New to Opera?

'It ain’t over till the fat lady sings' and other myths exploded in Opera North’s easy opera guide. If you're thinking about coming to the opera for the first time here's what you can expect. 

Bringing together beautifully designed costumes and stunning sets, a huge orchestra and chorus, amazing principal singers, thrilling drama and powerful music, Opera North productions are a hugely exciting theatrical experience!

1. It's all a bit serious, isn't it?  

Not all opera is ‘serious’. There are lots of comedies, adventures, romances and, as we have demonstrated with Kiss Me, Kate, opera and musical theatre are very closely related! And, although opera has been around for a long time, the stories are always very relevant to how we think and feel today. 

In operas such as the light hearted L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) by Donizetti, you can expect to laugh, cry, and be able to identify with what is happening – just like any other form of entertainment. This fun animation tells the story of  L'elisir d'amore in just 6 minutes… 

2. I won’t know the music!

Hundreds of opera tunes feature in films and TV adverts. This beautiful aria featured in the movie Philadelphia is taken from Andrea Chénier.  

3. It goes on for hours and hours...

Not all operas are 6 hours long! Most, like Mozart's Così fan tutte, are between 2 - 3 hours including an interval, and many shows finish by 10.00pm.

4. You have to get dressed up!

Some people enjoy dressing up as part of the 'Opera Experience' but it's not all top hats and tails! When you go to a performance you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in and would usually wear to a theatre or the cinema.

5. It's really expensive

Opera actually doesn't cost the earth. Tickets for Opera North start from just £15*, and we offer a range of concessions including generous group booking discounts.

And...attention residents of Leeds or Nottingham! If you're aged between 19 and 29, you can join our Under 30s Membership Scheme and get tickets for just £10, as well as discounts at other arts venues that we work with, offers at selected bars and restaurants, and invites to exclusive pre-performance events. What's not to love? 

6. It’s all foreign to me!

Many operas are sung in English but if they’re not, the words appear on plasma screens at the side of the stage, so you’ll always know what’s going on.

7. You have to be an opera buff

You don’t need to know anything before you go; the story and extra information is in the programme on the night. But if you like to read up, Opera North produces a quick guide to each opera called 'Opera in a Nutshell', which include musical excerpts, videos, costume information and background to the plot…

Andrea Chénier in a nutshell
L'elisir d'amore in a nutshell

8. Isn't it all fat ladies and helmets with horns?

Like any other area of entertainment, people of all shapes and sizes perform. However, opera is renowned for having some of the most beautiful and sumptuous costumes in live theatre. Check out some photos from our recent production of La traviata to see some examples...

Still not sure?

If you would like to go to an Opera North production but are not sure which one to try, then get in touch through FacebookTwitter, by email to info@operanorth.co.uk or telephone to 0113 22 33 500 and we will be happy to help you discover which opera you are likely to enjoy the most!

We look forward to welcoming you to Opera North soon!  

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