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Advice on choosing seats at the Met (and David Koch theatre)

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Hi Everyone,

I only began watching, and loving, ballet in the past year. It all began with buying DVDs for my little girl to watch, and now we've seen some live performances together. We went together to see Cojocaru in Giselle with ABT last year, and had a wonderful time.

I'm looking now at buying tickets for ABT at Lincoln Center for 2013, and wanted to hear some opinions on which seats are best for ballet, on a moderate budget. Is it better to watch from the orchestra or from the balcony? Better to be in the center, or are there advantages to viewing from the side?

While you're at it, if you have any tips on performances that we absolutely must catch with ABT in 2013 in New York, please share.

Best, Paris.

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At the Koch theater, especially with a little girl and on a more limited budget I recommend the second ring seats. For cheaper still, front of the third ring. Anything in the rings that is pretty much facing the stage should be fine. Up and down the side of the theater in the rings can be problematic. If you do sit downstairs the banking is much better after the first 8-9 rows.

At the Met, as others have said in other threads, every seat is a compromise. Also, nothing is even vaguely reasonably priced unless you are very, very, very far away indeed. For a treat I would sit downstairs, ask for a cushion for your daughter, and (depending on how tall you are) hope no-one too tall sits in front of you. The seats are banked starting at about row K, but in my experience it's unwise to sit closer than L. (I'm short.) Between L and T is pretty much my favorite range in the orchestra. I actually like sitting in the middle of the side sections as much as or more than sitting in the center section as I usually find it's a little easier to find an angle to see in between people's heads. The truth is that even with banking I sometimes have trouble seeing.

The dress circle is usually as expensive as downstairs but the seats are very well banked. If you can sit towards the front, then it's not too bad. For myself, I enjoy it more with binoculars from up there.

I once saw someone with small children who had gotten front row seats at the Met--but for any child or any shortish adult the bottom part of the dancers' legs are cut off in those seats. Sitting on the side down front gives you a very peculiar angle.

For me, Osipova is not to be missed at ABT and, for very different reasons, Cojocaru. But everyone on this board will name a different favorite ballerina. Personally I think those are the two ballerinas of the season that people will be talking about the most decades AFTER the season is over, the ballerinas your daughter will say "When I was a little girl, my mother took me to see..." But the ballet I most strongly recommend--and that you might not have thought of as compared with Swan Lake or Romeo and Juliet--is Sylvia; incredible melodious music, fantastic ballerina role, lots of charming bit parts (dancing goats, the goddess Terpsichore) and ABT in the past has danced the ballet very well across multiple casts. And it's joyous! (Gillian Murphy is also fantastic in the lead role if you are keen on supporting home team ballerinas.) But you know, of course, it's an excellent company and though we often criticize it on this board, I don't think you can go wrong with any performance--though...uh...some may be righter than others...

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PBL _ Drew's advice is excellent all the way around - have been frequenting both of these theaters for the past 25 years! As for recommending performances, the Osipova/Vasiliev performances of Don Q are what I would pick. I have introduced numerous people to the ballet over the years - including my husband. He says that if you don't like a Don Q with a stellar cast then ballet is not for you! I expect we will be hearing their names decades from now.

As far as seats go, there are really no bad seats in the Koch (oh it KILLS me to call it that) theatre. And just about every seat at the Met has a drawback. The side orchestra is out for a child (and anyone else). As Drew said - Dress Circle is okay with binoculars - though no bargain. A great house for ballet is the Kennedy Center in DC and they bring in some of the world's great companies.

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PBL - I'm with Drew on sitting off-center, and this goes for the rings in the Koch as well as the Met. I'm not short, but I find that my view is blocked if I'm sitting in the center section and a taller person sits down in front of me. If I'm sitting further over to the side, it's much less of a problem. Also, I actually like the way dance looks when viewed from a slight angle rather than dead-on. I think it gives the field of view a bit more depth, but that's just me.

I don't know how ABT will handle ticket pricing at the Koch, but NYCB prices drop off the further you get from the center of the ring. Since the view is just fine from off center, those seats are a great bargain as far as I'm concerned. I've been over as far as seats 28/29 and didn't feel I was missing anything.

I advise against sitting the the actual side sections of the horseshoe shaped rings, however. There your view really does start to get compromised.

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