What Can I Expect?
Attending an opera for the first time is an exciting experience, and we want to equip you with the tools and resources that will make your experience one worth remembering.
There are a number of different places to sit in Music Hall for a performance, and each section offers a different experience.For the best blend of Music Hall's famous acoustics, sit anywhere in the gallery. If getting the best visuals (and additional leg room) is more important to you, choose a seat in the orchestra level. For the most intense experience, purchase a ticket in the front row of the orchestra!
Before arriving at Music Hall, you will have the best experience if you do some homework and are familiar with the opera. Our website offers a number of great resources to prepare you for each of the four operas this summer. A brief overview of the opera can be found in our performances section. We also have a synopsis for each opera and a detailed cast listing.
In deciding what to wear, the answer is easy: Dress up...but only if you feel like it! Some of those in attendance will be dressed in their Sunday best—you may even see a few people in ball gowns and tuxedos. You will also see some dressed more casually. The best advice we can give you is to be comfortable and make sure you are dressed in layers. You will want to have the ability to adjust to the temperature of Music Hall, and your experience will be the best if you are comfortable and able to enjoy all that is going on around you!
When making the trip to downtown Cincinnati, be sure to give yourself enough time for traffic and parking.If you have the time, arrive downtown early and grab a bite to eat at a downtown restaurant. Some of our favorites: Via Vite, Nada, Nicholson's, Lavomatic, Senate, Abigail Street, and Taste of Belgium. If you can get to Music Hall an hour before the performance, be sure to check out Opera Insights (one hour before each performance). Evans Mirageas and special guests present overviews and insights into the evenings performance. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the opera! Admission is free to all ticket holders.
Please visit our Parking page for information.
It's best to order tickets prior to the day of the performance, but we also welcome those of you who decide to come for a performance at the last minute!If you need to purchase tickets on the night of a performance, stop by our Box Office, which opens at 6:00 p.m. for evening performances and 12 noon for Sunday matinees. A member of our Box Office staff will gladly help you find the best seat available for the performance! If you simply need to pick up your tickets, enter Music Hall and there will be a Will Call area on the North side of the lobby (opposite to the escalators).
As the curtains part, and the artists and sets transport you to an entirely different place, feel free to applaud after a particularly breathtaking aria. If it inspires you, feel free to yell "Bravo!" Where else can you express your emotion to a particular piece so freely? Be sure to silence all cell phones, watches, and anything else that may go "beep" during the performance. What's truly astonishing about an opera is when the drama has reached the highest point, and there is that one moment of silence in which the audience cannot wait to see what happens next. How unfortunate to have that moment interrupted by a loud ringer or alarm!
There will be one or two intermissions offered at each performance, depending on the length of the opera. This is a great time to stroll around the Music Hall lobby and take in the beauty of your surroundings. This is also the time to use the restrooms and stretch your legs. If you have the time, enjoy some chocolate from Divine's Chocolates and a glass of champagne.
You may be curious to know who attends an opera performance on a given night.The great thing about Cincinnati Opera's audience is that it is very diverse and constantly growing. You will see people of all ages and backgrounds walking through the doors of Music Hall on the night of a performance. Part of the beauty of opera is that it attracts many different types of people and touches each person differently. Whether you're coming to take in the gorgeous sets and costumes, the beautiful music, or just to see what grand opera is all about, you will find someone else who is attending for the same reasons.
After the performance has ended, be sure to stick around and take part in the curtain call. Applaud and cheer for your favorite artist, acknowledge the fabulous conductor and the renowned Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and see the entire cast onstage at the same time.If you have time, wait until the performers have had a chance to change out of their costumes, and head backstage and check out the green room to meet some of the artists!
After leaving Music Hall, there are a number of downtown eating establishments that stay open late where you can enjoy a post-show drink or quick bite to eat while enjoying the beauty of downtown Cincinnati at night.
We would like to hear about your experience at Music Hall, and are open to suggestions and comments. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch with you.
No matter what performance you see, the experience will be something you will never forget. See you at the opera!