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Where to Sit at the Met

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[Admin Note: This topic was originally posted on the Pacific Northwest Ballet forum[/url]

Can you give some advice on where are the good places to sit for a ballet at the Met and how to best obtain tickets?

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We're just comparing the Met with the Koch on the RDB North American tour thread, but I can relate just a little experience with the Met. Last time, I sat in the middle of row N in the Orchestra, where I got a good view of everything on stage - relatively small-cast ballets, Tharp's The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Robbins's Interplay, and his Fancy Free. I am 5'8", though, and a shorter person might want to try a spot a little off-center, the better to see between the heads of those in front of you.

To get this location, I just went up to the box office and lucked out. (I hope more experienced consumers will come in and advise about timing your purchase, etc.)

Another location to ask about is on the aisle just across from the center section, as far back as row S, maybe; while I really prefer the exact center line, so they seem to be dancing for me, not for those people over there half a row to my right or left, this trick helps in places like the Met Orchestra, which is not raked enough, because you have no one in front of you - you look down the aisle halfway to the stage.

I have sometimes sat in a front row one or two levels up across the back of the place, which can help some for big-cast ballets, but I feel rather remote from events on stage there, owing to the Met's size.

Hope this helps some.

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[Admin Note: This topic was originally posted on the Pacific Northwest Ballet forum[/url]

Can you give some advice on where are the good places to sit for a ballet at the Met and how to best obtain tickets?

Best Met location for dance is the Grand Tier. The more center the better. If not a subscriber, walk ups work sometimes and not so well others. It depends on particular casting. But I've frequently had great luck with same day walk up. (sometimes better location than my subscriptions!)

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[Admin Note: This topic was originally posted on the Pacific Northwest Ballet forum[/url]

Can you give some advice on where are the good places to sit for a ballet at the Met and how to best obtain tickets?

Best Met location for dance is the Grand Tier. The more center the better. If not a subscriber, walk ups work sometimes and not so well others. It depends on particular casting. But I've frequently had great luck with same day walk up. (sometimes better location than my subscriptions!)

Last year I tried every section of the Met and came to the conclusion that, at least for my requirements, the Met isn't the best house for ballet. Every seat is a compromise, in our way or another, except perhaps those ends of the Orchestra "Premium," which I believe are saved for Press and dignitaries. Maybe you can get them at the very last minute if they're not being used.

Anyway, here's my assessment:

Orchestra front row center: you miss the feet when they are flat but can see them on pointe. Otherwise, it's great for getting every nuance.

Orchestra middle: not too bad as long as you don't have heads in front of you. No way to plan in advance unless you have a subscription and so do the people in front of you.

Grand Tier Center: Okay if you like to see ballets in panorama, e.g., I would recommend for a first time Giselle. However, for the nuances of acting and expression, it's too far back for my taste.

Center Parterre: Pricey and also too far back if you like to see the dancers close up. You can't watch an entire ballet through binoculars.

Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Dress circle, first row center, best seats for the money. Hard to get.

Balcony and Family Circle: Okay if you have really good eyesight, but I don't.

This year we got our subscription for Row E Center Orchestra. I will report further on how this worked out.

angelica

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Last year I tried every section of the Met and came to the conclusion that, at least for my requirements, the Met isn't the best house for ballet. Every seat is a compromise, in our way or another, except perhaps those ends of the Orchestra "Premium," which I believe are saved for Press and dignitaries. Maybe you can get them at the very last minute if they're not being used.

Anyway, here's my assessment:

Orchestra front row center: you miss the feet when they are flat but can see them on pointe. Otherwise, it's great for getting every nuance.

Orchestra middle: not too bad as long as you don't have heads in front of you. No way to plan in advance unless you have a subscription and so do the people in front of you.

Grand Tier Center: Okay if you like to see ballets in panorama, e.g., I would recommend for a first time Giselle. However, for the nuances of acting and expression, it's too far back for my taste.

Center Parterre: Pricey and also too far back if you like to see the dancers close up. You can't watch an entire ballet through binoculars.

Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Dress circle, first row center, best seats for the money. Hard to get.

Balcony and Family Circle: Okay if you have really good eyesight, but I don't.

This year we got our subscription for Row E Center Orchestra. I will report further on how this worked out.

angelica

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Orchestra front row center: you miss the feet when they are flat but can see them on pointe. Otherwise, it's great for getting every nuance.
Just as long as you're not absolutely dead center, which puts you directly behind the conductor. You'll see more of his performance than the dancers' if you get those two seats. That was my friends' experience on one unfortunate night. Not sure what the numbers are, though.
Orchestra middle: not too bad as long as you don't have heads in front of you.
If I recall correctly, the rake starts around Row H or J.

