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Drew

another query on seats

9 posts in this topic

I have a few questions about seats at the Royal Opera House.

I gather from other threads that sightlines in the orchestra are not very good, so that one really has to be seated towards the center. But I wanted to know about the dancers' feet. At many theaters one can't see feet properly sitting up close--they are cut off by the angle of the stage--is this a problem at the opera house? If it is, at what row does it stop being a problem?

Also, at what row do orchestra seats start to be properly "banked" so that a shorter person can usually see over the heads of the people in front of him/her? (Marc Haegeman once said the banking is overall poor--but I thought I would throw this question in anyway).

I may get to London for work this June. If I do it will be one of my very few opportunities to see serious ballet this year, and I'm prepared to spend money on fabulous seats. So, I would also be interested in people's opinions on what are the "money no object" best seats in the house. I will add that I am someone who tends to enjoy being closer to the dancers, even when it means not getting the perfect effect of patterns.

(I know seats at the opera house have been discussed before, and I did do a search on this topic, but wanted to see if I could get some more information than I found with the search.)

Thanks for any responses...

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Re watching dancers feet, yes it is a problem but just in the orchestra stalls. I think the box-office says you can't see feet from A-D and I know you're ok from Row G/H backwards. Unfortunately the rake is completely awful throughout. Rows B-D are terrible for me. I'm 5'2 and whenever I sit anywhere apart from Row A I keep my coat to sit on. I'd bring my biggest, fattest textbooks too! The only other seats guaranteed of a clear view are in Row H Orchestra Stalls Sides, behind the descending staircases where there's a gap of several rows in front. These are the best in my opinion - cheaper than the central section (strange as the view is exactly the same), close enough to see facial expressions and a clear view of everything! H1-6 or H27-32. Get these seats if you can. :wub:

The other option is Stalls Circle row A - A20s and 30s are pretty good, unlike Row H (where you're head is about level with the stage) you can acually see the stage floor. They're a bit restricted view though - you miss maybe 10-20%? They're quite a bit cheaper but are popular so they tend to go fast.

I wouldn't recommend the boxes to be honest if you want to be close. I've sat in the directors and royal boxes before and though they're fabulously close, a huge quarter of stage is out of sight. Plus it depends on which seat you're in - I feel so sorry when I see people in the 2nd row of these boxes, mid-performance, standing and straining to see after forking out £80 or so.

Hope you make it over! :)

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Sylvia -- thanks for giving me such a detailed and helpful response.

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If money is no object, I would suggest the centre of the stalls circle (slightly elevated from stage level) or the centre of the grand tier.

The dirt cheap option of standing at the back of the stalls circle also gives a wonderful view and if you have a standing place behind the centre block it is a better view than most of the seats in the house.

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Drew, although the front row of the stalls circle is very good, rows B and C in the centre can be very frustrating if there's someone tall in front of you - somewhat to the side is better. It's a pity we can't draw a picture for you. I don't often sit in the stalls but when I do I prefer seats on the outside of the two aisles, preferably actually on the aisle - you get a diagonal view and are less vulnerable to tall people. However to get any of these seats you need to apply as early as possible!

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Thanks again for all these replies -- I am printing out the entire thread.

(I feel sheepish about the fact that I did attend a couple of performances at the opera house during my last visit to the U.K. three years ago. But somehow I did not manage to get a very good feel for what the layout was or what the seats were like--other than the very peculiar ones I was sitting in. The one fan I spoke to at that time loved sitting in the front row of the orchestra and claimed no problem seeing feet at all--but that just seemed very unlikely...)

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Drew - I'm one of those poor students that seeks a standing place all the time, but for you to get an idea of what the ROH is like, have you checked out their 'interactive' seating plan? It's not complete nor completely accurate, but it does give you an idea. www.roh.org.uk - In the seating plan there will be highlighted seats, and if you click on them, they will show you the view of the stage (assuming no TALL people in front of you... or just big hairdos!!!) :yahoo:

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I haven't had much luck with the interactive seat chart. When I click, nothing happens. I will have access to a different computer later today, and try it then.

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It's actually not quite as useful as you might think, as all the photos of the view from the seat are taken with the red curtain down, which tends to make the view look better than it really is - it would be much more instructive if they could show a plan of the stage area, with the bit you can't see clearly marked - but then no-one would want to buy some of the seats!

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