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Know Before You Go

Learn the ins and outs of going to the Opera, from "What should I wear?" to "What if I'm late?"


What should I wear to the opera?

The opera is the one special place where you can really dress up and be glamorous, but don’t feel you have to break the bank. Cocktail dress or flattering “dressy” attire is usually the norm for evening performances, while Sunday matinees generally see more casual sport jackets and dresses. 

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 for each performance 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.

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. 

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?

In order not to disturb the performers or the audience, we will seat you in the theater as soon as possible during a pause in the performance.  

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!

Anything 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.

Know Before You Go: Ticket Policies

Box office hours, ticket policies, group sales and special rates are available in our ticket section. To fully enjoy the opera, we encourage you to know before you go.
Find out more about the AZ Opera policies »

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