Thursday, December 21, 2006


The New York Times is running an article today on cheap seats (standing room and rush tickets) at the Met. Nothing in there concerns me, because I don't live in New York and I buy my tickets long in advance. But this passage made my blood boil, reminding me of what happened on Monday night:

The rush tickets do not buy the best seats in the orchestra. They tend to be on the extreme left and right of the hall, or in the back, but as I found at a weekday performance of “Idomeneo,” quick moves can greatly improve one’s station. I was in seat P33, far stage right, and just beginning to sink into my chair when the lights started to go down.

All at once people around me darted out of their seats like horses at Saratoga, heading for unoccupied spaces closer to the center aisle. Caught off guard, I was only able to move two seats in. But with each intermission I moved a few more, until I was most definitely in one of the best seats in the house, and I enjoyed the opera tremendously.

Moving closer to the center aisle is fine. But moving from your seat in the boonies to the seat right next to or right in front of mine is not OK, especially if you a) have a remarkably large head, b) talk during the opera, c) read the program with the light from your cell phone, or d) wave your arms to the music. On Monday night I was subjected to the atrocious etiquette of seat-hijackers.

If the Met allows this shuffling, all I can really say is that if people have the guts to do it, more power to them. The two seats to my right were empty, and I should have moved down, or into one of the empty seats in front of me. But really, things were getting out of hand. Thankfully, when reflecting on performances I have attended, I generally don't remember my neighbors' bad behavior.

The bottom line: people attend live performances, so if you attend live performances, you just have to deal with people. And people are people.

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