The Academy of Music’s Seating for Opera

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Academy of Music’s seats have been specifically designed for enjoying opera. Here’s a look at the different sections and what you can expect from each one.

The Academy of Music

In order to choose your seat at the Opera, you must first pick a performance that you would like to attend. After you have done so, you may purchase your tickets online or through the Academy of Music’s Box Office. If you are looking to get the best view of the stage, it is recommended that you sit in the Orchestra section.

The Academy of Music’s Seating

The Academy of Music is an opera house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest surviving opera house in the United States and the oldest concert hall in the country that is still used for its original purpose.

The seating at the Academy of Music has been designed to provide excellent acoustics and views of the stage for all patrons. The horseshoe-shaped auditorium surrounds a central pit, which can accommodate up to 50 musicians. There are four levels of seating, including the Orchestra level (the main floor), the mezzanine, the balcony, and the gallery.

The Parterre

There are four sections in the Parterre: Boxes A – G on the north side and Boxes H – P on the south side. The Parterre is at street level, so it slopes slightly downwards from the back to the front. As a result, the first few rows of seats (1 – 4) in the Boxes are actually higher than the last few rows (9 – 12) in the Dress Circle. This can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your seat and your vantage point.

The Orchestra

The orchestra is divided into sections:
-the front section, where the first violins (primi violini) and second violins (seconds) sit, is called the prima fila or “first row”;
-the middle section (where the violas and cellos sit) is called the mezza fila or “middle row”;
-and the back section, where the double basses sit, is called the fila di fondo or “back row”.

The Dress Circle

The Dress Circle is located on the second level of the seating areas in the Academy of Music. There are a total of six sections in the Dress Circle, four of which are on either side of the Grand Tier boxes. The other two sections are located on either side of the stage. The center seats in the Dress Circle offer the best views of the stage, while the seats on the sides offer a more panoramic view of the entire auditorium.

The Upper Circle

The Upper Circle is the uppermost seating tier in The Academy of Music and offers a less expensive alternative to the premium seating options closer to the stage. Although the views from the Upper Circle can be partially obstructed, seats in this area still provide a good overall perspective of the stage. performances.

The Balcony

The Academy of Music has four levels of seating, the Parterre, the First Balcony, the Second Balcony, and the Third Balcony. The Parterre is the main floor of the theater where the majority of the seats are located. The First Balcony is located above the Parterre and has a few rows of seats. The Second Balcony is located above the First Balcony and also has a few rows of seats. The Third Balcony is located above the Second Balcony and has even fewer rows of seats.

The Different Types of Opera

There are four main types of opera- grand opera, comic opera, lyrical opera, and Chamber opera. Out of these, grand opera is the most popular. It is characterized by large-scale productions with lavish costumes and sets, and often includes a chorus and soloists. Comic opera, on the other hand, is a light-hearted genre that often includes humor and witty dialogue.

Grand Opera

The first and most popular form of Opera is Grand Opera. These are large-scale productions that are performed in ornate theaters. The stage sets and costumes are lavish, and the productions often require a large cast and orchestra. Grand Opera is usually based on historical or mythological stories with larger-than-life characters. Some of the most popular grand operas include Aida, Carmen, La Bohème, and Rigoletto.

Comic Opera

Comic opera is a form of opera in which the plots are humorous, often extending farce or burlesque. Characters typically sing as much as they speak, and the stories often concern love and marriage. In comic opera, the characters usually dress in contemporary clothing, unlike in more serious forms like Grand Opera. Comic opera first became popular in England in the early 1700s with John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728). In Italy, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (“The Mistress turned Maid”) was wildly popular in 1752–1753. France saw several successful comic operas during the late 1700s and early 1800s, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Le devin du village (1752), Nicolas Isouard’s Cendrillon (1800), Étienne Nicolas Méhul’s Les deux jumeaux (1807). These works were extremely popular with both audiences and critics alike.

Lyric Opera

The Lyric Opera is a complex and demanding form of musical theater that is generally characterized by serious subject matter, grandiose sets and costumes, and requires highly trained singers who are able to sing long, complicated arias. In contrast to operetta, another type of musical theater that was popular in the 19th century, lyric opera does not typically include spoken dialogue; instead, the story is advanced through the music and singing.

Over the course of the 20th century, lyric opera became increasingly popular, with large opera houses built in many cities around the world to accommodate the demand for this art form. While there are countless examples of well-known lyric operas, some of the most famous include Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata” and “Rigoletto,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni,” and Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème” and “Madama Butterfly.”

The Different Types of Seating in the Academy of Music

There are four types of seating in the Academy of Music- the floor, the balcony, the boxes, and the gallery. The floor is the most common and the most affordable type of seating. The balcony is the next level up and offers a more intimate experience. The boxes are the most expensive and offer the best views. The gallery is the cheapest and is located at the very top of the theatre.

The Parterre

The Parterre is the main floor of the auditorium, divided in two by a large center aisle. The front section, closest to the stage, is called the Orchestra; the rear section is called the Balcony. The boxes on either side of the Orchestra are also considered part of the Parterre.

The Orchestra

The Orchestra is the biggest seating area in the Academy of Music, and it is where most of the concertgoers will be seated. The Orchestra section is on the main floor of the theater, and it is where the majority of the instruments are placed. The sections in the Orchestra are divided by aisles, and there are four main sections: center, left, right, and rear.

The Dress Circle

The first level of seating in the Academy of Music is the Dress Circle. This is the second level of seating in the main floor where you will find 147 red velvet opera boxes. The boxes are Italian in design and are private areas which each hold four to six people. There are 50 additional seats located on the sides of the Dress Circle level. The views from the Dress Circle are some of the best in the house because you are close tothe stage and have a clear view of everything going on.

The Upper Circle

The Academy of Music has four levels of seating, the Upper Circle being the highest and furthest from the stage. The Upper Circle has 398 red seats which are slightly inclined towards the stage. Thehranium, a 36 seat viewing box, is located on the Upper Circle level as well.

The Balcony

The fourth tier of boxes, numbered from the front of the house, lines the back half of the theater on both sides. In 1857 these were called the back or upper boxes; they became known as the fourth tier in 1867. The current seats are original to 1857, when they were among 1,100 new chairs installed in all parts of the house during an extensive redecoration.

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