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No, the Royal box isn't a good view at all, especially for narrative ballet (not that I've sat in it but I have had experience of sitting in a box). the view is too much to the side to get a good all-round view of the action though you would get some good close-ups of the dancers. it is there for the royal family to be seen by all the patrons paying high sums of money for the privilege of attending a 'royal' performance rather than the royal person herself getting a good view. It is her 'working' seat! In my opinion the best view is the front row of the grand tier. You get a superb view there, even the end seats. I speak from experience because I used to belong to the Friends of the Kirov (now Mariinsky Theatre Trust) and when the Kirov visited we got the chance of attending rehersals for £10 a time and we were always shown into the Grand Tier and had a fabulous view. Indeed, a couple of times I did stray into the box nearest the grand tier just to try it out and ended up returning to my original seat in the interval. Even the furthest boxes didn't give as good a view. Front row of the rear Stalls Circle is probably very good too though I haven't tried it.

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I have a ticket to see La Bayadere at the ROH in April as my christmas/ birthday present. My seat is in the balcony A60 but as it is my first time going to the ROH I was wondering how well you can see from there? Being quite short, will I have a good view?

 

Welcome to the Forum Munchkin. Please let us know what you think of the performance when you go.

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When the Queen is on an official visit, I think they curtain off part of the central Grand Tier for her so she can actually see something!

I attended a gala a few years ago in the presence of HM. She sat in the Royal Box, and if I recall correctly (which is becoming less frequent these days), during the interval the flowers were removed from the tier ledge...presumably because they were obstructing what was left of her view!

 

Still, at least she doesn't have to queue for the ladies....

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I happened to be attending a performance of R&J on the day of the Queen Mother's 90th birthday. She was in the Royal Box with a party that included Viscount Linley and Ruth, Lady Fermoy. In the interval the Viscount came back early and the Japanese-looking tourists in the next box leant around the wall and were talking to him!

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You can see the view from the Royal Box for yourself on the Royal Opera House's auditorium tour (not the backstage tour), also the mirror installed to reflect the stage view to those seated behind the front row, installed when Queen Victoria asked her ladies-in-waiting their opinion of the show and discovered they couldn't see it.

 

I have seen Princess Margaret sitting in the front row of the Grand Tier on a private visit - definitely no curtains - and also centre Grand Tier at a gala with Diana, who was then HRH the Princess of Wales. At Dame Ninette de Valois's 90th birthday gala, the Queen sat with her mother and sister in the centre of the Grand Tier. They rose at the end to applaud Dame Ninette and continued to stand, so we in the stalls stood throughout her speech (very entertaining but very long).

 

When I saw the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh use the Royal Box a few years ago (the Royal Ballet's 75th birthday show?), a lot of the audience seemed oblivious to her presence - not when they played the national anthem at the start, everyone stood, but when she returned after the interval and when she left at the end. A sign of the times?

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I see that the performance of Bayadere on 27 April is a matinée at 12.30 pm - very early start. The cast is Lauren Cuthbertson as Nikiya and Nehemiah Kish as Solor with Yuhui Choe as Gamzatti. As far as I am aware this will only be the second time that this cast will have performed the roles at the ROH although this is not to say that the performance will not be a good one and one always expects great things from Lauren. Unfortunately she has been off for some time recovering from an operation on her foot, but one hopes that she will be back in form before April. Regarding the position of your seat, I have sat in most parts of the house in my time and I'd say that A60 is a little too far round the side for my taste. The view is unobstructed in that you have no one in front of you, but as you say that you are quite short you may find your view a little obstructed by the edge of the balcony and may need to lean forward a bit for a clear view of the stage. In my opinion the best seats in the house are in the front row of the centre blocks of the Grand Tier and of the Balcony. The front row of the Amphi is good too, although there is a problem there of legroom for some and it is better to be in a row or two further back. As for the Royal Box, I have sat there too, and although it was a nice experience with a private dining room at the rear, the view is poor and because one is sitting directly above the brass the orchestral sound can be somewhat unbalanced. That is why more often than not when royalty visit the theatre they choose to sit in the centre of the front row of the Grand Tier.

