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April 2005

Just the Ticket?

Why I've a few reservations about Munich's booking agencies

It was going to be the 60th birthday present to beat all others. My Dad, a true classical music buff, was to be invited to Munich to join myself and my husband for a weekend of world-class culture. The highlight of the package was a concert in Gasteig, featuring the up-and-coming pianist Lang Lang, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Dad’s favorite conductor, Zubin Mehta. Several months before the event I reserved seats through the online system, linked to the Gasteig pages, which confirmed my reservation and said tickets would be sent out a few months later. So far, so good. Dad’s birthday came, and he was over the moon when we told him what was planned. But his joy was short-lived. A week later, I received an e-mail from the booking agency, saying the concert was sold out and I wouldn’t be getting tickets after all. Despite phone calls to various concert agencies, adverts in local papers and searches on Ebay, our search was fruitless and I had to break the news back home. A sad one-off? Or a fundamental flaw with Gasteig’s booking procedure? I’m not sure. But it does seem a shame that one of Munich’s key cultural institutions doesn’t appear to have an efficient online reservation system. Nevertheless, the whole farce did have a silver lining. Shortly before the concert, we came into contact with someone who knew someone (as is so often the case) who played in the Philharmonic. After much pleading, we were given permission to sit in on the final dress rehearsal. For my Dad, this was the ultimate treat—better than any concert. Not only did we have the pick of the seats, but it was fascinating to look behind the scenes of such genius—to watch as some of the world’s top performers came together, in their scruffy old jeans, shouting at each other, laughing with each other and working with each other to produce musical magic. To see Zubin Mehta, a man with years of experience, prop himself up on the piano and sing through the solo passages with the 22-year-old Chinese prodigy, Lang Lang, was something that no polished public performance could match—a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or maybe not. This month, on page 20, we take a look behind the scenes of the performing arts in Munich and reveal how you, too, can catch some of the world’s top artists in rehearsal. And while we’re on sneak previews—we’ve also got a special feature on pages 36–37 on what you can expect to see at one of the biggest events taking place in Munich this year—Germany’s national garden show (BUGA). It almost makes Disneyland look dull! Get your tickets this month and you’ll save yourself up to € 10. Speaking of tickets, there are more farcical goings-on as Munich revs up to an even bigger event—the Football World Cup Championships—which take place next summer. Make sure you’re on the ball by reading the “Last Word” on page 50. For now, though, there are plenty of springtime events to keep you busy—check out the “News & Views” section, which is packed with lots of ideas for things to do this month... assuming you can get tickets, that is!

Finally, a few words about MUNICH FOUND’s fresh new cover. Just as the face of Munich is constantly changing, so too, is ours. As your ultimate guide to city life, we want to mirror the exciting new things going on here. Do let us know if you like it!

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