What to Expect at the Opera
Your first visit to the opera is one that you'll never forget. Because it's a new experience you may be wondering what you should expect, wear, do, and more. Here is some information that will make your first visit to Utah Opera a memorable experience that you'll hopefully want to repeat again and again.
Opera is addicting – so prepare to get hooked!
Where is the best place to sit in Capitol Theatre?
Where to sit really depends on a few things. The sightlines are best in the center of the theatre – either towards the front of the orchestra level or in the mezzanine. A lot of opera lovers enjoy sitting upstairs in the mezzanine because it's easy to read the supertitles without missing any of the action on the stage. If you're budget conscious, check out the balcony. For many performances you can get opera tickets for as little as $18 and because Capitol Theatre really isn't that large, you'll still have decent seats. Leg room in the Capitol Theatre is a luxury, so if you're tall, choose an aisle seat. If you want an extra special experience, call the ticket office and ask for Box Seats – the seats where people sit to be seen. They're not available online because they're partially obstructed, but it's guaranteed that you'll feel super special sitting up front next to the stage.
Are any ticket discounts available?
Yes – there are a few options if you're looking for discount tickets. If you purchase a season ticket package to Utah Opera, you'll save 25% off standard ticket prices. Groups of 10 or more can save on tickets to the opera when they purchase through Utah Opera's Group & Corporate Sales office. You can also get steeply discounted tickets if you're under 30 with our Upbeat program.
What should I do to prepare for the Opera?
To enjoy Opera, you'll want to do a little homework. Utah Opera posts a lot of content about each opera production on our website, blog, and Facebook page. We even have videos and interviews available online on YouTube. Before attending the opera, it helps to read through the synopsis so that you can follow the action on the stage (but feel free not to read to the end if you want to be surprised at the ending!).
What should I wear?
If there is any time when you can get dressed up in your finest, it's at the opera. When you attend you'll see people in ball gowns, tuxedos, and all variations of their Sunday best. Don't feel like you have to dress up to fit in though - wear what feels comfortable to you.
What time should I arrive?
If you don't want to miss our popular Opera Prelude introductory lecture, be at Capitol Theatre one hour before curtain. Otherwise, we recommend arriving at the theatre at least 30 minutes before the performance begins to give yourself plenty of time to pick up tickets, check out the theatre, and find your seats. Traffic downtown can be congested on the weekend, so be sure to give yourself enough time for traffic and parking. If you arrive late, you'll be seated at an appropriate interval in the performances so as not to disturb other patrons.
Where should I park in downtown Salt Lake?
Recommended parking places for Capitol Theatre are available on Utah Opera's parking page. Capitol Theatre is also accessible via public transportation.
What should I expect at a Red Carpet Showing of an opera?
On special occasions, the opera will be proceeded by a red carpet and photo-op. It's an opportunity for you to get your picture taken by a professional photographer in your best evening wear, at a classy event. Generally the red carpet will be located outside of Capitol Theatre as you approach the entrance. Utah Opera staff will be there to assist you. After having your photo taken, they will be posted to the Utah Opera Facebook page where you can tag yourself in the photos and share with your friends.
Where do I pick up my tickets?
We recommend picking up tickets prior to the day of the performance to avoid lines, but will call is available at the Capitol Theatre ticket office. If you purchased your tickets directly through Utah Opera (rather than ArtTix), your tickets will be at Patron Services in Abravanel Hall until the night of your performance. Will Call is located in the lobby of Capitol Theatre.
What should I expect during the Opera?
You know it's time to begin when the lights dim and the audience starts applauding – for apparently no one (it's for the conductor who is walking into the orchestra pit to lead the Utah Symphony). The overture will begin, the curtain will rise, and you'll be transported to another time and place as the artists, costumes, and scenery bring the music to life. Hear something you love? Feel free to applaud. And the opera is your chance to yell "Bravo!" if you're particularly moved. Typically an opera will have one or two intermissions, so you'll have a chance to stretch your legs or thumb through the synopsis and articles included in your playbill.
Will I understand what they're singing?
Yes! All Utah Opera performances – even the ones that are in English – have English supertitles projected for the audience. That way, you'll be able to follow along with all the action even if you don't understand the foreign language.
What should I do after the opera?
Head on down towards the stage on the orchestra level at Capitol Theatre to take part in an informal Q&A session with Christopher McBeth, Utah Opera's Artistic Director. When you're leaving the performance, you might catch a few of the artists hanging out in the lobby. Finally, there are a few downtown restaurants that stay open late so stop by one of them for a drink or bite to eat.