Tuesday 9 April 2013

The perils of opera travel

Chabal Rugby Racing vs Stade Toulousain
A few years ago I noticed on the Welsh National Opera website, that the WNO were giving the world premiere of James Macmillan's The Sacrifice in Cardiff on the day of my partner's birthday, so booked tickets as a birthday treat. Now, we generally operate on the basis of sorting out the opera tickets and then booking the accommodation, in this case it was a mistake. The best offer of a room I could get was £900 for the penthouse at one of the big hotels, a bit out of our price range. Widening the search did notgood and finally I Googled the date, only to discover that one of the events in the Rugby World Cup was happening that day. We finally ended up staying in Bristol. Both before and after the opera we found the Cardiff full of hordes of Rugby fans out for a good time. And now, its happened again.

We don't really follow sport at our house, and few of our friends do, so I had been rather oblivious to the fixtures in the Rugby World Cup. I had only myself to blame, but it turns out that it isn't just sporting events which cause problems.

We are going to Cardiff on 1 June for WNO's new production of Lohengrin, which I'm reviewing for OperaToday.com. When I come to book rooms, I discovered that the city seems to be devoid of cheaper hotel rooms (best I could find was £66). We've managed to fix up something a couple of junctions up the motorway, but I was curious as to what was happening. Googling the date, I found that the there was the British Speedway Grand Prix, could that do it? Except I found a Speedway chat forum complaining about the lack of hotel rooms, then I  found the culprit. The WI is having its AGM in Cardiff that day. So instead of  marauding hordes of Rugby fans it will be middle-aged women.

Of course, it doesn't just happen to us when visiting Cardiff. On our first visit to Santa Fe, D. was on the phone to the box office checking the status of our tickets when the young lady in Santa Fe (very helpful and chatty) commented that we would be in town for the Indian Market. Just about one of the biggest annual events in Santa Fe, and of course the hotels in town were fully booked. We ended up staying in a very high-end place, where we seemed to be expected to tip $10 each time we had the car parked. 

Perhaps opera companies should start warning out of town visitors about competing events.

Elsewhere on this blog:

1 comment:

  1. Exactly the same thing happened to me last year when I went to Cardiff for Tristan. The police were out in force at the station herding those arriving into pens, and I don't think marauding Wagnerites were the cause.


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