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Further to Wulff's final sentence, above, I have been told that, in days now long gone by, two seats for Royal Ballet performances were routinely reserved in the Grand Tier for the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret and released an hour or so before Curtain Up if they did not plan to attend.

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The cast is Lauren Cuthbertson as Nikiya and Nehemiah Kish as Solor with Yuhui Choe as Gamzatti. As far as I am aware this will only be the second time that this cast will have performed the roles at the ROH

 

Both Cuthbertson and Choe danced Nikiya in the previous run, although Choe hasn't danced Gamzatti before that I know of (I'd have thought it was less suited to her than Nikiya, but we shall see).

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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone know what the view from the ampitheatre slips is like (left view, A30-35). I've never sat in the ampitheatre before, and i've got the opportunity to get some tickets here for upcoming performances. They are officially restricted view. The photo on the ROH website shows a pretty good view of the stage, but I know from other areas of the house that the photos sometimes don't give that an accurate picture. The tickets are so cheap, i'm not expecting much, but just wondered. Cheers

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Hi Chris.  I haven't sat in these seats much, so am possibly not the best person to advise, but I've found them very variable, depending on the production.  For instance I found you miss quite a bit in, say, Romeo & Juliet, but less in Jewels.  I'm also not sure whether there's much advantage to being further in as compared with on the end of that row. 

 

I've also concluded that the camera used for the photos is set higher than my eye level, so that may make a difference, depending on how tall you are.  You always have to allow for the stage being box-shaped: I've always thought it would be fairer to mark the approximate size of the stage in dotted lines on the photo to really give you an idea of how much you miss.

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I've visited the ROH a few times so I thought I would chime in with my views on the seating:

 

Orchestra Stalls - the seats are not raked so you will most probably have a view of the back of someone's head if you are seated anywhere but the front row. This is frustrating.

Stalls Circle - a much better view than in the Orchestra Stalls however you are further away. I wouldn't have considered booking these seats but I started talking to a regular at the ROH and she tipped me off that these were the seats to go for.

Donald Gordon Grand Tier Tall seats - a very good view of the stage you can see above the heads of the people in front of you you are however quite far away

Balcony Box left side- this was for Opera not ballet but you miss about a quarter of the stage depending on where you are situated.

Director's Box - amazing view of the stage and the wings however you will miss about a quarter to a third of the stage action depending upon where you are sitting in the box.

Ampitheatre - I will be able to comment over the summer,if I can manage to get tickets in the ampitheatre.  The one time I managed to book ampitheatre tickets I fell ill and couldn't attend the performance. I am imagining that the same rules apply if you have a seat in the front row you will have a good view, further back unless you are very tall plan to become intimately acquainted with the back of a stranger's head. I could however be wrong and the ampitheatre may be raked more than the Orchestra stalls. 

 

Ampitheatre bar - service fast and efficient, good selection of refreshments, free jugs of water and glasses are situated to the left of the service counter. It's also lovely in the summer to stand  outside and look over Covent Garden Piazza.

 

Floral hall- becomes very busy, I think you can pre-order drinks which I would advise. I always forget to pre-order drinks - if this is possible - and end up five deep at the bar waiting for refreshments. Service however is speedy.

 

Crush Room - no idea I've never utilised it when I'm in the Grand Tier as I always have supposed it to be for dinner reservations and I don't tend to dine at the ROH.

Edited by lartiste
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Thanks for the answers everyone. The tickets would be for Mayerling, and i'm not sure what the stage direction is like. I can get them for about £10, so it's not like i've wasted loads of money if I can't see much, and I can always just listen to the music.

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Hmm, there are lots of important things in Mayerling that happen to the side of the stage, Chris, and I'm not sure you'd be able to see them all from the seats you were thinking of.  I may be wrong, though, because I don't think I've ever sat there for Mayerling.

