What is it?
Why, I am glad SO you asked!
Supposedly, they are air conditioning vents. Why the heck would you put an AC vent under each and every seat, right where the butt hole resides?
To keep everyone’s butt cool?
But I have my other theory….
There is this thing called the gastrocolic reflex. When the stomach distends with a meal, it sends a signal to the colon to make room because more shit is coming down the pipeline.
Because of how late in the evening the opera takes place, people often eat before hand. What do you do when you need to poo? You start to fart. How old is the opera crowd, on average? Old.
Therefore, operas = old farts.
I can say this because I am one of them.
Now, people who go to operas generally have lots of money. Rich people don’t like farts. Awful smells are very disturbing to their sensibilities. So when you are designing an opera to seat lots of rich people what do you do? You integrate a ventilation system that blows away their farts.
That being said, I sat on the second row yesterday with my kids during an opera aria mashup performance for families. I savored that second row, as it will likely never happen again in my real life. These family things cannot make the opera much money and I am certain that there is not much fame and fortune to be had for performers who do them, but I am grateful, oh so grateful. My son began belting out “La donna e mobile” from Verdi’s Rigoletto as the tenor’s voice soared and no one glared at him. My daughter followed the female conductor’s baton and crazy hair with rapt attention. “Mommy, I want to do that!” she whispered.
So here’s a shout out to all of those people who work hard to make the arts come alive for kids. You all make a difference.