ORANGE COUNTY, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Considered Orange County’s biggest cultural success in 20 years, opening to worldwide media hoopla and celebratory galas focusing on its unprecedented acoustics and design, the $235 million Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall has now come under fire from its most important critics: ticketbuyers.
Patrons of the new concert hall, designed for superior audio quality rather than comfort, have been increasingly disappointed by irritating seating arrangements and poor sightlines toward the stage from many areas, including pricey personal boxes.
“I was flabbergasted when I saw what was supposed to be my box,” Thomas Gallaugher of Huntington Beach told the Orange County Register after attending his first Pacific Symphony pops concert at the venue. Expecting plush, comfortable seating, Gallaugher found stiff, unfixed chairs instead: “In my opinion, they were little more than conference room seats.”
Upon sitting, Gallaugher and his party found that their view of the stage was impaired, and were forced to lean over the railing to see the performance. After complaining to theater personnel, he was moved to the orchestra section. He has since transferred his entire season package to the orchestra section, but was forced to forgo his Friday night series for the Saturday night performances.
Other problems at the facility include an air-conditioning system that seems to work far too much, or not at all, according to the paper. Some exits are still not functional, so patrons were forced to squeeze into tight hallways to leave the theater. Other problems that may take longer to solve include limited access to the top tier for patrons with disabilities.
Patrons have always registered complaints including lack of legroom at all seating areas, hard benches rather than plush seats in some areas, and even that the music was too loud.
Dean Corey, executive director of the Philharmonic Society, has said the group has received 50 to 60 formal complaints following performances.
Some patrons have even considered forgoing their subscriptions next season, and venturing to the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall instead. One ticketholder, Janet King of Cypress, told the paper that her husband came up with a solution to fix all of the hall’s problems:
“He says everything from the floor on up should be torn out or bombed.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers