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Hello

I hope I didn’t post this in the wrong place. We plan on going to the ROH to see a ballet in November (most probably Sleeping Beauty) for the 1st time. And I need help with choosing the seats left. I am willing to pay more if the seats do actually make a difference. From what I gathered it’s better to be sat in the middle part of the ROH because of the horseshoe shape so the options are: 

- Amphitheatre Row C62 - C61

- Stalls Circle Row C63-64 
(no option in the grand tier)

 

It would be great to have recommendations from people who know the ROH seats.

 

Thanks!

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Unless you and your companion are very tall, I would suggest the Amphitheatre seats. The centre of Stalls Circle row C, while being expensive, is poorly raked, so you can very easily find yourself with an unadvertised restricted view even if there is quite an average-sized person sitting in front of you.

 

As long as you are OK with heights, and not really unusually wide in dimension (the Amphi seats are a little narrow and not separated by armrests) I think you'll get more satisfaction in the Amphitheatre seats.

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As a regular in the Amphi -  though further back - I suggest you bring opera glasses.  They do help for close ups, though the general view is great.

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Welcome to the forum, CathyG.  Just to mention that Row C is I think 4-5 steps down towards the front from the entrance.  Some people occasionally find that a little vertiginous, but I guess you ought to be able to tell from the "view from your seat" photo whether that's likely to be a problem.

 

I'm going to add a "seating" tag to this thread, so that people can cross-refer it to all the other related threads.

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Unless it’s a ballet where I want to watch the patterns danced by the corps, for instance the snowflakes in Nutcracker, of the options you propose, I’d always opt for the Stalls Circle. 

 

This is because I like to feel closer to the stage, to have a better (in my view) sight of the footwork of the dancers and, significantly for me, I can see the expressions on the faces of the dancers without the need to rely on opera glasses or mini-binoculars. 

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Row C in the Amphi is not bad!  And should be cheaper if money us an issue.I usually opt for an end of row seat so can hold on to the rail if need be if feeling a bit vertiginous!! It also means you have only one person sitting next to you as I do find the seats a bit narrow there not having the arm rests etc.

If you can afford it and can't get to ROH that often then go for a Stalls Circle....if Row A is available even better! Because you are much closer....but then Im tallish. 

To be honest it's so long since I sat in Stalls Circle I can't remember the rake issue that well....only to avoid a post being in the way but it should say on the ticket that it's restricted view

As it happens though I will be sitting there twice in December ....for Beauty and the Triple .....Beauty cost a fortune....as decided to treat myself for birthday and Christmas present combined! But usually am happy with front six rows of Amphi. 

 

 

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I've never sat in the amphitheatre but once went to have a look after a matinee - and it seemed to me the stage was a tiny dot in the distance, and you felt as though you were very likely to fall down on top of it.  Stalls circle seats are much better!

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Just to confirm the rake issue in the stalls circle - in 5’4 and I need a booster cushion to be able to see anything from rows B & C in the central section!

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Well - I usually sit in the first rows of the Amphi, though off-centre; occasionally (e.g. for Bolshoi/Mariinsky performances) I'll stand in the stalls circle - as centrally as I can get. I *much* prefer the view from the front of the amphitheatre; the dancers don't appear tiny; and as long as you don't suffer from vertigo you adjust to the rake very quickly.

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49 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

Just to confirm the rake issue in the stalls circle - in 5’4 and I need a booster cushion to be able to see anything from rows B & C in the central section!

 

Yes - I've sat there (row D in central section and B in side section) a few times in recent years (very kind gifts from my sister!) and I've been shocked to realise that there is hardly any rake. I'm 5'9" and if anyone of even average height is sitting in front of me their head is basically blocking my view. You adapt by looking to left and right all the time; but I think given the cost of the seats (compared to my normal Amphi seats where it's extremely unusual for a head to get in the way) it's outrageous! And it's great fun being so near the stage and seeing the dancers so close and without opera glasses, but you lose the patterns and the sense of the depth of the stage. So for me it's a treat but certainly not an ideal.

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3 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

Yes - I've sat there (row D in central section and B in side section) a few times in recent years (very kind gifts from my sister!) and I've been shocked to realise that there is hardly any rake.

 

I assume you mean C rather than D, as D is standing (and has a perfectly good view).

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19 hours ago, jm365 said:

As a regular in the Amphi -  though further back - I suggest you bring opera glasses.  They do help for close ups, though the general view is great.

