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Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Seating Question


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#1 AddisonMizner

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:19 PM

I didn't know quite where to post this, but I've hopefully put it in the right place - Has anybody on here ever been to the Royal Opera House? I want to book for what will be my first visit, and I was just wondering what the seating is like in the Main Auditorium. Where are the best places to sit? Is there any overhang from the various tiers/circles? Is there anywhere I should absolutely avoid?
Theatre 2014: Putting It Together (St. James Theatre) *****  Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory) *****  Les Miserables ***  Gounod: Faust (ROH) ****  Urinetown (St. James Theatre) *****  Ades: Powder Her Face (ENO at Ambika P3) ****

#2 xanderl

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:31 PM

There's a good FAQ here -

http://intermezzo.ty...nt_tell_yo.html

Key point is you can check the view from any seat by going through the booking process - once you select a seat on the seating plan it shows you a photo from that seat.

I've sat towards the back of the stalls which is great, front facing stalls circle (probably better than the stalls), and at the side of the stalls circle (some overhang but not a big problem). Cost of the seats generally reflects their relative quality. (NB most of my visits have been on special offers!)
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#3 Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:42 PM

Seats V 51 and 52 in the Amphitheatre r great if u r on a tiny budget - they r right at the back but they r high chairs (like bar stools with a back) and u have ur own little area for the 2 of u!!

#4 Honoured Guest

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 04:50 PM

I'm not aware of overhangs but if you book online you do get quite detailed warnings about viewing restrictions on individual seats, where applicable.

Are you interested in attending opera or ballet? I ask because sight restrictions matter more for ballet.

If you don't have vertigo, I'd recommend first trying the Amphitheatre which is the large, topmost level (so a long way from the stage) but has good acoustics and many seats have good sightlines. Also, the tickets cost less than unrestricted view seats in the lower tiers and stalls. Remember to be sure to check the restrictions on any seat you book anywhere in the house!

If you're willing and able to pay much higher ticket prices, I'd give you a gentle warning that the stalls and lower tiers are not well raked or positioned so you always take pot luck there and only discover when you turn up whether you have a good view or are blocked by a tall head in front.

Also, it's a "horseshoe" auditorium which means that the tiers each hold just a very few rows and are positioned above the extreme rear and sides of the stalls. So, if you want to look down on ballet from above the stalls level, you'll either be at the back (far away from the stage)  or at the side (with some restriction in your view of your side of the stage).

I hope I haven't put you off at all! Pick something you're keen on and you'll have a very fulfilling time there!

#5 AddisonMizner

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 05:06 PM

I'm interested in the opera - my plan is to try and book for FAUST when it goes on General Sale this coming Tuesday (though this depends on if they have anything decent left). I have to say that I am more interested in this because of the four main singers involved (Joseph Calleja, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Anna Netrebko all in one cast) than because of the opera/production. Do you think this is a good choice? I don't want to be sat too close, but I also don't want to be sat too far away, as I want to be able to see the singer's faces and not have them just be dots on the stage. I don't have the best eyesight. Would the stalls circle be too far back? Thank you for all your help so far!
Theatre 2014: Putting It Together (St. James Theatre) *****  Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory) *****  Les Miserables ***  Gounod: Faust (ROH) ****  Urinetown (St. James Theatre) *****  Ades: Powder Her Face (ENO at Ambika P3) ****

#6 FireFingers

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 05:07 PM

Opera houses are always built in a horseshoe to aid the acoustics. So stick off the sides if you want to get a comfortable view. The amphitheatre rake is fine if you don't mind the steepness. Sounds more balanced up there as well. But basically, you pretty much get what you pay for.

#7 xanderl

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 06:03 PM

The stalls circle is great if you can afford it! Front row will have an uninterrupted view.

This production of Faust was very well received on previous outings

http://www.telegraph...den-review.html
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#8 jean_hunt

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:53 PM

Like AddisonMizner, it's Faust I really want to see (if there are any seats left - with that cast I reckon it will have done very well on friends' booking alone)! La Trav is tempting too. Ticket prices are phenomenal though, so I'll have to be a bit further away than on my previous ROH visit (third row stalls for Wozzeck, a bargain at 65 quid). I know about the 'view from seat' option so I've been doing a bit of sleuthing ahead of booking opening and it's given me a good idea of sight lines.

