If you're new to opera, and not sure if it's for you or where to start, see our handy guide below and we'll let you in on some of opera's best kept secrets...
1. Nothing beats a live performance
You can try DVDs or even YouTube, but you won’t get to experience the electric atmosphere of being in the room in which it is actually happening, or the silence of an audience so mesmerised, you can hear a pin drop…
2. You can wear whatever you like
There's no dress code for Opera North performances. If you do want make a special occasion of it and wear your best frock, be our guest, and if you want to wear jeans, feel free to do so.
3. You won't be sat there for hours...
Most operas are just a couple of hours (about the length of an average film) with at least one interval. This season, Hansel and Gretel is just two hours, Cinderella is two hours thirty minutes, and The Snow Maiden, being abridged from the original opera, is three hours.
4. There's no language barrier
No need to sit there baffled! Many operas are sung in English, and when they’re not, there are screens with surtitles at each side of the stage so you know exactly what is going on. This winter, The Snow Maiden and Hansel and Gretel are sung in extremely accessible English translations, and Cinderella is performed in Italian with English surtitles.
5. The unamplified power of the human voice
This is what really sets opera apart. The lack of microphones means that there is no barrier between the performer and the audience – the connection is immediate and the emotions you experience all the more intense.
6. You'll find your emotional outlet
Opera is for people that love to FEEL, that love to be made to laugh and cry, adrenaline junkies, and those that want to be moved by the power of music. If this sounds like you, Hansel and Gretel's stunningly moving 'Evening Prayer' may reduce you to a puddle of tears...
7. It won't break the bank
Opera is not actually that expensive — tickets start from just £15*, and if you’re 19-29 or a full time student, you can sign up to our free Under 30s membership scheme and get tickets for just £10, plus invites to special events and other great benefits!
8. It's visually spectacular
Opera can be some of the most visually stunning spectacles in all theatre. As well as some sumptuous sets and costumes, you can get a LOT of people on stage at one time (principals, chorus and sometimes dancers as well). This makes for an impressive sight – and sound! For a breathtaking visual experience, our ballroom inspired Cinderella may be just for you…
9. You don't need to be an 'opera buff'
Opera is not an ‘intellectual’ art form. Above all, it appeals to the emotions. You don’t need to know anything about the opera beforehand in order to enjoy it, although a skim through a brief plot synopsis may be helpful. If you like to read up, our ‘opera in a nutshell’ series allows you to discover the essentials — plot, characters, and what you’ll see and hear, at a glance.
10. There's something to suit every taste
‘Opera’ is as broad a genre as ‘film’ — there are so many different styles, and the music of one composer sounds utterly different to that of another. So even if you find Mozart is not for you, you may fall in love with Puccini. If you’re not sure what you’ll like, get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help find your perfect fit!