Friday, September 18, 2015


By being in rows 1, 4, 6, and 12 in Bayreuth, that is, and then in the orchestra for Luisa Miller. I'll tell you, Row R in the War Memorial Opera House feels really far away compared to where I was sitting in Germany, and my dress circle seats might as well be on Market St.

I'm not going to routinely spend $250-$350 for seats, so I think it will be back to the balcony for me next season, perhaps on OperaVision nights, because then you can (sort of) see.

And yeah, the combination of distance, British accent, and intermittent, mediocre amplification meant that I understood about half of what Stephanie Blythe was singing; sometimes more, sometimes less. You bet I was glad for the supertitles.


Eric Pease said...

we have had excellent luck getting tix thru Bravo! tix the last 2 years. nearly always within the first dozen rows but well to the side of the orchestra - usually seats around E9 or E11. we're not picky about casting though.

it's one of the those deals that is so great that you're reluctant to dilute when you share with others but I do enjoy your blog and thought i would throw it out there in the unlikely case you hadn't already considered Bravo!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ha, thanks. I am too old for Bravo.

Darrick Chen said...

Dear Lisa,

If you are afraid of heights, you might want to re-think sitting in the balcony. It's really high up there. I generally sit in the orchestra and when I feel like splurging, in a box. This season I got seats in Balcony Circle. I had sat up there once several season ago and was surprised how well the singers voices carry. Last season, I sat in Row J in the Orchestra, which is too close to the stage for my taste and was disappointed with the sound; so decided to go back to the balcony.

I arrived for the first Saturday performance of Luisa Miller and was terrified at how high it was and how raked the stairs were. Not sure why I didn't remember that. After taking several deep breaths I got to my seat (fortunately it was the top row of the Balcony Circle, so I didn't have to go down a lot of steps). The usher saw how carefully I moved and told me that once the performance starts it won't be so bad. She was right. Still, it's really high up in the house. I think I may have to seriously think about exchanging my season tickets. While the voices sound great up there, I don't think it can overcome my fear of heights.

Maybe I'll move back to the Dress Circle. I seem to recall that the voices carried well when seated in the last row of Dress Circle. While I like sitting in Orchestra, I've never been happy with the acoustics. If you sit too close to the stage, it sounds like the singers are singing over you or for some reason the voices sound small. I also don't like sitting under the overhang as the voices sound muffled. So hard to please.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I sat in the balcony in the 80s, then from about 1995-2003 or later. The heights don't bother me; the sound is good; you have OperaVision. Also, new seats, which really are more comfortable than the old ones.

You're right about the orchestra section. The orchestra itself sounds fabulous dead center, but voices do seem to go over your head. If you're in the side sections, you hear a lot of bounce off the walls. This is worse on audience left, better on audience right; I was pleasantly surprised by the orchestra balance sitting on the aisle in Row P, audience right, for the first Troyens in June.