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I have sat almost everywhere in the Opera House over the years!  Do not be fooled - the low price for the slips is because the view is restricted and the accommodation unbelievably uncomfortable, because you have to twist your body to see anything at all!  I actually had to go for a massage after one visit.  However, in all fairness, I must say that there are people who go regularly - they must be tougher than I am.

 

I am a big fan of the amphitheatre - as long as you have good strong opera glasses and are as near the centre as you can manage.  The seats are steeply raked and I have rarely had the 'head blocking' problem.  Even the cheaper amphitheatre seats are fine, although a long way back.

 

I sat in the Orchestra Stalls yesterday for the Bayadere General, in Row R up against the stalls circle barrier at the left hand side.  No problem, because being there gives you a pretty clear view past the people in front.  It was a bit to one side, but nothing was invisible apart from one or two entries - none of the action.  

 

Given the Opera House's horseshoe shape, any of the seats at any level on the 'straight' part of the horseshoe will have a restricted view - the worse the closer to the stage you get.  I was once in the upper tier of the boxes and had to move as I could see hardly anything at all.  Also, it will vary if you are in the front row of the box or the back.

 

I completely agree - best view of all is the front centre of the Grand Tier.

 

All that said - I hope you have a wonderful time!

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Cheers jm365. To be honest i'm not expecting to see it all and have really comfortable seats with loads of leg room (people that expect first class services for third class prices really get on my nerves), I was just curious how restricted the view would be. I'll find out soon enough.

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Thanks for the info on the ampitheatre jm365 anywhere I don't have to view the back of someone's head sounds good to me and if it is more raked than the Orchestra stalls I will be booking there for the remainder of the Bolshoi performances that I don't yet have tickets for :)

 

chrischris - hope you have a great time! I think those tickets are worth a gamble as there seems to be no hard and fast rules as to where you will find a good seat and a higher price doesn't guarantee the best view either. Even if it is restricted view soaking up the atmosphere at the ROH is great fun.

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I must admit I'm primarily after comfort and didn't realise how little legroom there would be in the amphi. The seats seem smaller and more upright too although this could be partially to do with the lack of armrests between the seats.

 

The rake in the amphi is excellent, where I was in Row E (I think) nobody's head was even remotely in the way. If you don't suffer vertigo, are steady on your feet (I'm not!) and can cope with limited legroom, then the Amphi seats are excellent value.

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I've tried most areas in the ROH and in general I think you pay for what you get but it's true in the Orch Stalls, you can pay top price and if you get tall people in front of you, the vision can be very restricted - very annoying.  Rows H, J, K are probably the best with Row H sides being particularly good as they are over the exits so there is no one in front of you. Be careful if you venture further forward. I think the rake actually goes down in C and D.  The sides are better.

 

Boxes are really disappointing if you are in the 2nd row of seats. I once had tickets for the royal box (top price by the way) and it was dismal for sightlines - it was Sylvie Guillem in Manon and the last tickets available - that's my excuse anyway.

 

I have also sat right at the sides of the Stalls Circle, very near the stage - for Mayerling.  Marvellous close ups of the dancers, but when they committed suicide at the end - we couldn't see a thing, as it happens at the back of the stage. 

 

There is also personal preference. I like to see the dancers' faces close  up, so opt for Orch Stalls (sides are quite good for slighter cheaper seats) . However, argually, a position higher in the theatre enables you to see the corps de ballet at much better advantage. 

 

If you have vertigo - don't go near the Slips or back of Amphi. I once tried to Slips and spent the whole of the 1st act clinging onto my seat and not seeing a thing as I couldn't look over the edge. The back of the amphi is steep and can have the same effect. 

 

The design of the Opera House is generally poor for the spectator as it is so curved, but at least you can see the view when you book your seat - very useful.   

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Ooh yes, I'd forgotten how good the balcony could be for "big" ballets. We had front row balcony seats for the Mariinsky's Swan Lake a couple of years ago and the view of the Swans weaving their magic was marvellous.

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