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New to orchestral concerts?

We’re always delighted to welcome anyone who’s new to orchestral music to our concerts. We’ve tried to answer the following Frequently Asked Questions to take some of the mystery out of attending your first performance…

The Orchestra of Opera North at Huddersfield Town Hall, September 2018 © Justin Slee

Which concerts will I enjoy?

Our concert seasons feature everything from Beethoven concertos to spiky 20th century works, film soundtracks and world premieres of brand new works by living composers (sometimes all in the same evening!)

To get an idea of what you’ll be hearing at a particular event, have a listen to one of our Spotify playlists.

We’re sure that you’ll find the live experience of a large orchestra an exciting and intoxicating experience, though – whatever the programme!

Garry Walker conducts the Orchestra of Opera North, Huddersfield Town Hall, September 2018 © Justin Slee

What will it sound like?

Instruments and voices are usually unamplified on the concert stage, so there’s nothing to get between you and the performers. It’s pure, unfiltered, unplugged sound.

One of the pleasures of an orchestral concert is in experiencing the sound from the 60-odd musicians on stage being adjusted and immaculately balanced by the conductor from moment to moment, or the power of a singer soaring above the ensemble.

And it might get loud!

The Orchestra of Opera North at Huddersfield Town Hall, September 2018 © Justin Slee

How can I find out more?

You don’t need to know anything about the music before you join us, but a bit of advance knowledge can definitely make for a richer experience when you take your seat.

Free pre-concert talks from our soloists and conductors give you a unique chance to learn more about the music first-hand (see event pages for more info). A conductor might also give you some background to each piece from the stage before it’s performed.

Our concert programmes, with notes on each work and biographies of the composers and guest musicians, are another great way to find out more.

You’ll find blogs from musicians and soloists, information on forthcoming programmes and Spotify playlists in the News section of our website.

The Orchestra of Opera North at Huddersfield Town Hall, September 2018 © Justin Slee

Where shall I sit?

The most expensive seats tend to be in the stalls, in the Gallery at Leeds or in the Balcony at Huddersfield Town Halls. The cheapest are located in the higher levels. However, you can get a good view and hear everything from nearly all areas of each venue that we perform in.

How long is a concert?

Concerts vary in length, depending on how long each piece is, but they usually run to around 120 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

The Orchestra of Opera North at Huddersfield Town Hall, September 2018 © Justin Slee

What sort of music will I hear?

Traditionally concerts would open with an overture (an introduction to a ballet or opera) or a suite (a collection of the best bits from a larger work), lasting 10 minutes or so, as a musical appetizer.

Next, a concerto is a larger work generally composed of three movements, often spotlighting one solo instrument played by a special guest musician accompanied by the orchestra.

An interval gives you a chance to socialise, chat about what you’ve just seen and get refreshed at the bar.

To close, a longer symphony is the main course, consisting of several (usually four) distinct sections or movements.

We’re less strict about this sequencing today, though – and our concert seasons also include short operas, live film soundtracks and programmes of song.

Dalia Stasevska conducts the Orchestra of Opera North at Huddersfield Town Hall, April 2019 © Justin Slee

When should I applaud?

This is the subject of a long-running debate. In Mozart’s time audiences would gossip, eat, clap and even shout requests to repeat certain passages during the performance!

In the last century, though, it became common practice to save your applause for the end of a complete piece, rather than clapping after each movement, which can disrupt the continuity of the music.

Apparently even President Kennedy struggled with knowing when to applaud at White House recitals, relying on his social secretary to signal to him through a crack in the door.

If you’re not sure and you don’t have your social secretary with you, just follow the cue of those around you.

The Orchestra of Opera North's Principal Harp Céline Saout, Leeds Grand Theatre, Spring 2018 © Tom Arber

What should I wear?

There’s no dress code for our concerts. If you want to dress up and make a special occasion of it, go for it, but jeans are equally welcome. It’s your night!

Phones

We do ask that phones are on silent and put away during the performance (and please don’t take any photos or video), but before and afterwards, feel free to snap away. Even better, tag us on Instagram or Twitter and let us know how your orchestral experience is going!
#ONOrchestra

Brass section of the Orchestra of Opera North, The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics 2017 © Justin Slee

How much does it cost?

Full price tickets for our concerts at Huddersfield and Leeds Town Halls start at under £15.00, and concessions are usually available.

If you don’t mind looking up at the stage, standby tickets in the first two rows of the stalls are available for most orchestral concerts in the Kirklees Concert Season for just £5.00, on sale a week before the event.

If you’re aged from 17 to 29 you can book the best available seats for concerts in Huddersfield for £4.00, and tickets for 16 year-olds and under are just £1.00 each.

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