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Sections of the Theater

The Orchestra. The main floor of the theater is called the Orchestra. This can get confusing if you’re going to an orchestra concert and your seat is in the Orchestra. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be seated onstage with an instrument in your hands! In some venues this area is called the Stalls.

Balconies. In some theaters the balconies have special names like Loge, or Founders’ Circle, or Dress Circle. Sometimes the front part of a balcony has one name and the back part of the same balcony has another name. These names, and what they mean, are different in every theater.

Boxes. Boxes are small booths for a few people, usually located in one of the lower balconies. Some outdoor amphitheaters have boxes close to the stage. Boxes may have extra privacy. Not all theaters have them.

Standing room. In some theaters, you can buy a cheaper ticket that entitles you to stand in the back, behind the last row of seats. If you’re hardy, this can be a great way to see operas.

Special seating. Occasionally, when the performing group is small and the audience is big, extra chairs are set up on the stage, surrounding the musicians. If you like to watch performers up close, this can be a great place to sit.

Some concert halls are designed for this kind of wraparound audience; they have permanent seating behind the musicians.

Some theaters provide spaces for wheelchairs. Call the box office or the theater to arrange access; space may be limited.

Visual obstructions. Some theaters have a few seats with only a partial view of the stage. Maybe there’s a handrail or a pillar in the way, or maybe the architect was a nut case. These obstructed seats are sometimes extra cheap.

Introduction to Classical Music
  Music Categories
  Musical Instruments
  History of Classical Music
  Discover the Classics
     Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol. 3 | Vol. 4

Glossary of Musical Terms

A-Z of Opera
  Synopses of Opera
  Index of Operas by Composer
  Opera Libretti

How To Enjoy A Live Concert
  A Note from the Author
  The Listener's Job Description
  Part 1: Before the Concert
  Choosing a Concert 
Kinds of Concerts 
Styles of Presentation: Formal, Informal, and Beyond 
Buying a Ticket
Sections of the Theater 
Getting Ready 
Getting There 
  Part 2: At the Concert
  "Concert Manners" 
The Concert Ritual 
Reading the Program 
Instruments of the Orchestra 
Ways to Listen 
Meeting the Performers 
Essential Life Support 
  A Brief Glossary

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