Everything you need to know about taking your kids to the opera
by Kathleen Sykes
There’s no better feeling than being your kid’s hero—and you can cement your coolness for years to come by taking them to the opera! An enchanting story set to live music can be a wonderful and moving way to bond with your children, and it will give them a memorable experience.
Feeling uncertain about taking your family to the opera? It’s easier than you think! Here’s what you need to know and how you can make going to the opera an experience your children will never forget:
Kids 5-18 can come to any Utah Opera performance!
Children as young as FIVE can enjoy our operas! You might think taking your kids to our world-class operas would be pretty daunting financially. But because we love seeing young faces in the audience, we offer special pricing for families. Look for designated “Family Nights” which offer a $30 Family Pass (for a family of four with a max of two adults). You can add up to six additional youth tickets onto your pass for $5 each.
Prepare for the production you’re going to see
Opera is always more exciting when you know everything about it! Take some time to look up articles and YouTube videos about the production with your kids before you go. You can also find great resources in our online learning section including this list of things to know when you go to your first opera. Get familiar with the music and download a playlist and play it while you’re taking your kids to school in the morning.
Music was meant to be fun! Try dancing or singing to the music before you attend. Since operas are often in foreign languages, read the summaries beforehand—this is especially helpful for children who are still learning to read. You can also make a game of it by listening closely to the music and determining what emotions the character is feeling.
As operas often have mature storylines, we suggest doing some research ahead of time to decide if a particular production is something you’re comfortable taking your kids to. You can also call our ticket office at 801-533-6683 for information on the content to expect at a particular production.
Practice “going to the opera” with your children
Sometimes taking your kids to a live performance can be stressful. Will they sit still? Will they want to talk the whole time or kick the chair in front of them? These are all valid concerns, but you can definitely get some peace of mind if you practice the opera-going experience beforehand.
Try practicing what it’s like going to the theatre—standing in line, taking tickets, finding your seat, knowing when to clap. You can cast family members to be ticket-takers, opera singers, and ushers to make it more fun. This is an entertaining way to prepare your family for going to the theatre for the first time, and it will minimize surprises when you get there.
Make a plan
A night out with the kids should be a memorable, enjoyable experience! To reduce potential stress, make a plan for your opera experience. Of course you’ll want to pick out what you want to wear (you can go in whatever you were already wearing or dress up if you want) or where you want to eat beforehand (you can see some suggestions here), but you’ll also want to know the ins and outs of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and the performance.
All of our operas have at least one 20-minute intermission in the performance. This is a great time to take a bathroom break, grab a snack at the concession stand, or just walk around to get the wiggles out before settling back into your seat. Sometimes a full-length opera it simply too much for a young, sleepy child to get through. If you need to leave for any reason, the intermission would be the best option to call it a night.
We recommend arriving 30 minutes before the start of the performance. Sometimes traffic is heavy around the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (especially during the holiday season or a large convention), so you might consider leaving earlier than you think you need to. The best place to park is in the adjacent parking structure, or you can take the TRAX train to the “Gallivan Plaza” stop, which lets you off about half block away from the theatre.
Ask them what they liked about the performance afterward
The opera can be an enchanting experience for a kid! Don’t miss a single, magical moment of their experience—ask them what their favorite part of the show was or what costume or character they liked most. You’ll be amazed at how much they enjoyed it—they may even ask to come again!