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Opera Etiquette

Opera Attire

While many people enjoy dressing up for an opera, anything goes, from jeans to your favorite gown or tuxedo. Opening night and evening attire tends toward the formal, whereas matinée attire is a bit more relaxed. The best rule of thumb is to dress how YOU feel most comfortable.

Arrive Ahead of Time

Performances start promptly at the designated curtain time. Arrival 30 minutes ahead of curtain time allows you to obtain your ticket, if necessary, and locate your seat so that you are not rushed. Extra time will also allow you to people-watch in the lobby and peruse your playbill to familiarize yourself with the production.

Please allow for traffic, weather, and other factors in planning your transportation to the opera.

Late Arrival

Latecomers will be seated by an usher at an appropriate interval, such as between scenes or at the end of an act. It is important to arrive on time so that you may enjoy the opera in a relaxed manner.

Remain Quiet During the Performance

Because of the acoustics in an opera theater, extraneous noise is very audible and distracting to performers and musicians, and to the other audience members. Please do not whisper or talk during the performance - save your comments for intermission. Please silence cell phones, pagers, and watches, and refrain from eating, or unwrapping candy or lozenges.

Cameras and recording equipment

These are expressly prohibited inside the performance venue.

Applause - Let the performers know you are enjoying yourself!

You are attending a live performance, and the performers respond to your enthusiasm! Applause is customary when the conductor takes the podium, after the overture, after a big aria, at the end of each act, and when the singers come out to take a bow. You may applaud while sitting, or join other audience members in a standing ovation for an exceptional performance. If you are not sure about when to applaud, follow the lead of the rest of the audience.

Other Accolades

You may show appreciation for a job well-done by yelling "Bravo!" for a male performer, "Brava!" for a female performer, or "Bravi!" for an ensemble.

Bringing Children to the Opera

Some operas are appropriate for children, depending on their age, and some operas deal with more mature themes. Very small children often do not have the patience to sit quietly through a lengthy performance, and an adult-themed opera may be inappropriate or confusing. Some of our productions are family-friendly; some operas are more suitable for different ages of children than others. It is best to familiarize yourself with the opera beforehand and make a judgment as to whether it is suitable for your child. If you have a question about the suitability of one of our performances for your child, please explore our website, or contact us at (336) 273-9472.

The Orchestra

The orchestra members enter the orchestra pit and tune their instruments a few minutes before the performance begins. They will become quiet when they are finished, and then the conductor enters the pit and takes his place on the podium. Applause from the audience is appropriate at this point. S/he will bow to the audience, and then turn to face the orchestra, which signifies that the performance is about to begin, and that the audience must now be quiet. S/he will raise the baton, which marks the start of the performance.

If You Must be Excused During the Performance

Please use the time before the opera and during intermission to take care of your personal needs. If you must leave the auditorium during the performance, please do so quietly and courteously. You may not be able to reenter the auditorium until the end of the act, however.

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