Operation opera

Take your pick of the world’s best opera boxes.

07 July 2023


You’ve seen them in Pretty Woman. Bond Villains like to hang out in them and so do Mission Impossible assassination targets. Opera boxes. It’s where royalty sits. They’re the boxes that stick out from the side walls separating the haves from the have-nots.

While the boxes were for the upper class initially, it was created as a private space within a public space. It marked a sort of coming together of the classes rather than watching performances in private homes.

The opera box is the epitome of social status. So pack your jewels and head for one of our top five opera boxes.


Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) Vienna

The circle box for the annual Vienna Opera Ball costs upwards of EUR20,000. Carpeted in crushed red velvet, with crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the box features a table with pressed white linen that will seat twelve. The boxes look out over the ballroom and there’s even a catering service.


Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Box is another box lined with red velvet and serving up divine views of the stage and the orchestra. Behind the box are a private dining room and a private Victorian water closet dating back to 1858.

If you can’t get tickets to the royal box, the Grand Tier Box is the next best thing – it’s on the same level and features similar trimmings to the Royal Box.


Teatro alla Scalla, Milan

La Scala is a world-famous opera house located in Milan. It opened on August 3, 1778, hosting Mozart’s arch rival’s Europa Riconosciuta by Antonio Salieri and was originally called the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala

The boxes here are spread over a variety of floors and are again encased in red. Think red curtains, red silk wallpaper and red upholstered seating.

Boxes can be booked privately for parties of between four and six. Unusually no food is available in the VIP spaces so you have to make do with the foyer bars. The box in the Arturo Toscanini section has a bar just outside.


Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Italy

The Teatro de San Carlo was inaugurated in 1737, and is said to be the oldest working theatre in the world. The boxes are spread over six levels. They hold up to eight people and again they are all clad in royal red fabrics.

The Royal Box is fronted by a huge ornate gilded crown and is the box to reserve.


Grand Opera House, Belfast

The Grand Opera House in Belfast offers boxes with gilt fronts and dressed in crushed red velvet. The Irish love good hospitality and this shows because in these boxes you are offered canapes and chilled drinks. When the lights go down, a box of luxury chocolates appears.

During interval, a dedicated wait staff will provide ice cream. Definitely an experience.



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