"Best location" is a very personal thing. As I've written elseewhere on this board, for dance, I prefer to be upstairs so I can take in the whole stage picture. At the Met, I'm generally in the Dress Circle, because I usually buy standing room, and the standing room accommodations are more comfortable than their equivalent in the Grand Tier. If money were no object, I'd probably buy tickets for most performances in Grand Tier. I don't mind missing every little nuance of facial expression. My philosophy is that dancers spend their lives making their bodies into instruments of expression. If I need the face to get the intended emotion, something important is missing. IMO, it's like an opera singer whose voice is beautiful but reaches only half the audience -- s/he's not doing her/his job.

... and how to best obtain tickets?
First choice, box office in person. Not only can you ask questions about the location, but you save those unreasonable handling fees. Inconvenient? Second choice, by phone, so you can ask questions.

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Right. I forgot about that part -- definitely not directly behind the conductor.

And you're right about it being a personal thing.

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Can someone remind me of the standing room policies for ABT? I've done it several times, but I forget. I know you have to buy the tickets day-of, but do they only allow standing room for sell-outs.

I have only done standing room from the orchestra. Carbo, if you're reading, is the scenery also cut-off when standing in the Dress Circle? Why do you prefer to the Grand Tier?

Also, foolish question, perhaps but: do they allow standing room for the gala? Normally I'm not particularly interested anyway, but this year's looks especially chock 'o block, plus I'd love to see the Manon pas. My assumption is that they don't sell standing rooms, with all of the cocktails and hot-shots and such.

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Can someone remind me of the standing room policies for ABT? I've done it several times, but I forget. I know you have to buy the tickets day-of, but do they only allow standing room for sell-outs.

I have only done standing room from the orchestra. Carbo, if you're reading, is the scenery also cut-off when standing in the Dress Circle? Why do you prefer to the Grand Tier?

Also, foolish question, perhaps but: do they allow standing room for the gala? Normally I'm not particularly interested anyway, but this year's looks especially chock 'o block, plus I'd love to see the Manon pas. My assumption is that they don't sell standing rooms, with all of the cocktails and hot-shots and such.

From the ABT section of the Met's website:

Standing Room Tickets are available by phone and at the box office window. Orchestra, Grand Tier and Dress Circle Standing Room tickets will be available beginning at 10 am on the day of the performance. Family Circle Standing Room tickets will also be available on the “day of” when Family Circle Seating is sold out. Tickets are subject to availability and limited to two per person.

Please note that a $5.50 per ticket service charge will apply for phone and web sales.

Note that ABT sells SR at Orch, GT, and DC regardless of amount of seats sold but FC only when all FC seats are sold.

This is similar to the policy for the opera (except that they don't sell GT and DC SR) but

other visiting companies sometimes have different policies.

This doesn't give prices and I don't recall what they are. I DO think SR will be available for tomorrow's gala. It's completely sold out at this point so I'm guessing they will sell SR at all four levels. I'm toying with the idea of going, I hate to pay the damn $5.50 service fee for a SR ticket but on the other hand, I don't want to go through the considerable effort from getting from NJ into Manahattan and end up not getting in.

Best suggestion is to call the MEt boxoffice at 212-362-6000 as soon after 10 AM on Monday as you can.

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One ticket left in side parterre, $115. May be gone by the time I add this post. Sometimes seats held for VIPs are released at the last minute day-of. Suggest you keep checking web site if you want a seat. And if you find one, grab it!

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opening night is sold out!

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Sometimes seats held for VIPs are released at the last minute day-of.

Whether it's VIPs relinquishing seats or ordinary folks, I've often found good seats at theaters all over the place at the last minute. My favorite example of this is when I decided to go to Kyra Nichols' last performance no more that 10 days beforehand, and all that was available was high Fourth Ring. Fresh in town a few hours before the performance, I traded that seat for one in the Third Ring, and when the doors opened I bought a center seat in the Second Ring.

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Carbo, if you're reading, is the scenery also cut-off when standing in the Dress Circle? Why do you prefer to the Grand Tier?

Whoops! Sorry I'm a little late in responding, and I hope this gets to you in time.

Standing room spots are numbered and assigned. In the Grand Tier, there is a curved rail with numbers along the length, which means that those with the spots at the outer ends stand behind someone -- uncomfortable for both the person behind and the one in front. SOMETIMES, if the stands are not well sold, ushers will let you migrate to the less populated side.

