“Anybody sellin’ tickets?” Patrons of most of the theatrical and artistic venues of NYC are used to being casually accosted by scruffy, nondescript men, usually in knitted watch caps and lumberjack-style jackets, standing at the steps leading up to the main Lincoln Center complex as well as at other theaters and performance spaces around town. These requests are not usually aimed at the cognoscenti, who are well aware that these guys are not interested in attending Alan Gilbert’s Mahler or that evening’s Madama Butterfly or Tosca. They hope to buy the tickets cheaply and resell them at a profit. So, after many years of doing this, they have become pretty familiar with the standard repertory even if they’ve never set foot inside the Met, e.g.
Last Saturday, when entering the theater to see the New York City Ballet, I heard one of these operators ask the other: “What’s the opera today?” This surprised me, since they usually know what’s on even if they don’t know much more about it than the title. The other guy replied, “Anna Bolena.” Good thing he didn’t have to pronounce Götterdämmerung, which is coming up soon, and for which there is a giant poster on the Met’s façade.