(****Check out the post above for Matilde di Shabran opening night comments and photos****)
How do you get tickets for the Royal Opera House events when the website comes up with that dismal little message "We are sorry...There are currently no tickets available" ?
I've been asked this a few times recently by desperate Juan Diego Flórez fans so here are my tips, in order of expected effectiveness:
1 - check the website regularly for returns. On the day of performance the ROH release unwanted press/VIP etc tickets so don't despair even if the performance still looks sold out the day before. In my experience, it's mainly the cheapest and the most expensive tickets which turn up, not the mid-priced. (At the time of writing, there are 47 tickets available online for the previously 'sold out' premiere of Matilde di Shabran, which starts in three hours time.)
2 - some tickets are only sold to personal callers, so they appear as unavailable on the website even though they're not. Be warned that these have a limited view or other issues which the staff will explain to you - but worth a try if you can get to the ROH easily.
3 - if 1 doesn't work (and it usually does for me) you could try day tickets. These are no longer mentioned on the new, cr@p, ROH website, but I am assured they still exist. The day seats aren't the best - they all have limited or distant views - but they're reasonably priced by ROH standards at £50 or less. Note that they are not discounted, or any cheaper than regular tickets in the same vicinity. There used to be 67 seats available and I understand this is still the case. It's strictly one ticket per applicant. They officially go on sale at 10am, but people start queuing earlier if demand is high. Ask the box office the day before for advice on the best time to get there.
4 - get to the Royal Opera House well before the start time and join the returns queue - again ask box office beforehand for advice on timing. Be aware that you could wait for hours and still not get a ticket though.
5 - stand outside the Piazza entrance and brandish your cash subtly. (In London, people don't use the ticket wanted/for sale signs that you may see in other countries, as pictured above). If you can't capture a member of the public on their way in to return a ticket, there are often a few touts around. Be careful that you're buying an authentic ticket.
6 - ticket agencies/hotel concierges/Ebay are very much a last resort. Even if you get an authentic ticket - by no means guaranteed - you will generally end up paying way over the odds for it.