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Advice please - buying tickets at the ROH


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We have promised our DD tickets for ballet at Covent Garden as part of her Xmas present but never having been are completely at sea as to how to go about buying them ,what they would cost, where to sit and all the other stuff etc. There is no set date for this, it just has to fit in with school and exams .

 

Could someone please offer some advice. ?

 

Thanks

Edited by siana
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I'll kick off, Siana. You've probably found the official website http://www.roh.org.uk/ . There is a help page http://www.roh.org.uk/help to steer you through the process but I would recommend http://www.roh.org.uk/visit/tickets as a good place to start.

 

When it comes to choosing what to see, I ignore the “What's on” link at the top, it's faster to scroll down to the black section at the bottom and click on “Ballet 2012/13”, which takes you to the performance schedule on the page http://www.roh.org.uk/news/201213-season-announced-ballet-and-dance.

From that page you can click through to more detailed information and then book online.

 

The best place to sit is very subjective – and many on this forum prefer to stand but that comes with experience! My feeling is that the music sounds best from the front of the amphitheatre, which is the highest tier of this theatre. You see the patterns of the choreography to full effect but you need to take small binoculars or opera glasses (your own, none for hire nowadays) in order to see facial expressions and costume details. It is steeply raked, so best avoided by anyone susceptible to vertigo, or indeed with a train to catch as it takes ages to exit at the end of the show.

 

The most luxurious view is from the Grand Tier, amongst the corporate guests, but if you choose a “mixed bill”, that is a programme comprising several short pieces rather than one long ballet like “Swan Lake”, the seat prices are considerably cheaper and you are likely to see more of the company's top dancers than in a single full-evening work.

 

Overall, there are seats at hugely varying prices, ease of access, levels of comfort and visibility – even a few non-viewing seats for those interested in only the music. The view from each is shown when you book online but if you can get to the Royal Opera House easily I suggest you go along to the Box Office and talk to the staff, otherwise phone them. They could also advise you on getting hold of cheap tickets as first-time attendees.

 

Whether you book online or in person, beware of the 15th January 2013, which is the first day of public booking for the next batch of performances: there will probably be long queues at the Box Office and heavy traffic on the website.

 

Wherever you decide to sit, the intervals last long enough for you to explore the foyers: make sure you see the photographic displays outside the Orchestra Stalls and Amphitheatre and the lovely chandeliers and mirrors in the Crush Room. If you have the whole day to spare, consider booking the two official tours: the 10 30 am backstage tour sometimes gets you a glimpse of the whole ballet company in class and the auditorium tour promises you the Royal Box – which is usually on sale to the public for performances but has a poor view of the stage.

Happy ballet-going.

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Excellent advice GTL.

 

I like sitting in the stalls but you do need to be aware that they are not very well raked. A couple of years ago I was on the 2nd row and could hardly see a thing because there was a big man sat in front of me. Fortunately in the first interval I bumped into a chum who told me that the seat next to him was empty.

 

Enjoy the experience Siana and please let us know your thoughts when you have been.

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Hello, Siana. I've just edited your title a bit in the hopes of attracting more input from other readers (it also makes things easier in the future if people want to find the thread).

 

If you're a first-timer at the ROH, it's also well worth bearing in mind that they do in fact put on special performances and have special offers for people who have never been before - I believe there are a couple of them in this run of Nutcrackers, for example. I'm not sure where you might find all this information on the new ROH website, so I'd agree that it might be an idea to have a chat to someone at the box office - preferably on a not-too-busy day (I don't think there are any other booking dates coming up apart from public booking, but it's difficult to keep track).

 

Edit: it looks as though this page http://www.roh.org.uk/learning/families might be helpful - even if you don't get tickets to a Welcome Performance I suspect the odd ticket offer might come your way when things aren't selling so well.

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I like sitting in the stalls but you do need to be aware that they are not very well raked. A couple of years ago I was on the 2nd row and could hardly see a thing because there was a big man sat in front of me.

 

The first few rows also seem to be sunk below the level of the stage a bit (hence they are also a bit cheaper than the other orchestra stalls). Better raking of the orchestra stalls seats starts at about row L. Or if you're lucky enough to get an aisle seat looking inward across the aisle then you don't get the heads in front of you problem. But I suspect those seats sell first to Friends before public sale starts.

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^^ I would confirm this - do NOT by front row seats as you cannot see the dancers' feet - what's the point of going to ballet if you can't see the feet??!!! I learned the hard way - Alina and Johann in Fille no less how annoying! I was told by a dancer once to always get seats about 10 rows back in any theatre to get the best view for ballet. Others will disagree but I think it was good advice. To see dancers close to go in the Stalls, to see choreopgraphy go up higher. Enjoy!

Edited by Don Q Fan
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wandering off the topic a little I'd just like to rant about new opera houses that still aren't designed with ballet in mind. We got a brand new opera house here in Toronto five years ago (owned by the opera company, but assuming the ballet would be a tenant, which it is), and they STILL sank the front rows below the stage so you can't see the feet. And the ballet company charges top dollar for those seats in spite of it. It's true, who cares about an opera singer's feet? But they KNEW people would be watching ballet in this theatre. What were they thinking? In a theatre that doesn't have this problem I am happiest in the front row, especially for a story ballet, because I want to get swept up in the action. It always frustrates me that I have to choose between feet and feeling the passion.

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^^ I would confirm this - do NOT by front row seats as you cannot see the dancers' feet - what's the point of going to ballet if you can't see the feet??!!!

 

Three points here. If you're taller than about 5'7, one can see the feet. If, like me, you are shorter, the only time one can't see the feet is when they are touching the stage and at that point (i) the feet generally aren't doing anything interesting anyway and (ii) one should be able to tell exactly what the feet are doing from the rest of the legs. Finally, ballet isn't just about feet and one of the joys of sitting in the front row is obtaining a much more personal enjoyment of the overall ballet.

 

Agree for patterns etc. it's much better to be higher in the house.

Edited by bangorballetboy
Removing unintended emoticon
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