Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Evening at the Kyiv National Philharmonic Hall

Walking by the Philharmonic hall one day (it's at the end of Khreschatyk Street if you walk towards the Dnipro River), my wife and I looked at the schedule and saw a concert we were interested in. I wrote down the number and called a few days later:

(044) 278-16-97

The tickets were all out, but the lady told me to call towards the evening (same day as the concert). I did so, and sure enough, two tickets had shown up. I reserved them by giving my last name and said I'd pick them up at 6:50 pm, 10 minutes before the concert.

When I arrived at 6:51, the lady had just given my tickets to someone else. My wife and I were in despair. "Let's go," she said, "there's no point in standing around here." But having spent most of my adult life in Eastern Europe, I felt that all was not yet lost. Maybe an usher would let us stand at the back of the balcony and listen?? We'd probably have to wait till after the concert began.

Wondering what to do, we stood near the entrance to the philharmonic hall and just watched people. Some were standing around waiting for dates. I was getting ready to start walking up to people and offer to buy their tickets when I saw that people were congregating around a lady in front of the entrance.

Sure enough, she was holding a bunch of tickets in her hands and selling them, apparently at the normal price. I quickly ran up, found out which tickets were cheapest, and stuffed a bill in her hand. We were in!

It's for things like this that I love Ukraine. There are always "options" ("всегда есть варианты"), and it's almost certain that if you really need something, there is a way to get it.

Not to mention that each ticket cost 35 UAH, or $4.50, for a 2.5 hour concert of classical music that culminated in a large choral and orchestral rendition of a Stravinsky piece. I wonder how much that would have cost in New York?

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