Please be seated: Seattle’s classical venues, and their box seats

Posted on: November 6, 2019

“Nearly everyone asks the same questions when they enter an opera house for the first time: Who sits in those seats, up high on the sides of the theater?” writes Gemma Alexander in Tuesday’s (11/5) Seattle Times. “ ‘Until the mid-19th century’ … says Christina Scheppelmann, general director of Seattle Opera, ‘some boxes were owned by specific families. But also, those families paid to build the theater.’ The boxes often contained two rooms—one for viewing the theater, another for socializing…. Now, ‘boxes are an acoustic tool, and a design tool, to expand seating,’ says Scheppelmann…. ‘Seattle is really lucky in having both a single-purpose music hall and a second, multipurpose hall,’ says Mark Reddington …. principal architect for McCaw Hall and Benaroya Hall in Seattle…. Benaroya Hall, home of Seattle Symphony, plays with the social concept of the box, turning a private seating area into a communal one. At Benaroya, all the upper seating areas provide the acoustic benefits of boxes without the physical separation…. At McCaw Hall, where both Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet perform, two levels of boxes ascend each side of the auditorium, with seats angled toward the stage. Each box has slightly different sound qualities and unique vantage points.”

Posted November 6, 2019

In photo: Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony. Photo by James Holt