First Timers Guide


I've never been to an opera! What should I expect?

1. How will I understand it? Don't they sing in different languages?
2. Which opera should I go to first?
3. So what is this Festival thing about?
4. What do I wear?
5. Don't I have to be quiet during a performance to show respect?
6. Is there any other etiquette I should know about?
7. What should I do in Fort Worth before / after the opera?
8. Should I bring my kids?
9. Yeah, but will I really like it? I'm not an opera person.
10. Where can I learn more?
1. How will I understand it? Don't they sing in different languages?

Although opera is often, but not always, performed in a language other than English - you don't need to speak a foreign language to understand it. Fort Worth Opera projects English (and sometimes Spanish) translations above the stage during every opera performance. These captions are visible from every seat in Bass Hall.

 
FWOpera Recommends Opera for Dummies
FWOpera Recommended Reading

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2. Which opera should I go to first? / 3. What is this Festival thing?

There are as many different styles of opera as there are styles of movies. And just like Hollywood remakes, the same opera can be performed in different ways. At Fort Worth Opera, we try to give you a good idea of what you're going to see and what style an opera is, plus we are dedicated to providing a wide variety of styles each and every season. Simply check out our operas under "Performances" and if one sounds interesting to you, try it.

Note that it takes many people two or three trips to the opera house to get a good feel of opera giving up after your first one is like seeing one movie and deciding you don't like any movies. In fact, you may want to consider purchasing a season ticket you'll save money and get a good sampling of operas at the same time.

A Festival means that we produce all of our operas the span of a few weeks. People travel from all over the world to see multiple operas in one weekend. If you're from out of town, a weekend trip to Fort Worth is a great vacation, packed full of high quality operas. If you're local, you can spread it out a bit, and see one opera a week for the duration of the Festival.

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4. What do I wear?

Whatever you want; we have no dress requirements. The largest number of our patrons wear business or "after-five" attire; the others wear everything from jeans to tuxedos (or both). The most important thing is that you be comfortable and enjoy yourself.

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5. Do I have to be quiet during a performance?

Opera singers love to hear appreciation for their work. So do we. Clapping, standing, yelling, and other types of applause are very welcome at the right times. As a general rule, opera patrons clap at the end of each act and after a spectacular song. If in doubt, wait to applaud when you hear everyone else doing it.

Bass Performance Hall has been named one of the top-ten opera houses in the world. The main reason for its fame is the outstanding acoustics. For the singers, this means that every person in the audience will clearly hear their voice without a microphone. For you, it means that they will equally hear your pager, cell phone, candy wrapper and other noise. So, unless you want 2,000 people leaning forward to stare at you, we suggest you shut everything off. (In fact, we suggest it even if you do want 2,000 people staring at you.) If you have a cough, note that we provide cough drops at the entrances of the seating areas for your convenience.

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6. Is there any other etiquette I should know about?

Be sure to arrive a little early. As a courtesy to other patrons, we don't seat latecomers until the first intermission (which means you'll have to watch it on a little monitor in the hall - a total drag). Also, use the restroom beforehand. We strongly discourage - as will the people around you - getting up and down during the performance.

Photographing or recording an opera performance with a camera, cell phone or anything else, is strictly forbidden by law. We love it when you share your experience with your friends - especially online - but use one of the preauthorized photos, videos or recordings we post on this website or on our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Oh, and no texting either please!  The light and vibrations are annoying to those around you.

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7. What should I do in Fort Worth before / after the opera?

If you are wanting to learn more before the performance, how about a backstage tour or pre-show lecture? If you are just wanting to party, after the opera we offer a super cool party with the artists - free to any ticket holder.

Fort Worth has tons of restaurants and fun things to do downtown. The area is convenient, well-lit, safe, and parking is free on evenings and weekends. Some operas can be up to 3 hours long, so we suggest you eat before you come. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time; no food or drink is permitted into Bass Hall.

In town for the weekend?
We have several of the finest museums in the world all within walking distance of each other. There's also a zoo and botanical gardens, and who can visit without a trip to the stockyards!

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8. Should I bring my kids?

That depends on the kid. While we do encourage parents to expose their children to opera, mainstage operas are not suitable for young children, who can get restless and make noise. Older children should be left at home if you have any doubts as to their ability to remain quiet during the performance. Older kids and teenagers often enjoy opera, it's like Classical MTV, only more intense. Before you decide to bring older children or teens to an opera, we recommend you read the synopsis or call the opera office to make sure it's suitable - many operas contain adult subject matter.

We recommend the Family Four Pack ticket package (found under "Season Tickets"). It's designed to get you and your family introduced to the operatic arts with several children's operas and tickets a family-friendly production during our Festival.

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9. Yeah, but will I really like it?

Opera is the only performing art form that is growing in popularity - especially with younger audiences. Why? Opera, like no other entertainment or art form, helps us transcend our ordinary lives and be carried away with unbelievable drama, sights, sounds and emotion.

So, do you have to learn about opera to enjoy it? No, you don't. But, as with life's other exquisite pleasures, a little background knowledge can turn "great" into "unforgettable." We suggest attending one of our entertaining and free pre-opera talks or reading below.

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10. Where can I learn more?

We have lots of ways you can learn more. Check out the social and educational opportunities here. You can also browse this website or our Facebook page for videos, articles and helpful tips. If you have any questions or just want quick help - call us! We want to help: 817.731.0726.

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