When looking for a silver lining in the dark houses of our performing arts sector, we found good news surfacing recently from our friends at San Francisco Opera (SFO).
According to SFO spokesmen, the War Memorial Opera House is getting a major makeover with new seats while closed during the COVID-19 venue closure.
In collaboration with the San Francisco Ballet and the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, the previously planned seat replacement project originally scheduled for summer 2021 will now take place over a 14-week period between September 2020 to January 2021.
This is the final phase of seat replacements within the historic Beaux-Arts theater that serves as home to both companies as well as a venue for numerous Bay Area and visiting organizations.
For this final phase of the project, all seats in the Orchestra, Grand Tier, and Dress Circle sections of the War Memorial Opera House will be replaced, improving comfort and sightlines in the auditorium. The creation of new accessible seating areas is also included in this final phase, furthering the organizations’ commitment to maximizing accessibility for all patrons.
While preserving the historic integrity, beauty, and acoustics of this cultural landmark, improvements in the theater will include new custom seats, replacing the seats original to the 1932 building (maintenance on these seats over the years has included reupholstering and some renovation to the Orchestra section chairs).
The new seats, designed to reflect the aesthetics of the Opera House, will have greater leg room, be positioned at a more comfortable height, and will reflect the latest in ergonomic support.
But will they keep some of the more anxious patrons from continually fidgeting during the performance?
That’s a question to be addressed in a later posting.