Dress Circle spots are right behind the last row of seats, like the Orchestra. No one stands behind anyone. And the overhang blocks less of the set than it does in the GT.

I hope this helps.

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Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Apologies for resurrecting this old thread, but I wanted to ask: how is the view from the closest Side Parterre boxes (1 and 2)? Too close? Too much of the stage cut off?

Thanks so much!

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Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Apologies for resurrecting this old thread, but I wanted to ask: how is the view from the closest Side Parterre boxes (1 and 2)? Too close? Too much of the stage cut off?

Thanks so much!

Surprisingly not bad, because that box is slightly curved in towards the stage. It's not my first choice seating, but if that's the best option for a performance you want to see, then I'd sit there. Just make sure that you're in the first row of the box. Otherwise it's hopeless.

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Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Apologies for resurrecting this old thread, but I wanted to ask: how is the view from the closest Side Parterre boxes (1 and 2)? Too close? Too much of the stage cut off?

Thanks so much!

Surprisingly not bad, because that box is slightly curved in towards the stage. It's not my first choice seating, but if that's the best option for a performance you want to see, then I'd sit there. Just make sure that you're in the first row of the box. Otherwise it's hopeless.

Thanks for the prompt reply!

I have Box 1, seat 3 for a performance for which no other front row side parterre seats are available. I was contemplating exchanging for a different section if the view was too distorted.

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Side Parterre: first row only - don't sit anywhere in the side parterre except first row. Good seats, you see up close, but you miss a corner of the stage.

Apologies for resurrecting this old thread, but I wanted to ask: how is the view from the closest Side Parterre boxes (1 and 2)? Too close? Too much of the stage cut off?

Thanks so much!

Surprisingly not bad, because that box is slightly curved in towards the stage. It's not my first choice seating, but if that's the best option for a performance you want to see, then I'd sit there. Just make sure that you're in the first row of the box. Otherwise it's hopeless.

Thanks for the prompt reply!

I have Box 1, seat 3 for a performance for which no other front row side parterre seats are available. I was contemplating exchanging for a different section if the view was too distorted.

Seating preferences are very individual. In my view, for example, there is no "perfect" seat anywhere in the Met (well, maybe Orchestra Row K on the aisle). Center Parterre, which is the priciest section, is too far back for my taste. Same for Grand Tier center. I would prefer losing some of the stage in order to be up close. That said, I usually avoid Box 1 if possible. If there's another seat available that you KNOW you like, then I'd recommend you exchange the ticket. I do believe the "dynamic pricing" has already gone into effect, however.

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Thanks, again, Angelica, for your thoughts. Is the view substantially better one box over (3 and 4), or do I need to go further back in the side parterre?

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how is the view from the closest Side Parterre boxes (1 and 2)? Too close? Too much of the stage cut off?

I love these boxes (in seat 3, closest to the stage), although for some eccentric reasons. You're hanging over the orchestra and do lose the far back corner, but you can see well into the wings on the opposite side. So you see dancers getting ready for an entrance, letting go after an exit, etc. If I'm seeing multiple performances, I try to alternate sides.

Most of the boxes just have too many seats crammed in. If it's sold out and you're jammed into one with a lot of strangers, it can be pretty unpleasant. That happened to me on the Super Saturday Sleeping Beauty with Cojocaru and Osipova a couple of years ago. Two mothers with a flock of little girls shared a mid-side box with 8 seats with me. The constant jostling to get a better view was pretty awful, especially when several of the girls decided they wanted to stand in front instead of using the chairs.

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In my early ballet going years at ABT, I sat in the parterre box closest to the stage on the right side of the house for Romeo and Juliet. BIG mistake. I missed most of the balcony scene because a large portion of thestage on the right was completely cut off from view. Beware. I also stopped sitting in the boxes for the reason mentioned by California. There are too many people jockeying for favorable positions/sight lines in the boxes. I felt like people were practically sitting in my lap they were so close. Very unpleasant.

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Seating preferences are very individual. In my view, for example, there is no "perfect" seat anywhere in the Met (well, maybe Orchestra Row K on the aisle). Center Parterre, which is the priciest section, is too far back for my taste. Same for Grand Tier center. I would prefer losing some of the stage in order to be up close. That said, I usually avoid Box 1 if possible. If there's another seat available that you KNOW you like, then I'd recommend you exchange the ticket. I do believe the "dynamic pricing" has already gone into effect, however.

