New Train Wrecks Domingo’s Schedule

Ticket sales for Placido Domingo‘s July 2nd appearance at Hamburg’s Rothenbaum Stadium were so slow that the show’s been scrapped, according to reports in the local daily Hamburger Abendblatt.

Hermjo Klein of Stuttgart-based ACE Arena Concerts, which was co-promoting the date with DEAG, admits business was bad but said the paper was wrong to say the ticket price was too high.

As if demonstrating many music promoters’ natural talent for finding new and imaginative reasons why a particular show has stiffed, he said part of it was due to a change in the railway timetable.

“There is a new fast train between Hamburg and Berlin and it can do the journey in an hour,” he explained.

“The timetable has also been changed and the last train to leave Berlin for Hamburg – which is even called “The Musical Train” – leaves at one in the morning.

“The last train used to be at 10 p.m., when the shows were still going on, but now people can go to the top shows and have a good night out. The train will then take an hour to get them back to Hamburg.”

Klein wouldn’t give the numbers for the canceled show at the 13,000-capacity tennis arena, but backed up his argument about the trains by pointing out that 5,000 of the 14,000 tickets sold for the July 7th Domingo show he’s co-promoting with DEAG at Berlin Waldbühne have been bought by people from Hamburg.

The ticket prices for the Rothenbaum show ranged between euro 50 and euro 220, while tickets for the Berlin show – which also has top soprano Anna Netrebko on the bill – are between euro 80 and euro 350.

Klein said he’s looking to re-schedule the Hamburg date for next year, “when we won’t be competing with our own Berlin show,” although that would depend on Domingo’s 2007 schedule.

The concert may also have been one of a series of musical events that have suffered poor sales because of competition from soccer’s World Cup finals.

Domingo has another concert in Munich on June 6th, when the Bavarian government has a special World Cup spectacular at the city’s Olympic Stadium.

Xavier Naidoo, pianist Lang Lang, soprano Diana Damrau, and the city’s three orchestras are also on the bill.

– John Gammon