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Where to Sit at the Met


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#16 SimonA

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:53 AM



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.

#17 angelica

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:44 PM




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.

#18 SimonA

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

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?


#19 California

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:14 PM

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.

#20 abatt

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:31 PM

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.

#21 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:28 PM

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. Posted Image

#22 angelica

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:41 AM


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. Posted Image


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

#23 Shirabyoshi

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:25 PM

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.

#24 California

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

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.

#25 mimsyb

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:02 AM

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"!

#26 SimonA

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

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"!


FWIW, I didn't find too much of a difference between Center Parterre and the front row of the Grand Tier, certainly not to justify the price difference. Both views were unobstructed but too distant from the stage to be ideal for me.

Also, regarding Parterre Box seating: front seats are the best, of course, and the middle row seats are totally useless. But in the back row, there's a section of 2 seats and a section of 1 seat divided by an aisle. If you sit in the "1 seat" section in the back row, you can (VERY subtly) kind of scooch your chair a bit toward the aisle, giving you an unobstructed view.

I've had good luck in the orchestra -- the middle of row K center was fine for me (I'm 5'9"), and P1 (a released house seat) was great. But I think generally the orchestra can be a minefield.

#27 mimsyb

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

A minefield! My point exactly, Simone!! I'm but 5'1" and to sit in the orchestra for me is a terrible choice. I even get the kiddie booster seat and I can't see. Some people's "big hair" are just too much! And I've tried the "scooching" trick in a box seat, only to have a Met usher reprimand me for moving a seat! Minefield indeed!! It's a crap shoot at the Met, for sure. I can't wait for ABT to move over to the State Theater come their Fall Season, where almost any seat in the house is a better deal than the Met. But of course that theater was actually designed for dance. I do think that most ballet watchers will usually prefer to "sit up" (even if a bit further back), as opposed to an orchestra seat, but sometimes the cache' of the orchestra wins out. I even see many of the critics sitting up now as compared with their usual "house critic seat". It's just better. Many nuances of choreography are obliterated or missed by sitting on a flatter plane. If one wants to see the sweat (and sometimes blood), then sitting down is the way to go. Me, I prefer some of the 'mystery' to be intact.

#28 angelica

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:49 PM

I totally agree with mimsyb that the Met is unfriendly for ballet seating. Almost every seat is a compromise of one kind or another. I think that one's choice of where to sit depends on whether one goes to see dancers or ballets. As for me, I go to see dancers (I choose performances more by the casting, not so much by the ballet), and I want to see them up close. I try to sit in the center orchestra, rows H-N, where the floor begins to rake, and not directly behind the conductor. If I sit in the center of the Grand Tier, I will, of course, see the patterns, but I will feel too distanced from the dancers. I, too, like side parterre seats, first row only, for the same reason, although you do miss what goes on upstage on one side. If you go to see ballets, then your priorities will be different, and I should think that the center of the Grand Tier would be ideal. I wouldn't pay all that money for Center Parterre for the same reason as SimonA.
And mimsyb, you are fortunate to be able to get a kiddie booster seat because I have seen them turn away adults, no matter how petite, saying that the booster seats are only for children. When we were there last season, you had to have the child with you to get the seat.

#29 vipa

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

And mimsyb, you are fortunate to be able to get a kiddie booster seat because I have seen them turn away adults, no matter how petite, saying that the booster seats are only for children. When we were there last season, you had to have the child with you to get the seat.


I agree I'm also around 5'1'' and orchestra seats are tricky for me. One of my worst experiences in the Met was when I was sitting behind a rather tall adult who proceeded to put the child who was with him on his lap, instead of having her stay in her own seat with a booster seat. Talk about a blocked view, and the man and usher wouldn't help me at all.

I've also been in the first row of the orchestra in the Met and the dancers feet were out of view if too far downstage. I usually try to get dress circle or balcony as close to front and center as possible.

#30 mimsyb

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:16 PM

Angelica, I am confused by what you write. Are you saying you would prefer to see "the dancers", no matter the ballet? But isn't the point of going to the ballet to see "ballet"? Otherwise we could stay out on the Plaza and see "the dancers" walk in the stage entrance. Or better yet, go to "Indie" for a glass of wine. You'll frequently see many of the dancers there. Ballet is a performance art that involves not just music and moves to music, but there's the decor, the costumes, sometimes a story, etc. etc. Oft times a very good dancer is totally mis-cast in a given ballet and thus the entire performance comes to naught. Other times an understudy or second cast dancer goes on as a replacement and knocks our socks off! Do we really enjoy a dancer, even though he or she is reading the phone book? Should we adore some dancers even though we could care less about what else is happening on stage? For me , the totality of a work speaks for itself and on it's own terms. While I would agree that many ballets are poorly presented or get short shrift in the production values department, even these can rarely be saved by any one dancer. I've seen many great dancers in lesser productions and wished I hadn't. And seen many ballets little known to me with lesser known dancers in the cast and come away pleased and surprised. The work should always come first, then the casting...be it a star or not. Another reason to sit in a seat that reveals as much about a work as possible.


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