‘The opposite of airlines’: When larger audiences require fewer seats

‘The opposite of airlines’: When larger audiences require fewer seats

Wagner was the worst. Five hours — sometimes more — of squirming in 1932-era seats at the War Memorial Opera House here, sinking into lumpy, dusty cushions, suffering the bulge of the springs and the pinch of the wide armrests, craning for a glimpse of the stage around the head of the tall person one row ahead. “Particularly on a long opera — oh, my God,” said Tapan Bhat, a tech executive and a season-ticket holder at the San Francisco Opera since 1996. When the San Francisco Opera opens Saturday, starting its scaled-back 99th season with Puccini’s “Tosca” after a shutdown of more than a year, those punishing seats will be gone. The opera has used its forced sabbatical to complete a long-planned $3.53 million project to replace all 3,128 seats with more comfortable, roomier ones. And San Francisco is not alone. Theaters,
Wagner was the worst. Five hours — sometimes more — of squirming in 1932-era seats at the War Memorial Opera House here, sinking into lumpy, dusty cushions, suffering the bulge of the springs and the pinch of the wide armrests, craning for a glimpse of the stage around the head of the tall person one row ahead. “Particularly on a long opera — oh, my God,” said Tapan Bhat, a tech executive and a season-ticket holder at the San Francisco Opera since 1996. When the San Francisco Opera opens Saturday, starting its scaled-back 99th season with Puccini’s “Tosca” after a shutdown of more than a year, those punishing seats will be gone. The opera has used its forced sabbatical to complete a long-planned $3.53 million project to replace all 3,128 seats with more comfortable, roomier ones. And San Francisco is not alone. Theaters,