La Scala balconies warning

Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:42 AM
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La Scala balconies warning

My parents and I went to the ballet at La Scala on New Year's Eve. The performance was excellent, but that's not what I want to talk about. Instead, it's about seats and seat selections in the balconies.

There are some threads about this, but most are a little old, and there were some speculations that after the renovations, things could be better. Well, this was my first time at La Scala, but I can't imagine things being much worse, at least for the seats.

First, like reports from before, balcony seats are accessed from the side entrance next to the museum. Don't go in the front doors. There's a elevator, and the stairs aren't bad. The balcony reception also isn't bad - with a bar, multiple coat checks and a foyer to stand and chat, etc. It doesn't feel "cheap", except you can't get to the lower levels.

There were three of us, and there's no way to get three seats together via the website or phone system. [I've posted a seperate thread about this 2 months ago, and I've even called Italy to confirm.] So, my parents got 2 seats together on the 2nd Balcony to the side, on the first row; while I got a seat on the 1st Balcony in the back, on the 2nd row. Well, while the cost of the tickets are the same, our experiences were entirely different, and here's why:

While the seat themselves are all the same - very very narrow with no armrest - the front row have seats in triplets, seperated by columns on each side. On the 2nd row, seats are in a very tight group of 7. The center one sees nothing but the column in front!!! And even other ones will likely have the view severly obscured by the person in front. For my seat, basically the center 40% of the stage was blocked by the head and shoulders of the person in front.

There's also a third row in the 1st Balcony which is slightly elevated, behind the corridor. I don't know how bad the view was back there, but many of the poeple in those seats instead stood behind me throughout the ballet.

My parents got the 1st row on the side on the 2nd balcony. While they could only see about 85% of the stage if leaned forward, or about 50% if sat back, they really enjoyed whatever view they have back there. And I would also be happy if I were on the first row, despite the narrowness of the seats.

A 2-hr ballet may be tolerable, but I would have left my seat and found somewhere else to stand if it were a 3.5-hour opera.

So, my recommendations is that only get the Balconies if the website assigns you the first row. Otherwise, spend more for something downstairs or in a box.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:22 PM
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But be careful of the boxes, too! We once got tickets at the box office and got two seats in a box right next to the stage. They were the two front seats...thank goodness. People who purchased the two seats behind us left because the sight lines were so bad.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:30 PM
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This sort of thing is also a problem with La Fenice.

La Fenice in Venice has balcony seats with no view of the stage, also with a separate entrance. However, once inside, you could mingle with the general population. On the plus side for La Fenice, these seats with no views were individual, plush chairs, so very comfortable and there was no sense of being crammed in.

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