HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
However you like. Some people like to get dressed to the nines, while others prefer to be more casual. There really isn’t a dress code. In fact, at the Opéra de Montréal, we see it all: from tuxedos to jeans! It’s important to be comfortable and to feel good. However, one little caveat: no shirt – no shoes – NO opera!
WHAT IF I’M LATE?
Unlike at the movies, pop concerts, and sports events, once an opera performance has started, YOU CAN’T GET IN OR OUT! If traffic delays your arrival, you can watch the opera on monitors in the lobbies. You’ll be allowed to get to your seats during a break or at intermission.
COURTESY… ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY!
Shhh! Keep it down! At the opera, since nothing on stage is amplified, you can hear everything going on in the audience. So please be discrete when flipping through the pages of your program, and unwrap your candy before the show starts. Completely turn off all electronic devices for the benefit of everyone attending, and don’t talk or whisper over the music. As an added precaution, you can leave your smartphone, pager, or other devices at the coat check.
WILL I UNDERSTAND THE STORY?
Of course! A screen above the stage shows all of the opera’s words in English and French, no matter what language the singers are singing (that is, even if they’re singing in English or in French). These are called “supertitles” or “surtitles.”
Another option is to attend the preOpera talk, one hour before the curtain goes up: it’s a brief introduction to the opera, presented by a musicologist who explains the key principals to understanding the work, puts the story into context, and discusses the composer and the era in which the work was written… You can also read the opera’s blog, on the home page of the website.
I LOVE IT! CAN I SHOW MY APPRECIATION?
You can applaud, whistle, and yell BRAVO when you like what you hear. All signs of appreciation are welcome… though you should wait until the end of the aria before expressing yourself. If you’re not sure exactly when to applaud, wait for those around you to start first.
IS FOOD ALLOWED?
You are NOT allowed to eat or drink in the performance hall. Food and beverages are only permitted in the lobbies.
OPERA OR MUSICAL… WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Hmmm, good question… though a bit complex. Basically, in operas, everything is sung, while in musicals, there is spoken dialogue between the songs (with a few exceptions in both genres). And unlike musicals, operas are not amplified (opera singers perform WITHOUT using a microphone).
CAN I LEAVE ONCE IT HAS STARTED?
Only in the event of emergency. We ask that you remain in your seat until intermission or a break in the performance. Remember that if you must exit the hall during the performance, you’ll have to wait until intermission—or until a moment designated by an usher—to return to your seat.
WHAT ABOUT KIDS?
Certain operas deal with subject matter that is quite serious or adult-oriented. Before bringing children to a performance, make sure the opera is suitable for them. You can read a synopsis of the plot on our website or ask one of our customer service agents. Children will enjoy their outing to the opera even more if they are prepared in advance; tell them the story or let them hear a few excerpts.