 

This! I've sat in the front of the amphi once and even though I could make out facial expressions I would still want to bring opera glasses for more 'HD'. I've also been in stalls circle (standing) and to be honest, perhaps controversially, I found the view better from front row amphi. It depends where you are in the stalls circle of course, but closer to the stage you're at the side which I don't like for ballet. And if you go further back actually I would say the view is comparable to front of amphi to be honest. 

 

I think the amphi is great - you get to see all the patterns, and I've never had an issue with someone blocking my view as it's excellently raked. (slight exception if someone actively leans heavily forward but you can have a polite word.) I've only ever sat in a relatively central amphi seat though so can't comment on the sides. It depends if you prefer to be closer and off-centre or further back but able to see everything (smaller). 

 

I find opera glasses good not just for the obvious 'close ups' but also to help me focus as sometimes even if I'm really enjoying myself the mind can wander, so would highly recommend getting some if you're intending to go regularly. I think unless you have absolutely excellent eyesight and or can always afford to sit in the first few rows of the stalls they probably would always add something to your experience. 

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Also to note I mainly sit middle amphi and to be honest for the prices of some shows (like sleeping beauty!) I personally don't think it's worth paying quite a lot more to sit at the front as opposed to the middle, as I still require opera glasses for faces anyway. But others will of course disagree.

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If money is no problem, then go for Grand Tier rather than Stalls Circle because the rake is much better.  If not, try Stalls but not the first six rows.  I like K or L or somewhere around there.  For some ballets - Bayadere for instance, I prefer to be higher up and would go for Balcony or Ampi because you want to see the patterns, but for SB I would recommend going closer.

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1 hour ago, RuthE said:

 

I assume you mean C rather than D, as D is standing (and has a perfectly good view).

 

Oh dear! So sorry, I was talking about the stalls themselves - can't remember how they describe them (just remembered - Orchestra Stalls). (I'm very unfamiliar with the lower sections of the ROH!). I thought that was the section bangorballetboy was referring to. Many apologies.

 

Edited by bridiem
Added name of section

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41 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Oh dear! So sorry, I was talking about the stalls themselves - can't remember how they describe them (just remembered - Orchestra Stalls). (I'm very unfamiliar with the lower sections of the ROH!). I thought that was the section bangorballetboy was referring to. Many apologies.


It’s a relevant point, though. Rows B to E in the Orchestra Stalls are to be avoided as the rake begins at row F.

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1 hour ago, penelopesimpson said:

For some ballets - Bayadere for instance, I prefer to be higher up and would go for Balcony or Ampi because you want to see the patterns, but for SB I would recommend going closer.


Many of the Balcony seats also offer poor value for money because of the insufficient rake. There are however some excellent ones - the central block of row A (though this is expensive) and at mid-price, the loose seats in row B (B25-30 on the left and B57-62 on the right) which can be removed to create wheelchair spaces. The latter are great value for money and it’s almost impossible for the people in front to obstruct the view. They also have the advantage of not being released for sale until the ROH has finished dealing with priority wheelchair bookings, so are an excellent option if you missed the day the performance first opened for booking.

Edited by RuthE
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26 minutes ago, RuthE said:


It’s a relevant point, though. Rows B to E in the Orchestra Stalls are to be avoided as the rake begins at row F.

 

You wonder then why the pricing goes up at row D?! It's really misleading. People around me last week (in rows D and E) were all saying that there wasn't enough rake (or any rake?). At those prices it's ridiculous.

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20 minutes ago, RuthE said:


Many of the Balcony seats also offer poor value for money because of the insufficient rake. There are however some excellent ones - the central block of row A (though this is expensive) and at mid-price, the loose seats in row B (B25-30 on the left and B57-62 on the right) which can be removed to create wheelchair spaces. The latter are great value for money and it’s almost impossible for the people in front to obstruct the view. They also have the advantage of not being released for sale until the ROH has finished dealing with priority wheelchair bookings, so are an excellent option if you missed the day the performance first opened for booking.

 

I am never sure when the loose 'priority wheelchair' seats in the balcony are publicly released. Is there a formula that is followed or is it random?

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18 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:

 

I am never sure when the loose 'priority wheelchair' seats in the balcony are publicly released. Is there a formula that is followed or is it random?

 

Completely random, as far as I can tell.  I've known them be released very early, very late, and everything in between.  Not that I've bothered looking recently, what with the horrendous prices being charged for them at some times, and my apathy about trying to navigate the productions on the website now.

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2 hours ago, JNC said:

I think the amphi is great - you get to see all the patterns, and I've never had an issue with someone blocking my view as it's excellently raked.

