How to Go to an Opera
Now that we’ve looked at the history and learnt a little about some operatic terms, it’s time to look at how to actually go to an opera.
Buying a Ticket
Before going to the opera, you need to get yourself a ticket. Tickets go fast so we suggest booking these in advance. The good news for you is that Citalia can actually help you purchase the ticket. We have a fantastic range of Italian opera holidays
available. Verona Opera Festival is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary in 2023
so you don’t want to miss getting a ticket for this!
Opera House Floor Plan
Famous Italian Opera House’s are huge inside and depending on where you sit, your experience at the opera can differ greatly. The orchestra section
is located on the ground floor, and these tend to be the most expensive seats directly in front of the stage.
make their way around the opera house and are set out on different levels. The higher up you go, the cheaper the ticket.
are like private booths, and you can rearrange your seat to suit your own comfort.
is only available in some opera houses and is located behind the orchestra, tickets are very cheap, but it is a long time to stand throughout the performance.
In many opera houses, the best sound can actually be enjoyed in the very top balcony and seats close to the front often have the worst experience in terms of acoustics. However, some people like to be up close to see the singers properly, but even if you’re sat at the back, you can rent a set of binoculars from the opera house.
Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t actually a dress code for the opera. Some take the occasion as an opportunity to put on their finest clothes and make an evening of it. Whilst others will dress more casually. Most, however, will wear business attire and this is the safest option for your first time. Note though, that on the opening night, most of the audience will don a tux or an elegant dress.
The opera can last a whole evening and so it is advised to make sure you have something to eat beforehand. Don’t go too heavy on the drinks as you don’t want to be going to the bathroom midway through and miss any of the action!
Arrival at the Opera House
– you don’t want to miss the start of the performance and you may be denied entry if you arrive late.
Make use of the cloakroom
– you can be sitting for hours during the opera so make sure you are seated comfortably and check any unwanted coats into the cloakroom.
Make use of the bathroom facilities
– before the performance starts ensure you use the restroom first.
Find the right seat
– the opera house is huge, so make sure to ask the stewards if you are unsure.
The Opera Programme
Most opera performances will have two programmes on sale; one will be the libretto itself which you can use to follow along with the action, and a deluxe programme with the history of the opera, an introduction to the performers, pictures and so on.
Many operas will be in Italian and so technology has provided a solution to this by the way of surtitles
. These are slides projected over the stage with an English translation to make it easier to follow along.
The Subject of Applause
Believe it or not, there’s actually etiquette to follow when it comes to applause at the Opera House. In Italian opera it’s best not to clap every time the singer hits a high note, but at the end of a big number it is more appropriate to applaud. When in doubt, don’t applaud, it will become clear when it is the appropriate time to do so. Never whistle, in Italian this is seen as booing. You may hear “bravo
” being shouted from the audience, but there are different ways of saying this depending on who has performed. Use bravo for a man, brava
for a woman, bravi
for men, and brave for women.