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Relative values: Itzhak Perlman vs Lang Lang

A reader in Santiago de Chile keeps us abreast of local excitements.

Itzhak Perlman is coming to town. Cheapest seats: $8.

Followed by Lang Lang. Cheapest seats $19.

A sign of our depreciating times.


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  1. same signs sice Franz Liszt

    what sells gets a higher price for the middle men, the managers and the PR industry.
    Hope LL gets more than his share….
    remember how Van Cliburn got more than Rubinstein…

    well Michael Jackson more than Pavarotti

    all to silly, these compsrisons?

    • José Lastarria says:

      The only thing silly is the people prepared to shell out big money for the privilege of seeing what is, in effect, a very ordinary interpreter when they could experience something far superior for less; in this case, Itzhak Perlman.

      • Being a musician myself and not an expert in ticket pricing, i can only say that i heard them both in live performances several times (and performed with both of them as well) during the last few years and i have no doubt that these days Lang Lang, even with all of his occasional exaggerations and indulgences, is still a much more exciting performer – far more interesting to listen to – than Itzhak Perlman who has unfortunately lost quite a lot of his formerly impressive mastery.

  2. Timon Wapenaar says:

    A clear cut case of price propaganda, whereby the perception of value is created through the price, as opposed to the price reflecting an intrinsic value.

  3. José Lastarria says:

    Isn’t it just. Appalling.

  4. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    I go to many concerts at Birmingham Symphony Hall (so far the only person to have attended 2000)

    Looking at the forthcoming season you can see which concerts give better value – here are a few examples

    Prices are the standard price for my normal seat up in the Grand Tier (before subscribers discount)

    Peter Grimes (LPO Jurowski) £15; Missa Solemnis (CBSO) £15; Mahler 7 (Dudamel PO) £15; Vengerov & Polish CO £15; LSO & Kissin £17.50; Bell & ASMF £15; John Lill with Vienna Tonkunstler £15; St Francisco SO & Tilson Thomas £17.50; Verdi Requiem & Papano £17.50; Gotterdamerung – Opera North £17.50; Ariadne auf Naxos (Papano & ROH) £18.50

    Then Lang Lang – £30!!!!!

    I for one am not falling for his hype.

  5. But how much are the highest price tickets?

  6. A look at Santiago’s grand Teatro Municipal calendar ( shows that Itzhak is playing the same concert on two evenings, and Lang Lang is only playing one concert.

    They are also being visited by Zubin Mehta and the Israel Phil later in the winter. And, Parsifal and Billy Budd are being staged along with ballets such as Swan Lake.

    Santiago – no longer your father’s sleepy South American city.

    • José Lastarria says:

      Damn right, it’s a cultural hotspot. Andrès Rodriguez has done wonders at the Municipal.

  7. James Creitz says:

    I would question your use of the word “value”, but am sure it was meant tongue-in-cheek. It is no secret that organizers/venues/promoters want to fill the house at the highest prices possible, so evidently they feel confident that Lang Lang can do this at a higher price level, whereas they think Itzhak can do so for 2 nights at a lower price. These prices correlate quite accurately to the attention these people are getting from the media. How many times have Lang Lang and Itzhak Perlman been mentioned respectively in this blog in the last 2 years?

  8. Maltese Falcon says:

    The piano has more strings to be played…so why shouldn’t Lang Lang be paid more?

  9. If marketing managers are doing their job, prices should reflect what the audience is willing to pay, so they are more a comment on audiences than anything else.
    Lang Lang and his ilk sell more like pop concerts, so the prices cluster around a certain level. Whereas in a more serious classical concert, there’s more variation, giving room for both impoverished music students and afficionados.

  10. Fabio Fabrici says:

    Isn’t this how capitalism works? What’s wrong with it? I’m happy I can hear actually good music for much less money than a Lang Lang ticket. To each his own. He can command these prices and he would be stupid if he didn’t. Good for him.

  11. If you save up, you can see Jackie Evancho this month in concert for an average of about $80 starting price.
    The tickets for the Baltimore Symphony concert with her are from $45 to $150.
    In 2011 the price “ranged from $50 TO $250″.
    £30 for Lang Lang is peanuts.
    With such high prices, I content myself with CD’s, youtube, Mezzo (when it is available) or otherwise banging it out on my Lester piano.

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