Maybe it is worth ticket prices ranging up to $50 to hear Vladimir Horowitz play a still unannounced program in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, and maybe it is worth bringing cash or a checkbook because Horowitz refuses to accept credit cards, mail orders or instant charge. But some Washington music-lovers who went through the experience have been wondering whether it was also worth waiting in line for three hours or more at the only box office in town where the tickets were sold. But perhaps it is a fair tradeoff for a chance to hear the legendary pianist outside of the places he has played previously in Washington: Constitution Hall (where the acoustics are less than ideal) or the White House (where tickets are hard to get).

The reason for all the inconvenience seems to be that Horowitz (whose interest in money is legendary among his fellow musicians) is having trouble adjusting to the relatively small auditorium (compared to Constitution Hall) at the Kennedy Center. Mail orders, credit cards, instant charge and secondary outlets such as TICKETplace all cost money for processing. It's enough of a loss, apparently, to be moving from a hall with 3,746 seats into one with a mere 2,759. If you multiply the difference by $25 per ticket, the resulting sum is more than the annual cash budget for some small, local opera companies.