You get a better class of audience in the gods at the Royal Opera House, and its cheaper (although that is a comparative term). I booked late for Rusalka and ended up in R77. If you were standing on the stage, and you bend down then its the seat right at the back on the left. You can see it in the picture and if you want the wider perspective then take a look at the seating plan. Actually its one of those seats you look out for with a late booking as it has lots of extra leg room and storage space behind. The downside is you need opera glasses to see anything, you really need a head for heights and you can't see the surtitles. The latter does not normally trouble me, I'm dubious about their value for most works, but in the case of Rusalka one of the delights is the blending of poetry with music so I missed them.
To come back to my opening line. I've sat in the stalls and the circle, although never a box but I normally head for the Amplitheatre. Cost is a factor, I go to the opera a lot, but the real reason is you get people who really want to be there for the opera not for social position. Now I know this is not universally true but in the more expensive seats there are always a scattering of people who are there to be seen not to see and hear. In the gods no one is fussed what you are wearing. Sweet paper fetishists, wisperers and figeters are handled by social pressure mixed with contempt and there is always a good conversation to be had in the interval(s). In anything, not just opera you want to be with people who care, who are knowledgable (or seeking knowledge) and have passion.
As to the opera, the music and the singing was outstanding, the staging terrible. The ROH could learn a lot from the more innovative approach to the same opera in the Pourtney production for the ENO some decades ago.
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I gave an opening address last Friday at ScanAgile 2012 on the general subject of ...