At theatres, seats decide the quality of viewing experience and the same holds true for Sydney Opera House as well.
That’s why, before booking their Sydney Opera House shows, visitors want to know the best seats for viewing the performance.
In this article, we share the best place to sit for the best possible experience in Sydney Opera House’s different halls.
1. Better seats NOT a myth
2. Where are better seats?
3. Best seats in Concert Hall
4. Best seats in Joan Sutherland Theatre
5. Best seats in Drama Theatre
6. The Playhouse
7. The Studio
8. Utzon Room
9. The Forecourt
Better seats at theatres are NOT a myth
During your visit to any theatre, the last thing you want is a seat that doesn’t allow you to see the stage.
Inferior view of the stage is usually caused by architectural elements such as the angle between the seats and the stage, or a beam or a wall that is an integral part of the building’s design.
It could even be because of a production unit stationed right in front of a row of seats.
Such obstructed views were commonplace in the olden theatres, but the modern ones built on better architectural technology avoid these pitfalls.
The current theatre designs also ensure that patrons sitting in different parts of the theatre enjoy the same acoustics.
But having said that, some theatre seats are better than the rest.
And the same holds true for Sydney Opera House as well.
Where are the best seats?
Each part of a theatre offers a different view of the stage, and hence a very different experiences.
When you sit in the first few rows, you get to see the singers and actors up close and hear every word and note.
One of the most significant disadvantages of sitting so close to the stage is getting to see the production in bits and parts.
You can’t experience the scene(s) as a whole because you will have to turn your head to see different parts of the stage.
Sitting too far out is also not advisable, because the singers, actors, the stage props, etc. appear too small and leave your squinting.
The best seats in most of the theatres are the ones right in the center of the house.
The other areas which offer a perfect view of the stage are the first few rows of the center mezzanine, lower balcony, or the dress circle.
Best place to sit at Sydney Opera House
So how does one define the best seats?
When it comes to the best seats in the Sydney Opera House, there can be two ways of looking at them:
– Best seats in terms of value for money
– Best seats in terms of experience
We share this critical information for all the six venues at the Sydney Opera House.
1. Concert Hall
The Concert Hall is the most prominent performance venue at Sydney Opera House.
With 2670 seats, it is also the biggest venue.
Sydney Opera House Concert Hall seating encircles the main stage, offering many viewing angles.
The Concert Hall seats are laid out in three sections – Stalls, Circle and Box.
Concert Hall seats with best view
Since this is a big hall, there can be differing opinion on the seats with the best view.
If you don’t mind spending, we recommend the middle seats in rows D, E, and F.
Seats in the first row of the ‘Circle’ are also a good option.
However, these seats offering a direct view of the stage get sold off fast.
Concert Hall seats with best value
At the Concert Hall, the most value for money seats depends on the show you have opted to see.
If you are in for an Opera, we recommend the box seats next to the theatre because it is more important to have better audio than better visual.
If it is a Ballet or any other such performance you must opt for the middle seats in rows N to S.
These seats aren’t priced high and yet offer decent views of the stage.
2. Joan Sutherland Theatre
Joan Sutherland Theatre is the second biggest venue at Sydney Opera House.
It has 1507 seats which are laid out in three sections – stalls, circle, and box.
The performance-friendly layout helps you get a good view wherever you sit, but then some seats are better than the others.
Seats with the best view
The opinion here is varied because there are so many options, but we recommend seats 22 to 28 in the rows F, G, H, J.
These seats are just the right distance from the stage and right in front of it, offering the best possible view.
Being premium seats, you must shell out a pricey sum for the show tickets.
If you prefer watching your shows from a vantage point, we recommend the front row of the Circle section.
Value for money seats
Thanks to the unique design of Joan Sutherland Theatre, there are many seats which don’t cost a bomb and yet provide your money’s worth.
In the Stalls section, try to get the middle seats in the S, T and U rows. These are A Reserve and B Reserve seats and hence cost less.
In the Circle section, you can also opt for middle seats in rows F and G.
3. Drama Theatre
Located on the ground floor of the Opera House, the Drama Theatre is much smaller and hosts plays and musicals.
It has 544 seats laid out in an almost-rectangular block format.
The first three rows A, B, and C, can be removed for performances which need additional stage area.
This removal of seats brings down the capacity to 475.
Seats with the best view at Drama Theatre
Since this theatre has a straight-forward seating, the best seats are easy to pinpoint.
You need to leave the first three rows, and book in the middle seats in the next three rows – that is, rows D, E, and F.
These are usually the premium seats, in such a layout.
Value for money seats at Drama Theatre
Since there are not many different types of seats, the cost of the ticket doesn’t vary much.
If you want to save money, we recommend the middle seats at the back of the theatre.
Choose any of the middle seats in the Rows P, Q, R, S or T. They offer a good view of the stage and yet aren’t as pricey as the premium tickets in the front.
The Playhouse is one of the smaller venues in the Sydney Opera House, and hosts show for a younger audience.
It is on the ground floor in the south-western corner of the Opera House.
The Playhouse’s seating plan is very straight forward – everybody sits in the front.
Seats with the best view at Playhouse
The Playhouse is a small theatre, with about 400 seats.
There is hardly any difference between the seats – the only difference is its distance from the stage.
For best viewing experience we recommend you skip the first three rows and book middle seats in Rows E, F or G.
If you will be attending with kids, it is better to book the middle seats in the three rows after that – H, J, and K.
Because of the elevation, your kids won’t have to crane their necks.
Value for money seats at Playhouse
Since this is a small theatre, the price difference between the seats isn’t much.
However, if you do want to get the most bang for your buck we recommend the last three rows – R, S and T.
Even though they offer similar viewing lines, just because they are farther from the Stage, these seats are cheaper.
5. The Studio
The Studio is the most flexible venue in the Sydney Opera House, and it can be changed to meet the requirements of the performances.
During the day The Studio hosts show for kids, and at night it transforms into a place where the world’s best cabaret and circus acts happen.
It can seat around 300 guests.
Because of its flexible nature, it is not possible to provide recommendations on the best seats.
6. Utzon Room
The Utzon Room is the only room entirely designed by architect Jorn Utzon.
It is the smallest venue at the Sydney Opera House can seat 200 seats.
It is not possible to give seat recommendations for the Utzon Room because there is not any difference in the view quality and the pricing.
7. The Forecourt
This venue is located below the iconic white sails of the Opera House and offers a great view of Sydney Harbour and the City.
The Forecourt is the only outdoor performance space in the Sydney Opera House.
Once again, it is not possible to recommend the best seats because this venue has outdoor, flexible seating.
Now that you know the seats offering the best experience, why don’t you check out the ongoing shows at Sydney Opera House.
You can also get a better idea of the interiors by going on a Sydney Opera House tour.
Popular attractions in Sydney
She loves to travel, and when not on the move, she reads about popular destinations or talks to travelers on various forums. She is open-minded, eager, and personable and hence tends towards ‘cultural travels’ which involves the discovery of people and places. She doesn’t like to take photographs when on vacation for she believes in living the moment. Favorite Cities: London, New York, Paris, Rome, Barcelona