What is far less obvious is aisle placing. (Sometimes what looks like aisles on the seating plan turns out not to be on online photos - but online photos don't cover the entire auditorium, sadly.) Guess I'll be in the telephone queue come Tuesday, then! I wish venues would put good, clear images of their auditorium on their website - would help no end with booking. I appreciate that's just a personal bugbear but in these days of interactivity/cutting down on customer contact time, you'd think this would be obvious. Full marks to the ROH for the 'view from seat' option though...

On another note, I can't figure out why they're not filming Faust for cinemas. (Apart from the fact it allows them to keep ticket prices ridiculously high, of course.) With that cast, you'd think they'd want a record of it.

#9 steveatplays

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:28 PM

View PostAddisonMizner, on 12 January 2014 - 05:06 PM, said:

I'm interested in the opera - my plan is to try and book for FAUST when it goes on General Sale this coming Tuesday (though this depends on if they have anything decent left). I have to say that I am more interested in this because of the four main singers involved (Joseph Calleja, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Anna Netrebko all in one cast) than because of the opera/production. Do you think this is a good choice? I don't want to be sat too close, but I also don't want to be sat too far away, as I want to be able to see the singer's faces and not have them just be dots on the stage. I don't have the best eyesight. Would the stalls circle be too far back? Thank you for all your help so far!

As an ROH friend, I thought I'd do a quick check for you to see how the land lies. My check only applies to the allocation of tickets made available to friends, and not the allocation reserved for the general public, and there IS an allocation for the general public.

This production has sold ridiculously well.

Stalls and Stalls Circle are completely sold out.

Fri Apr 4: 1 Amphitheatre Seat only remains.

Mon 7 Apr: 22 Amphitheatre seats only remain.

Fri 11 Apr: 19 Amphitheatre seats only remain.

Mon 14 Apr: 21 Amphitheatre seats, 16 Balcony seats and 8 Grand Tier seats remain.

Thu 17 Apr: 29 Amphitheatre seats, 16 Balcony seats and 2 Grand Tier seats remain.

Tue 22 Apr:  24 Amphitheatre seats, 19 Balcony seats and 2 Grand Tier seats remain.

Fri 25 Apr: 3 Amphitheatre and 1 Balcony seat only remain.

My conclusion for you is that you must be online within the first minute of the General Sale, you should head for one of the days above that have the most tickets remaining (as they are the days fewest people want to go) and you should pick the type of seat you want and the number of tickets and accept whatever they give you. Do not try to select your own seat, as the time wasted will see seats sold and you risk getting nothing.

My general advice is that if money is no object, you should accept whatever orchestra stalls seats you can get, as only there, and in the side stalls circle, can you really see faces without opera glasses.

If price is a factor, go for the Amphitheatre and take opera glasses. I generally find the acoustics in the amphitheatre are the best anyway, but I would not venture there without opera glasses, as faces are pin pricks to the naked eye.

Myself, I booked the uncomfortable benches in the side stalls circle for this production because they are less than a third of the price of orchestra stalls seats, they are well raked and you have a clear view of faces, but whatever general public allocation is made of those seats will sell so fast that you risk getting nothing if you try to get them. And if you do sit there, you have to look sideways and you are crushed on a bench between two other people.

Good luck. I really hope you see this production. I saw it with a less starry cast, and it's wonderful, which is why I have booked again.

#10 AddisonMizner

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 06:16 PM

Thank you for the extensive report, steveatplays. I really do appreciate it. Would you say that even the end of row seats/outer parts of the Orchestra Stalls are worth it? Is there anywhere in the stalls I should avoid if they are offered to me? Is there overhang from the Grand Tier? Are the surtitles cut off at any point? Is there a view of faces from the centre of the Stalls Circle, or are they like pin pricks? Would the sides of the Stalls Circle still be the better option? Finally, what is the view like from the Grand Tier? Sorry, I am aware that this is an awful lot of questions - I just want to make sure I have everything covered. Although, this is all of course if there is any availability in these areas for the general public. Thanks again.
Theatre 2014: Putting It Together (St. James Theatre) *****  Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory) *****  Les Miserables ***  Gounod: Faust (ROH) ****  Urinetown (St. James Theatre) *****  Ades: Powder Her Face (ENO at Ambika P3) ****




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