Cheapskate's Guide to the Finer Things in Life
If you liked Joshua Bell at $25, you'll love Augustin Hadelich at $12.50
The Frugal Fraulein scores again!
Recently, I discovered I could get a front-row seat to hear world-acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell in an early October guest performance with the Houston Symphony Orchestra for the amazingly low price of $25. It never occurred to me that I could beat that price for a future classical concert. I just thanked my lucky stars and shared my joy with CultureMappers over Bell’s wonderful performance.
Well, was I surprised when I received a printed card in the mail from HSO CEO Mark Hanson, saying he hoped I enjoyed the Joshua Bell concert, would love to see me back at the symphony, and wanted to offer me a 50% discount on my choice of three specific, impending concerts. (An asterisked line stated: “Seating is based on availability and while supplies last.”)
You can imagine how fast I picked up the phone to call HSO’s customer service center. Twelve-fifty for a front-row ticket to an HSO concert? Now, that’s what I call an incentive!
Any of the three concerts listed on the card would have been perfectly fine with me. Even better, I learned from a customer service rep that I could purchase any number of half-off tickets for all three of them if I wanted, as long as I bought them under my name and used the offer code number provided.
But being a lifelong devotee of violin virtuosos, I really felt I‘d hit the classical jackpot when I noticed on the HSO website that award-winning violinist by Augustin Hadelich will perform here with the symphony Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. That program, Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin, is one of my three designated half-off concert opportunities.
This time (for $12.50, plus a $4.50 service charge/facility fee), I’m going to be sitting in the second row, where I’ll have an even better view of this internationally lauded young violinist than I did last time with Joshua Bell, when I sat in the front row, a little further over. Moreover, I was delighted to learn that seats in the first two rows (not just the front row) at HSO classical music performances generally sell for $25 apiece.
During uncertain economic times like these, most of us are doing what we can to shore up our savings and cut back where we can. The only up side of a major, lingering economic downturn is that it clarifies, for each of us, our real priorities — particularly the things that sustain our hopes and lift our spirits. Within the illumination afforded by the light of a sometimes harsh reality, it’s rewarding to see that the arts, which are so emotionally as well as intellectually inspiring, are available at such accessible prices in Houston.