The eight-week jaunt starts Nov. 2.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) has sold 500,000 tickets for its annual winter tour, prior to the jaunt’s Nov. 2 kickoff date at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia. Officials expect ticket sales to nearly double by the time the 8-week tour ends in December.

“Working with TSO is an unqualified pleasure,” Marc Geiger, the group’s agent at William Morris Agency, tells Billboard.biz. “Being able to book something that grows 40% per year no matter what is a rare opportunity.”

This year’s winter jaunt is said to be TSO’s largest production yet. It will feature an orchestral string section, a full rock band, multiple vocalists, a narrator, pyrotechnics, a laser/light show and snowfall. Two 30-plus-member touring troupes will perform simultaneously in arenas throughout North America. For example, on Nov. 3, one troupe will play Youngstown, Ohio’s Chevrolet Center, while the other performs at Florida’s Lakeland Civic Center. The trek continues like that through Dec. 30. After the tour ends, both troupes will have performed a combined total of 118 concerts.

In other TSO news, an official release date has not been scheduled for group’s next album, but there are tentative plans to drop one in 2007, which could be supported by a full-scale international tour, a spokesperson tells Billboard.biz. An overseas jaunt would be a first for TSO.