Buying symphony tickets is such a pain in the ass no matter where you go. The price of tickets can vary so widely, anywhere from ten bucks to hundreds of dollars.
A lot of factors plays into the price of a symphony ticket. It’s said that back in the day, it was more important to be seen at the symphony than to actually see the symphony. That’s why some theatres in Europe have boxes and seats where you can’t even see the stage.
Nowadays, we’re more sophisticated though, right? Ehh, maybe. Obviously, everyone who goes to the symphony today wants to hear the music. That’s important. How well the music will reach your ears will play a factor in your ticket price. But what seems to play an even bigger part in the cost of the ticket is how well you can see the orchestra. Otherwise, why would a ticket in the very front row on the ground cost $50 and the one in the back balcony cost $20? The sound in that front row is going to be terribly unbalanced. But hey, you’ll get a good look at the flailing conductor and first violinists!
If you’re like me, you’re not really wondering what the “best” seat is (as determined by the market and the illusions of value to people today), you’re wondering what the best value seat is.
Google doesn’t always have the answer to this question. So I experimented at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and discovered what the best value seat is for the price.
Here’s what I learned…
So I attended an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert at the Alliance Theatre for the first time this weekend. I intended to get a student ticket for this concert, which meant I had to show up to the box office in person a couple hours before the concert. I got there a bit late though, and all the student tickets were gone.
There was one general admission ticket left: one in the last row of the top balcony. It seemed like a great opportunity to experiment and see if the cheap-o tickets would ever be worth buying. I didn’t have much to lose. I was interested in the performance, but not overly excited for it. And if the seat was really that bad, I could just leave during intermission. So I handed over $22 and got the ticket for the last seat in the last row of the top balcony.
I wasn’t just surprised when I got to the venue that night, I was delighted. The Alliance Theatre isn’t like a football stadium, or even Carnegie Hall. It’s small and really well designed. The acoustics at the back of the top balcony were top-notch. And I could actually see the orchestra AND the soloist! The only problem I had was when the soloist came back on stage at the end of the performance and announced his encore without a microphone. I don’t have a clue what he played. It sure sounded nice though!
Let it be known, my fellow classical music enthusiasts: you don’t gotta pay hundreds of dollars for those symphony tickets in Atlanta. The back of the balcony will do just fine!
This is what the view from my seat looked like.