It's often assumed that generous public subsidy for the arts in continental Europe must make tickets cheaper. Not necessarily so. I compared prices across the globe for a selection of orchestral concerts next month, taking in the US too for good measure (scroll down for full list).
The first thing to notice is that in London, the LPO charge nearly twice as much (£55) as the LSO (£32)for their top-price tickets. Could that be one of the reasons why their concerts are only half as full?
But to catch the LSO in Paris will cost you more than twice as much (£75) as in London (£32). The Philharmonia, too, is more expensive (£75 and £45). The LPO however charge a comparatively cheap £48 in New York, less than they do in London (£55), and less than the NY Phil (£72) at the same address.
It's cheaper to see the Vienna Philharmonic at the Barbican (£55) than in Vienna (£94), and the heavily-subsidised Orchestre de Paris (£53) and Munich Philharmonic (£51) are both pricier at home than the LSO or Philharmonia, and only marginally cheaper than the LPO.
Looking at the bottom end of the price scale, all three London orchestras offer tickets at £7 to £9 (and plenty of them). The lowest price elsewhere is generally at least twice that, and goes up to £46 for the Berlin Philharmonic and £30 for the LA Philharmonic.
Of course this is only a handful of concerts, but I believe the results are broadly representative. And while the current euro exchange rate is on the weak side, it doesn't make a lot of difference.
- LSO at the Barbican £7 to £32
- Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall £9 to £45
- LPO at the Royal Festival Hall £9 to £55
- Vienna Philharmonic at the Barbican £12 to £55
- LSO at Salle Pleyel, Paris €10 to €85 (£9 to £75)
- Philharmonia at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris €5 to €85 (£5 to £75)
- LPO at Avery Fisher Hall, New York $22 to $75 (£19 to £48)
- Orchestre de Paris at Salle Pleyel, Paris €10 to €60 (£9 to £53)
- Vienna Philharmonic at Konzerthaus Wien €18.90 to €106.20 (£17 to £94)
- Berlin Philharmonic at Philharmonie Berlin €52 to €112 (£46 to £99)
- Munich Philharmonic at Gasteig, Munich €11.70 to €57.50 (£10 to £51)
- New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, New York $29 to $112 (£19 to £72)
- LA Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA $47 to $160 (£30 to £102)
(the conversion rates used were $/£ 1.56 and €/£ 1.14)