bonn, Dortmund and Frankfurt.

Photo © KKL Luzern Management AG

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