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.