Know Before You Go


What should I wear to the opera?
The opera is the one special place where you can really dress up and be glamorous while stopping in to a local eatery to really make a night out. Cocktail dress or flattering “dressy” attire is usually the norm for evening performances, while Sunday matinees generally see more casual sport jackets and dresses. Sportswear, tennis shoes and baseball hats are discouraged- Chase field is the next block over. Your opera experience is what you make of it – you’ll fit in with Arizona Opera’s patrons in everything from Birkenstocks to Blahniks!

Don’t over do it on the cologne and PLEASE! do not become intoxicated before or during the opera. (Coffee is available for purchase in the lobby.) Opera can be dramatic, but it’s audience should not behave as such.

How will I understand what people are singing?
English translations of the lyrics (surtitles) are projected on a screen above the stage as they are sung. Also a full synopsis of the opera is provided online and in the evening’s program.

Can I bring kids?
Generally, opera is better suited to older kids because the stories often contain adult themes and following the surtitles can be difficult for new readers. Sometimes Arizona Opera offers operas sung in English (such the productions of The Merry Widow and Hansel & Gretel) that are more kid-friendly. When bringing a child to the opera, it is helpful to explain the story in advance and instruct them on proper audience behavior. Arizona Opera’s Community Night at the Opera (final dress rehearsal) may be better suited for entire families. These rehearsals are a good way to ease children into enjoyment of a full-fledged production. For more information, click here.

How long does the opera last?
Running times vary per opera, but many clock in between 2-3 hours in length, like most Broadway musicals. For time estimates for the coming season, click on the opera you are interested in. Show the singers love! We know the parking lot gets busy, but please stay and show the artists you appreciate their hard work.

Is there intermission?
Yes. Arizona Opera has two intermissions for most three-act operas, and a single intermission for two-act operas.

What if I’m late?
We’d love to hold the curtain for you, but if you arrive late, we will not be able to seat you. Have a glass of wine and enjoy Act I on the televisions provided in the lobby and we’ll get you in at a suitable interlude in the opera (often after the overture, but sometimes not until intermission).  Hey, it’s better than missing the whole thing! You can follow the onstage action from video monitors in the lobby while they wait to be seated.

When should I clap?
At the end of big arias and, of course, at the final curtain call. Feel free to shout out “Bravo!” (for a male performer), “Brava!” (for a woman) or “Bravi!” (for an ensemble) – singers love an appreciative audience!

Any thing else I should know?
Please remain quiet from the time the orchestra starts (the overture is part of the opera, too!) so that everyone around you can enjoy the music. Don’t open candy or gum wrappers, talk, use your cell phone or pager during the performance. Be sure to turn off your watch alarm and phone when you enter the theater.
There is plenty of opportunity to chat with people during intermission. Please do not sing along, tap in time, get up and move around or try to read your program while the performance is in progress – it’s really distracting to the people around you!
Opera is full of romantic music but when you lean your heads together to snuggle, it can block the view of the person behind you.