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No wrist bands will be needed

The L.A. Philharmonic girds for Dudamel demand when single ticket

August 22, 2009|David Ng

As hard-core fans have learned by now, Duda-mania is a euphoric state of mind that also comes with its fair share of headaches.

Just three weeks ago, devotees of conductor Gustavo Dudamel stood in line for hours at the Hollywood Bowl, only to walk away empty-handed after the majority of seats for the free Oct. 3 concert were scooped up online or in advance.

Hoping to avoid another public-relations nightmare, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is trying to keep expectations low -- but not too low -- for Sunday when the box office opens for single-ticket purchases for the 2009-10 season.

The first tickets for the upcoming season went on sale for subscribers in early February.

Not surprisingly, tickets for concerts featuring the orchestra's new music director have gone the fastest. He will be appearing in 29 concerts out of a total of 195 events.

The official word is that tickets are "limited," so even the most persistent Duda-philes may have trouble getting the seats they want.

A spokeswoman for the orchestra said the exact availability of tickets for any given concert is difficult to gauge because subscribers are allowed to exchange their seats through the end of Saturday.

But she emphasized that tickets are still theoretically for sale for most of the season's events, including Dudamel's Oct. 8 gala debut concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Two Dudamel concerts are already sold out to season ticket holders -- the Nov. 8 matinee of Verdi's Requiem and a Nov. 22 concert featuring violinist Gil Shaham.

The most popular subscription packages have been for the Toyota Symphonies for Youth, followed by the classical series, all of which contain at least one concert conducted by Dudamel.

Performances that are close to selling out include cellist Yo-Yo Ma's appearance on Jan. 27, a series of concerts featuring conductor Zubin Mehta in December and a performance by pianist Lang Lang on Nov. 8. Also going fast are concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic in November and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in February.

One of the philharmonic's major events of the season, the "West Coast, Left Coast" festival featuring music inspired by California, recently added new performances, most of which will go on sale for the first time starting Sunday.

One of the most popular spots for concerts when Dudamel is conducting has been the orchestra view section behind the stage and therefore facing the conductor. That area includes the bench seats, which are sometimes available two weeks before a concert and sell for a discounted price of $17, with a limit of two per person.

The philharmonic said it expects most people to buy single tickets online (at www.laphil.com) or via telephone ([323] 850-2000). The box office at Disney Hall is closed Saturdays through Mondays during summer months.

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david.ng@latimes.com

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