 

Hmph.  I relocated myself to quite an expensive seat (around the £50 mark, I'd guess) in the amphi the other day, and then had to spend most of the ballet leaning to the side because the head of the man in front of me (who I don't think was particularly tall) was blocking my view.  It seems to me that some of the allegedly full view seats are actually worse in that respect (as opposed to how much of the stage you can actually see) than some of the more restricted ones.

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10 minutes ago, alison said:

 

Hmph.  I relocated myself to quite an expensive seat (around the £50 mark, I'd guess) in the amphi the other day, and then had to spend most of the ballet leaning to the side because the head of the man in front of me (who I don't think was particularly tall) was blocking my view.  It seems to me that some of the allegedly full view seats are actually worse in that respect (as opposed to how much of the stage you can actually see) than some of the more restricted ones.

 

Oh that's a shame! I've never had this issue in the amphi before...but I do tend to stick to the central section which I'm not sure makes a difference? Was he blocking your view even sat 'normally' (by which I mean not leaning excessive forward or to the side or other out of the norm)?

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49 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

You wonder then why the pricing goes up at row D?! It's really misleading. People around me last week (in rows D and E) were all saying that there wasn't enough rake (or any rake?). At those prices it's ridiculous.

 

I've never quoted myself before! I got so annoyed by this after posting this comment that I've now emailed the ROH about it.

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3 hours ago, JNC said:

 

Oh that's a shame! I've never had this issue in the amphi before...but I do tend to stick to the central section which I'm not sure makes a difference? Was he blocking your view even sat 'normally' (by which I mean not leaning excessive forward or to the side or other out of the norm)?

 

Yes.  It was on the "inside" of the side block.

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5 hours ago, RuthE said:


It’s a relevant point, though. Rows B to E in the Orchestra Stalls are to be avoided as the rake begins at row F.

before the big refurbishment my seat of choice was front row stalls. No heads,in the way, perfect view of dancers, feet and all. I think after the refurbishment they 'improved' the rake in the stalls so that now you can only see from knees upwards in the first few rows. And the improved rake means that the last couple of times of the stalls are higher, meaning that if you get a centre stalls circle ticket you have to hope and pray that you don't get someone talk in the back row of the stalls. I noticed, when buying my horribly expensive ticket for the Bolshoi that some tickets which were charged at Premium prices were advertised as possibly having a slightly restricted view.

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After reading this discussion it seems that the first few rows of orchestra stalls aren’t that great if you want to have a clear view not blocked by someone’s head. 

 

Why do people pay top tier prices for these? Being close to the dancers must be lovely, but I actually wouldn’t want me o pay even half of what those seats cost if someone’s head is going to be in the way! Or is it only if you get a very very tall person in front of you that it’s a problem? 

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1 hour ago, JNC said:

After reading this discussion it seems that the first few rows of orchestra stalls aren’t that great if you want to have a clear view not blocked by someone’s head. 

 

Why do people pay top tier prices for these? Being close to the dancers must be lovely, but I actually wouldn’t want me o pay even half of what those seats cost if someone’s head is going to be in the way! Or is it only if you get a very very tall person in front of you that it’s a problem? 

 

I only started going to the ROH last year and I sat where I’d normally sit when I go to the theatre in Bath ie the stalls, I soon realised that even sat in a row B aisle seat the one person in front of me was blocking the view, and I remember spending much of the intervals of my first few trips trying to work out how much of the ballet could be seen by the people sat in seats further back costing even more than mine.

My final two uses of stalls seat B7 were actually fantastic as the same short woman was sat in front of me both times....clearly a Yuhui fan too 🙂 I could see everything (except the dancers feet) but I’ve no plans to ever sit in the stalls again now I’ve discovered the stalls circle. 

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1 hour ago, Rob S said:

My final two uses of stalls seat B7 were actually fantastic as the same short woman was sat in front of me both times....clearly a Yuhui fan too 🙂 I could see everything (except the dancers feet) but I’ve no plans to ever sit in the stalls again now I’ve discovered the stalls circle. 


Back in 2012-14 I went through a phase of more-than-occasionally treating myself to quite expensive seats (before I increased my mortgage, since which I’ve been almost entirely relegated to Stalls Circle Standing). I sat in B7 for my first-ever Giselle - Osipova’s first with the RB - and it was utterly ruined by the man in front of me leaning to the right. I couldn’t see a thing throughout Act 1. House management reseated me in the interval to Row A of the Stalls Circle.

 

To he fair, I’ve had a lovely view from the equivalent aisle seat in Row E, and it’s opposite number, on a couple of occasions.

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Thanks everyone for your feedback!

I went with Amphi seats row D in the central section. I will see about opera glasses and hopefully it will be a first great experience at the ROH!

 

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