Soaking up culture in Berlin is blessedly affordable compared with other major cities. But with so many operas and concerts to chose from, taking full advantage of the offerings can indeed get pricey. Luckily, there are deep discounts available everywhere for students (and also for pensioners and the unemployed). This is our guide to getting the best discounts.
Student Rush (Komische Oper, Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper):
All three opera houses offer student rush tickets at the evening box office for non-sold-out performances. At both the Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper, these cost 13 euros a piece with valid student I.D. (one per I.D.), purchasable 1 hour before showtime at the DOB and 30 minutes before curtain at the SO. At the Komische Oper, student tickets are available one hour before curtain with a 25% discount in all but the cheapest price category.
If you are under 30 years old and are planning on seeing several productions during your visit, you should invest in a Classiccard, a wonderful scheme that costs 15 euros to sign up for an annual membership. It entitles you to the best available seats at any of the three opera houses and various other orchestras and musical groups (the Berlin Philharmonic is the notable exception) one hour before curtain at the evening box office for 10 euros (again, cash only). 1 ticket per Classiccard unless a special offer is on. Their website also has a comprehensive and very useful events listing. (www.classiccard.de).
Under 28 at the Berlin Philharmonic:
One of Berlin’s best kept secrets. 50 tickets priced at 15 euros are set aside for people under 27 years old and under for every single performance of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a given season. What’s better, these tickets are available from the very first day of advance ticket sales for a given block of concerts. The really crazy thing is that this information isn’t listed on the Berlin Philharmonic’s website or indeed anywhere else you’d expect to find it.
Now the drawbacks. Individual tickets must be purchased in cash at the Philharmonie box office (which keeps irregular hours) upon the presentation of a valid I.D. It also requires a certain amount of vigilance on your part to keep track of the various dates that concert blocks go on sale, as the under 28-contingents tend to sell out quickly.
Podium Seats and Standing Room at the Berlin Philharmonic:
If you are sadly not 28 years old or under, you can still get into the Philharmonie either with a Podiumplatz, which is a seat on the onstage bleachers in back of the orchestra, or a Stehplatz, which is standing room. Of the two, the podium seats are easier to score, but they aren’t offered when a choir or extra-large / usual instrument ensemble is required. They go on sale at the beginning of the week for that weekend’s concert series (typically the same program will be given on Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and cost 16 euros. They also tend to go like hotcakes, so make sure you get there early in the week. Podiumplätze are generally a bad idea for concerts that feature extensive vocals, such as song recitals or unstaged operas.
Standing Room is a great option but often maddeningly difficult to get since (1) they’re only available at the evening box office and (2) a grand total of 24 slots are sold. So if you seriously want these tickets show up an hour or two before the box office opens. And bring a book. Note: 1 ticket per person.