04 Mar 2021

Where Should I Sit at Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre? 

By Robert Bedont 

So, you’ve taken the plunge. Your music loving friend or family member has convinced you to come with them to the  JQL Capitol Theatre to experience live opera for the first time, and they ask you: “where do you want to sit?” And you know exactly what to say because you know what section of the theatre is the best for the experience you’re looking for. Because you will have read this article where I walk you through the pros and cons of every seat in the house.

The Grand Tier

If you want to be among the movers and shakers of the Wasatch Front, then the Grand Tier is the place for you. This section is the first section of the upper level and provides an incredible view of the stage,and the orchestra pit. The down side is that these seats are rather pricey, and there is very little leg room, but it’s almost like being a character in the opera!

Box Seats

Those of you who enjoy seeing behind the scenesand like a little extra leg room want to sit in the Box Seats. These seats are on the wings of the auditorium directly above the orchestra pit and the chairs in the boxes are moveable to provide a little flexibility. From here you can see the stage, orchestra pit (including a great view of the conductor), as well assome of the action happening just off stage. The downsidesare thatyou can’t always see all of the onstage action due to the proscenium and the sound is a little unbalanced. BUT,if you live for theatrical productions, this is a fun place to sit. 

Orchestra Front

My suggestion if you’re a first-time opera goer is the main level closest to the stage called the Orchestra Front. From here you have a good view of the stage and you’re relatively close to the orchestra and vocalists so the sound is quite good. These seats also have more leg room than most of the theatre due to a recent renovation. The only drawback is that you may need to look up to see the supertitles.

Orchestra Back

My favorite place to sit is the Orchestra Back section. Similar to the Orchestra Front, there is plenty of leg room and a good view of the stage. In my opinion the best acoustics are here, especially if you are close to the side walls.

Mezzanine or Balcony

The Mezzanine is great for people who like people watching (you’ll have a nice view of both the stage and the socialites of the Grand Tier) and love good acoustics. The music is best heard about ½ to ¾ of the way back. (Insider tip: try sitting at the top of the mezzanine near one of the side walls sometime. The acoustics there are remarkable in my opinion, a great blend of the orchestra and best clarity of the voices and diction).  From here you get a great perspective of the staging and set—it can really change the way you look at the opera. Also the super titles are easy to read from up there. However, the leg room is not great. The recent seating renovations could not include the mezzanine, so if you have long legs, request aisle seats!

Regardless of where you sit, make sure you come early and listen to Carol Anderson’s presentation before the show. There you’ll learn a little about the show you’re about to see, and get some hints about what to listen and watch for throughout the show. You should also plan to attend the post-performance Q&A with Christopher McBethIt’s a wonderful way to process and deepen your enjoyment of the experience, and you will likely get to meet at least one of the cast members who Christopher invites to join him.


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