12 Questions to Ask Before Going to an Opera
The dates are picked out, the tickets are bought, and you're off to the opera! BUT WAIT! Did you forget anything? Take a quick look at these 12 frequently asked questions to ensure your best experience with the opera!
1. Where is the show?
Some opera companies have their own opera houses where all of their performances are located. However, many companies, like Opera Memphis, change venues for their shows. Sometimes Opera Memphis is at GPAC, sometimes they're at Playhouse on the Square, and sometimes they're in venues that aren't theatres at all like Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Check your tickets or the performance webpages to double check you're headed to the right place before you leave.
2. Where are my tickets?
Your tickets at the time of purchase were either mailed to you, emailed to you, or will be waiting for you at Will Call the night of the performance. If a show isn't sold out, you can also purchase tickets from the Box Office at the door. Lost your tickets? Not a problem. Give Opera Memphis a call and we will resend your tickets right away. 901.257.3100
3. What time should I arrive?
It's best practice to plan on arriving 30-45 minutes before the start of the performance. You never know how traffic or weather may affect your travel, and patrons who arrive after the start of the performance won't be seated until the first appropriate break - often intermission.
Want even more out of the experience? Plan on attending the Pre-Show talk 45-minutes before the opera.
4. IS parking available?
It depends upon the location, but usually, yes. GPAC and Playhouse on the Square both offer onsite parking locations. You can google the performance location plus "parking," and a list of parking options will appear in your browser.
5. How long is the performance?
Performance times vary in length. Some shows are only 45 minutes while others can last as long as 3 1/2 hours. Intermissions take place approximately every 50 minutes. Give the Opera Memphis Box Office a call for specific times. 901.257.3100
6. What should I wear?
You should dress to your comfort level! If this means a tuxedo or evening gown - go for it! If this means jeans and a t-shirt - that's fine too! You will see all kinds and levels of dress at opera events. Consider bringing a jacket or sweater if you tend to be cold. The theatre is often kept on the chilly side so the performers and musicians don't pass out under the hot stage lights.
7. Can I take a selfie?
Of course! But only before the show, during intermission, and after the show. Due to union regulations and copyright laws, please don't take pictures, video, or audio recordings during the performance. In fact, the use of ANY electronic device during the show is strictly prohibited.
8. Is my kid old enough to accompany me?
This is entirely up to your preference and knowledge of your child. If your child can sit through a feature-length movie, they will probably be ok at the opera! Kids naturally love the spectacle of an opera. So, in an effort to encourage that love, we try to program at least one opera per season that is specifically crafted to be family-friendly. Still unsure if the opera is right for your family? Give the Opera Memphis Box Office a call. 901.257.3100
9. Will I understand what they're singing?
Yes! All of our performances - even those in English - are accompanied by surtitles (subtitles that scroll across the top of the stage). Programs will also include a brief synopsis so you know what's happening during the show.
10. Do I applaud, say "bravo," or both?
Both are completely acceptable! Typically, people applaud at the end of an aria (a song), and at the end of the performance. If you're still unsure, join in when you hear others applauding.
Here is a cheat sheet for when to say BRAVO:
Bravo (BRAH voh) - male singer
Brava (BRAH vah) - female singer
Bravi Tutti (BRAH vee TOO tee) - a whole group of singers
11. Will there be food and drink?
Yes! Concessions are sold before the performance and during intermssion. Items usually available include light snacks, wine, beer, and Coca-Cola products, however, some venues only offer beverages.
12. WHat's the deal with student rush tickets?
Student Rush Tickets are $10 tickets sold in the lobby of the theater beginning one hour before each performance. You must show your valid Student ID to receive student rush pricing, and tickets are CASH ONLY. For more info about these tickets, CLICK HERE.
And there you have it! You're ready for the opera!
Have a question not answered here? Check out our FAQ page, give us a call at 901-257-3100, or email us at email@example.com.