^ That made my evening (other than watching Corella in Giselle tonight). My ticket for Corella's last ABT performance is Center Orchestra Row K on the aisle. yahoo.gif

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Seating preferences are very individual. In my view, for example, there is no "perfect" seat anywhere in the Met (well, maybe Orchestra Row K on the aisle). Center Parterre, which is the priciest section, is too far back for my taste. Same for Grand Tier center. I would prefer losing some of the stage in order to be up close. That said, I usually avoid Box 1 if possible. If there's another seat available that you KNOW you like, then I'd recommend you exchange the ticket. I do believe the "dynamic pricing" has already gone into effect, however.

^ That made my evening (other than watching Corella in Giselle tonight). My ticket for Corella's last ABT performance is Center Orchestra Row K on the aisle. yahoo.gif

Awesome! Please report after the performance whether that is, indeed, the "perfect" seat.

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Alea jacta est. I am going to the ballet for the first time in, yes, let's check this, let's be as precise as we can, THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE.

New York being somewhat cheaper and more convenient than Russia, I'll be there during a certain strategically selected period in the month of May. I rang up the Met box office today to check where I'd be sitting for ABT and I should very much appreciate the opinions of the learned members of this board on whether or not I should be happy. I mean, I'm pretty happy anyway, but could I be happier? If I could be I should certainly like to be; this is a monumental occasion for me.

My seats for "Onegin" and "Don Quixote" are here and there in the orchestra, the forwardmost being in Row H. I'm 5'8"; will I be all right vis a vis seeing the feet or should I be moving heaven and earth to get back a few rows? Is it better to be off to the side as some of the posters in this thread suggest, rather than in the central block; if so, within what sort of general range? One of my seats is almost dead center in Row H; the thought of it is tormenting me.

For the Ashton/Balanchine I have seats in the front row of the Grand Tier boxes, near to the stage but not actually hanging over it: it was the best compromise I could think of between wanting to be close to the Ashton, and wanting a bit of altitude for the Balanchine. Is this a decent idea or a crackpot scheme?

Please, any thoughts or advice you may have. I'm already planning to try to get there early each day and just *see* if any better seats have been returned, but it would be helpful to improve my situation beforehand if I can... Ballet has given me a taste for perfection.

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For the Ashton/Balanchine I have seats in the front row of the Grand Tier boxes, near to the stage but not actually hanging over it: it was the best compromise I could think of between wanting to be close to the Ashton, and wanting a bit of altitude for the Balanchine. Is this a decent idea or a crackpot scheme?

I've tried sitting on many occasions in the side Grand Tier boxes and also the Side Parterre boxes close to the stage and like them a lot. It's imperative that you be in the first row (seats 1-2-3). The second row is unacceptable everywhere in the boxes, mainly because they cram too many chairs into those boxes. I like being close to the stage and you can often see well into the wings, which is fun. You'll almost certainly have a blind corner closest to you, so be prepared for that. But the biggest advantage is just getting a very close-up view of the dancers, which you can't get from the Grand Tier, even in the first row, as it is quite some distance back.

Another little bonus with the Grand Tier boxes: one closest to the stage is the "company box" and the other the "director's box." Dancers from the company sometimes sit in the company box, especially for high-profile performances, and it's fun to see their reaction.

Others can speak to the orchestra. The only times I sit there is for the open rehearsals and I really don't like it. Unless you're lucky enough to be on the aisle in the outside section, you'll have people in front of you, some rather tall and/or sporting big hair that interferes with your view.

Be sure you have printed out the seat diagrams from the on-line ordering site to see exactly where you are.

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The Met clearly was not designed for dance, or ballet in particular. Orchestra seats have sight line issues, unless you are on one of the center aisles not too terribly far back. You lose the dancers feet frequently and also the patterns. If you enjoy being "close" to the dancers, then go with those Side Parterre or Grand Tier boxes. But yes, be sure you are in the front row, otherwise they are useless. But expect to miss much of the upstage action, depending on which side you sit on. For me, it's not pleasant to be watching a performer perform and then suddenly "lose" them whenever they go to a corner. If you like seeing into the "wings" rather than watching the performance, again those front boxes are OK I guess. If you're going to spend that money, however, you're always better off in Center Grand Tier. Yes, the tier is a bit further back than those side boxes, but you do get a full view of the stage. You see patterns and certainly the feet! It's just a much better choice. And if you really have $$$, go with Center Parterre Box (again, try for the front seats). And when you sit in the Grand Tier, you are on the level where the "action" is during the intermissions! The refreshment bars are there, as well as the wonderful balcony overlooking Lincoln Plaza. Good luck and welcome to "Summer with ABT"!

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