Monday, December 07, 2015
Over the summer of 2015, after the last opera performance of the 2014-15 season, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet started replacing the seats in the War Memorial Opera House.
Unless you sit in the balcony, you may not have noticed! On the other hand, you may have noticed the small ticket price increase - $1 or $2 per ticket - that is paying for the new seats.
For my second performance of Die Meistersinger, I got a seat in the Balcony, row K, because for the first performance, I was in Orchestra, Row M. That's an orchestra-friendly location, where the SFO orchestra sounds like the greatest orchestra in the world, on purely sonic terms. But singers tend to be somewhat covered there, hence my choice of a balcony seat, since the Balcony is on the singer-friendly side.
Well, the orchestra still sounded damn good up there, and I still had a little trouble hearing the singers as well as I would have liked. So I think that Mark Elder could have dialed the orchestral volume back by 15% with no harm done.
But, to get to the point, the new seats are fantastic. They are wide enough for my sizable backside; the lumbar support is superb; they are high enough off the ground. Nothing is going to fix the complete lack of leg room in the Balcony, but I can't wait for the seat upgrades elsewhere in the house, because after sitting for....a very long time....my back and other body parts felt fine.