Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advice Sought

Seating at the Metropolitan Opera. What are the advantages sight- and sound-wise of the different sections? I have only sat in the Family Circle and Balcony.

Worry not about the price structure.


Chanterelle said...

My home turf. Here's the house as i see it, from the top.

FC: good sound, but far, far away. Touted as the best sound, but I'm not a fan--too distant for me.

Balcony: Better view, still far away, but very, very good sound. A few productions won't look very good (e.g. THE NOSE)

Dress Circle, Grand Tier: progressively better view, good sound in first few rows. Further than 4 rows back the overhand makes for muffled sound. Last row of Grand Tier sounds awful

Parterre - the sound isn't as good as you might expect, though front row center is a pretty sweet location.

Orchestra: Overhang starts around Row T in center, R at the sides. Some sound deterioration. House Left sounds better than House Right (percussion and brass reverberate against the wall). There's an acoustically dead area in center orchestra ~rows H-L. The outermost 3-4 seats in rows D-L have very poor sound. Short people are likely to have a head blocking the view in the first 15 rows, though you can borrow a seat cushion from the basement coat check.

Orchestra Standing Room: focuses the voices albeit with some attenuation of orchestral sound.

Family Circle Standing Room: sold only when FC seating is sold out. Aficionados swear this is the best sound in the house. I saw Tosca with Caballe and Pavarotti from here and got goosebumps (quelle surprise)

Side tiers (Grand Tier, Dress Circle, Balcony Boxes): you lose some of the direct vocal sound but the orchestra sounds great. Balcony Boxes are wonderful for intricate scores like PELLEAS because you can pick out instrumental details; Dress Circle boxes likely enjoy the same advantage. The closer to the stage, the more distinct the individual instruments. These are partial view, particularly the rear-most seats. Exception: I'm told that even front Parterre Box seats have poor sound (no personal experience).

Hmm, I do believe this will make a nice blog post.

Anonymous said...

agree with Chanterelle, except I prefer the Grand Tier boxes closest to the stage - great immediacy - the orchestra and voices project upward right in your face - best of all you can best judge the singer's pitch, vocal prowess skills pitted against the orchestra. The orchestra seats on the 1st floor are o.k. but the orchestra sound seems to be less focused, coming from all directions and harder to grasp. The Grand Tier boxes toward the back have balanced sound but not the immediate presence of the front ones. Problem with the Grand Tier boxes is that part of the stage is cutoff so you miss some visual effects (for example, if you are sitting in the Grand Tier boxes on the right side of the auditorium facing the stage, you won't see Tosca's jump).
Best wishes & good luck!

Lisa Hirsch said...

WOW, thank you both. I'm thinking orchestra or Grand Tier, most likely center. Considering the opera in question - Frau - I will want to see the stage effects. :)

Oh, and there's no question about Schwanewilms versus the soprano singing the Empress on 11/16, I presume.