Are you unsure about how to act, what to wear or what you are going to see at the Opera? You are not the only one! Many others, students and adults, are nervous about their first trip to the opera. Read the truth behind some of the most popular opera myths and see if they answer some of your questions about the opera as well!
MYTH #1 OPERA IS BORING AND STUFFY.
Not true! Operas tell some of the most interesting, scandalous, and beautiful stories of all time. It is not unusual to find love triangles, murders, fatal illnesses, and messages from beyond the grave. It’s like Days of Our Lives set to music!
MYTH #2 OPERA IS SUNG IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE SO I WON’T UNDERSTAND THE STORY.
We can help! It is true that many operas, like Cinderella , are sung in languages other than English. Since most people in our audience do not speak Italian, we project English translations, called supertitles , of the opera on screens above the stage. This way, you can follow along even if you do not understand the language. You also can read the synopsis of the opera before you arrive. Knowing the story will also help you follow along.
MYTH #3 I NEED TO WEAR A TUXEDO OR A BALL GOWN TO THE OPERA.
While many people like to dress up when they go to the opera, it is definitely not required. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable, but remember that it is a special event and you may want to wear something a little nicer than ripped jeans and a sweatshirt!
MYTH #4 IF I’M A FEW MINUTES LATE, NO ONE WILL CARE. AFTER ALL THE OPERA IS SO LONG, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF I MISS THE FIRST FEW MINUTES.
You don’t want to miss the beginning! At most opera houses, the ushers will not seat you if you arrive after the opera has begun, as it is disturbing to the rest of the audience and the performers. If you arrive late, you may need to wait until after the first act before you can enter the hall. And a lot happens in the first act!
HERE ARE A FEW MORE TIPS TO MAKE YOUR TRIP TO THE OPERA MORE COMFORTABLE.
Remember: the opera is a live performance. You can hear the performers on stage and that means they can hear you too! Please refrain from talking or whispering during the opera. It is distracting to others around you as well as to the singers. Please do not leave your seat during the performance. This performance of Cinderella will be one hour with no intermission.
If you have them, please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beeping watches and anything else that may go “beep” in the night!
Please do not take photographs or video or audio recordings of the performance.
After the orchestra has tuned, the auditorium will become quiet. The conductor, or maestro, will then enter the pit. It is acceptable (and appreciated) to applaud the maestro’s entrance. After all, he/she worked very hard to bring this performance to life!
If you like what you have seen and heard, let the performers know! It is okay to applaud at the end of songs, called arias, and at the end of a scene. If you really liked what you heard, call out “bravo” (to the men on stage), “brava” (to the women) and “bravi” (for all on stage). And of course, a standing ovation is always welcome!