"All The World's A Stage" - The World's Finest Opera Boxes
They say that music is the food of love. As with all foods, though, there are gourmet and canteen options. Undoubtedly opera sits at the Michelin end of the scale. With this in mind, we have tailored a list of some of the world’s finest opera boxes and experiences, where you can fill up on the likes of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Verdi and company in the utmost luxury.
Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), Vienna
Book a circle box for the annual Vienna Opera Ball at the Wiener Staatsoper and you will have one of the most prestigious boxes in the opera world at your disposal. Costing 23,600 euros, these boxes are carpeted with crushed red velvet, illuminated by crystal chandeliers and feature a table draped in impeccably pressed white linen that seats 12 people. The boxes look directly out over the ballroom where the opening performances of the Vienna Opera Ball take place. A catering service is also provided directly to the box.
Royal Opera House, London
As the name suggests, the Queen is a regular visitor to the Royal Box at the Royal Opera House in London. The seats here are lined with plush red velvet and serve up prime views of the orchestra and stage. There’s a private dining room behind the box and it offers access to a private Victorian water closet, too. Tickets for this box aren’t available for all performances. The next best thing is a Grand Tier Box, located on the same level and featuring similar trimmings as the Royal option.
Teatro alla Scalla, Milan
National Geographic refers to Teatro alla Scala as ‘perhaps the most famous opera house in the world’. Its boxes are spread between multiple floors and encased in red – red silk wallpaper, red drapes and plush red upholstered seating. Boxes can be booked privately for parties of between four and six. No catering is available in these VIP spaces, however there are several foyer bars for when you get thirsty. If you don’t want to walk far for an interval drink, book your box in the Arturo Toscanini section – there’s a bar just outside.
Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Italy
The Teatro de San Carlo was the passion project of King Charles of Bourbon. Inaugurated in 1737, it is considered to be the oldest working theatre in the world. The theatre shines with the light of dozens of chandeliers and the box seats are spread across six tiers. Each one fits between four and eight people and they are all clad in royal red fabrics. The best seats in the house are to be found in the elaborate Royal Box, which is fronted by a huge ornate gilded crown.
The Bolshoi, Moscow
Fronted by gilded woodwork and secluded from prying eyes by royal red drapes, the boxes at The Bolshoi Theatre are located to the left and right of the stage and seat between six and eight people. From these seats you will be able to get a good view of what is said to be one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, as well as the action on stage. Tickets to shows at the Bolshoi sell out rapidly, so it’s worth following event updates on social media.
Grand Opera House, Belfast
The private gilt fronted boxes at The Grand Opera House in Belfast frame the stage and are dressed in crushed red velvet from head to toe. When you book one of these boxes you will be greeted with canapes and chilled drinks and when the house lights dip, you will have a box of luxury chocolates at hand to nibble on. A luxury ice cream is provided in the interval, delivered by a dedicated member of wait staff.
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Paris Opera, Paris
There are no exclusive boxes at Paris Opera, but that’s no reason to shun one of the most elite opera houses in the world. For a sense of ceremony, book a place on one of the gala evenings, which take place a few times every year. These prestigious events are held to raise money to fund new works of operatic art and involve the showing of a performance created especially for the gala. Tickets range from 1,500 euros to 5,000 euros. The cost includes a large charitable donation, a seat at the performance, a VIP drink, dinner and a mention in the opera’s honorary committee.