There are pros and cons of going to an opening night performance. The biggest reason we decided to have our subscription be mostly opening night concerts has nothing to do with the performance itself. It’s because of the audience. It is nice to sit in a mostly-packed house of opera-lovers like ourselves and be able to be part of an audience that is knowledgable about opera and, more importantly, concert etiquette.
The one time we went to a non-opening-night concert last year, there was barely anyone in the seats, so several audience members decided that it was appropriate to play musical chairs in the empty seats to find the best seat. They started out behind us, moved to the same row as us… decided they couldn’t see well enough, got up, moved two rows up… got up again & did this until they were at the front of our section. Now, had the concert not started yet, this might not have bothered me… but how is this ok when the lights have already gone down and the orchestra is playing?
On Friday night, there was a glut of late-comers… and the users at the Music Center seemed content with letting people into the audience, despite the fact that the familiar “Seville” overture had already started & it was PITCH BLACK and one could barely see row #s, much less SEAT #s. Combine this with a virtually sold-out house… and you have late-comers climbing over people, trying to figure out where their seats are. If you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought a spontaneous “Twister” game had broken out in the Dorothy Chandler.
One group of people totally misjudged where their seats were & began looking for theirs seats on one side, walked THROUGH the middle row (where people were already seated), down the aisle, across the front to the other side, up the other aisle, and back across another row of people, where I can only assume they ended up, if someone didn’t maim them all first.