ROH (quick) seating guide

  • Right and Left = from the audience’s viewpoint.
  • Low to moderate prices = between £13 and £50

This is all based on my experience but I thought it might give a ROH newbie a bit of an idea about what to expect. I’ve sampled the following:

Parterre

(right; JPYA 2014)

  • lots of leg room
  • excellent view of the action, possibly obstructed by taller people

Stalls Circle

(Figaro, Semiramide (left) and Ariadne (right))

  • some sound muffling
  • excellent view near the action, minus the blocked corner
  • if you sit on the sides, you have your own surtitle board (or you can sneak a peak at the front row’s), as you can’t see the main one

Balcony

(right, Nabucco)

  • folding chair for a steep price
  • good view

Lower Slips

(right; many times)

  • good to very good sound
  • good view of the stage and orchestra, close to action
  • leaning a must but the entire row does it (your arms will start hurting sooner or later)
  • directors love that corner so you might miss some of the action

Upper Slips

(left, Gloriana)

  • very cheap (£9-£10 – perhaps not so cheap anymore, still under £20)
  • high view point but good view, you can also peep behind the stage design
  • bench with thin cushion
  • very hot in the Summer, I couldn’t cope and had to leave

Amphitheatre

(many times)

  • good to excellent sound
  • cheap to moderate prices (except for star studded productions)
  • good to excellent view the higher you go (the highest I’ve been was row L); first row has view partially blocked by the railing unless you’re tall; second row has view partially blocked by people leaning in the front row; opera glasses recommended for catching facial expressions
  • no leg room
  • limited buttroom (you will end up very well acquainted with your neighbours on all sides but they tend to be a congenial bunch)
  • can be hot in the Summer but not terribly so
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About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on December 3, 2017, in freeform weekend, royal opera house and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thank-you! This will help a newbie like me when I go to England (and ROH) next year. ANy advice on Glyndebourne and Paris Opera? P.S. I love your blog!

    • You’re welcome 🙂 I could do a Glyndebourne one, I think. With smaller halls the sound is usually good no matter where you sit (definitely so for G and TADW, at least in my experience, but your view might be partially blocked due to the old school design.

      I don’t reccomend the seats on the top horseshoe at G as you will need to lean and unlike at ROH I never felt comfortable that someone won’t complain, but with their price range that is often an option; ROH, G and TADW have acoustics on the dry side.

      I’ve only been once each at Theatre des Champs Elysees and Opera Bastille (and no other venues in Paris) so I don’t have the overall experience. The ushers are great at TCE and it’s beautiful and cosy inside. The sound from up at the top on the horseshoe wasn’t great but I don’t have anything else to compare it with so I don’t know if it’s an actual problem or it was the conducting vs. singers’ voices.

      The Opera Bastille experience was also from the “rafters” but the acoustics is very good (the orchestra was actually deafening!). From that distance you really need opera glasses even with good vision I imagine. I couldn’t even read the surtitles without opera glasses! But the good news is that your view is practically never unobstructed because it’s one of those modern designs with large height drop between rows and without pillars – only the occasional pod can be in the way, though the hall is so big chances are small you’ll end up next to one. This was a few months after the Bataclan attack and they searched us like at the airport. These days most venues search you but they are usually cursory.

  2. Thank you so much!

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