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Of the great opera houses and ballet theatres of the world, where can you be and feel closest to the action on the stage?

My experience is limited, and I wondered where those in the know would watch their favourite ballets, and in what seats...

(I would start things off by saying that I have never enjoyed a performance more than at La Bayadere done by the Kirov in the centre of the stalls at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh. But I'm looking to create that experience elsewhere, so...)

Where would you sit if money was no object?

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That is where I would sit, too.

One of the theatres I danced in had a so-called "Emperor's Box", which was right in the middle of the lowest balconey, embellished with thick, red-velvet curtains and gold-plated, wooden designs. :o

Sometimes some of us got to sit there to watch a performance when our second-cast was dancing.... or when we were injured; but only in the back of the box.

(Usually of course the better seats were sold.)

I'd like to sit in the front, and for the reasons Hans also mentioned. ;)


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Guest yardred

I would agree that the first row in the lowest boxes would be the best place to view a ballet.

However, I also enjoy watching about 20 rows back

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Well, once, at Garnier, I was sitting in the front row of the box right next ot the stage, looking straight down into the orchestra pit and literally just next to the stage. It was great because you could see everything in so much detail, but the problem was that you could also see the firemen standing with their arms crossed at the end of the backstage area. But otherwise, it's difficult for me to tell, since I don't know the terms in english for the places where you sit.

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Well, in general, yes they are called "parterre", but at the Opera, they are "orchestre" in the front and "balcon" at the back because it's slightly higher. Then the seats right on top are called "amphithéâtre" and all the others are "loges". The orchestra and balcon are very good seats.

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Generally in English, the "amphitheatre" is sometimes called the mezzanine or the first or lowest balcony. The rest of the levels have varied names depending upon the theater (sometimes the term "loge" is used, sometimes they're called "rings") but they are usually called balconies.

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At the Detroit Opera House (not by any means a world class venue) I like to sit in the front row of what they call the Trustee's circle, which is the first five rows of the mezzanine. This is for a work I don't know well or something we are seeing only once.

For repeated viewings, we also like the very first row of the orchestra and the very top row of the balcony. For Gisele, Swan Lake, Samson and Delilah, Eugene Onegin (the opera) we did both--the sound is great at the top of the house--much like the Family Circle at the Met. And the details of the production are nice to see from very close.

A zillion years ago we were at a concert staging in Chicago of "Fidelio" at Orchestra Hall, which is an excellent venue. Sat in the gallery, which is as high as you can go there and is very steep. It was like a bombardier seat--as if we were looking straight down at Solti on the podium. Wonderful sound.

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