If you’re new to opera, there are a few things that might surprise you.  It’s not stuffy, for instance.  And you don’t have to be Thurston Howell III to score a ticket!  Dive in with Nashville Opera and learn more!


What is opera, anyway?  

It’s like a play set to music.  It’s like a movie with a fantastic score, but it’s live!  It can rip your heart out when you least expect it.  It’s the passion, the grit, the joy, the sorrow, the heat of life on earth... all expressed with the gorgeous human voice.  


Will I understand what’s going on?

Although it’s true that many operas are sung in their original Italian, German, French, or (insert exotic language here), that doesn’t mean you can’t understand or enjoy them.  Nashville Opera always projects English translations right above the stage, so you can watch the drama, listen to the singers, and follow the dialogue.  You won’t miss a thing. 


But only rich people can afford tickets, right?

With ticket prices starting as low as $26 (up to $124, if you want to splurge), a Nashville Opera show costs about what any live concert costs.  There’s a price for almost everyone.  We also offer a limited number of Pay-What-You-Can tickets for each opera.  Call 615.832.5242 for details. 


What am I  going to wear?

Opera isn’t a stuffy occasion.  Just wear something you’ll be comfortable sitting in for a while.  After all, your main objective is to have a good time.  Some people enjoy dressing to the nines (what a great excuse!), and others put on their favorite pair of jeans. 


Isn’t opera boring?

Are you normally bored by passion, true love, murder, comedy, and suspense?  Opera can really be exciting and the music can sweep you away.  Remember, even die-hard opera fans don’t like every opera ever written, so you don’t have to either.  To find an opera that’s a good match for you, check out the story in advance. 


Will opera be too serious for me?

Some operas are serious.  Some are delightfully ridiculous.  Just like a lot of plays and movies, even serious operas can have a character who delivers comic relief, and it’s quite all right to laugh at every great gag.  Similarly, it’s OK to cry when the star-crossed lovers are finally united.  You’re there to let go and enjoy!


Who wants to watch a fat lady in horns?

Yes, some opera stars are quite... “healthy.”  (And some operas involve helmets.  Most don’t!)  Today, most singers understand that the drama of an opera is just as important as the music and keep physically and vocally fit to portray their characters.  Opera is athletic.


Operas are really long, aren’t they?

A lot of them are—but not that much longer than some movies.  Because all the words are sung, it can take longer for the plot to move ahead than if it were spoken.  Because opera is an unamplified art form, many artist’s roles require some vocal “down time,” and just like at a Broadway show, there are set / scenery / costume changes (including wigs and makeup) requiring intermissions.  We will always let you know the length of an opera on our website and in the program, as well as number and length of intermission(s).  So just expect to be relaxing in those comfy seats for 2 to 3 hours.  You almost always get one intermission to stretch and enjoy a coffee, wine, and snacks. (Sometimes you get two.)  You don’t get breaks at the movies!


Do I  bring the kids?

Young children probably won’t enjoy an opera because they have to sit still and quietly for so long.  However, older children might love it.  Check out the plot and decide whether to bring older children.  Who knows, they might like it more than you do!  In fact, opera is the fastest growing art form for 18- to 20-year-olds.


When do I clap?

One way to know when to clap is just to follow the crowd.  But there are some consistent clapping opportunities to keep in mind: when the conductor enters the orchestra pit before each act, after a solo aria is finished, after an ensemble has finished singing, at the end of each act, and at curtain calls.  Unlike a symphonic performance, you really don’t have to worry about clapping at the wrong time.  It’s a compliment to show your passion for the artists’ work on stage.


For more information, please give us a call at 615.832.5242.