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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opera 101: No Experience Necessary

Going to the opera for the first time? Or know someone who is? It can seem intimidating, but rest assured it is not! People of all ages and walks of life enjoy opera, especially here in Vancouver. No matter who you are, you'll fit right in.

You can read up on the opera in advance on the Vancouver Opera website. We have synopses, music clips, videos from rehearsals and video interviews with the cast and creative team to help you prepare. (We also have manga versions of each opera!). Check it all out here.

If you don't have time to explore the website, not to worry: you'll be given a house program at the theatre that includes a synopsis, history, notes on the production, and notes on the music.

And if you don't get a chance to read all that, that's fine, because there will be English translations projected above the stage during the performance, so you'll still know exactly what's going on.

How do I get tickets?

You can buy single tickets online, using our very swank Select Your Own Seat application, which actually lets you check out the view of the stage from any seat in the house! Or you can call the friendly people at our Ticket Centre, 604-683-0222, Monday to Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm. You can also come to the Ticket Centre at 1945 McLean Drive, near 3rd Ave and Clark. Free parking!

The Ticket Centre staff can help you choose a great seat to fit any budget. You can even give them a price range and they'll show you what's available. Here's a seating map of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

If you'd like to come to all the operas in a season, consider a subscription, which comes with several great benefits. Here are some details.
Opera Manga!

I have my tickets! I'm so excited! OMG what do I wear?

Wear whatever you'd like! There's no dress code. Some people like to dress up, especially on opening night, but many people go casual. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in (especially since some operas can be 3 hours long).

To get an idea of what people wear, check out the Fashion at the Opera albums on our Flickr site.

Photo courtesy of the stylish opera lovers
Erin Gillespie and John Christensen
How do I get to the theatre?

Please note! The Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre and offices are NOT in the same location as the theatre!

All Vancouver Opera mainstage productions take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which is on the corner of Hamilton and Georgia, downtown Vancouver. The closest Skytrain is Stadium-Chinatown. Here are some tips for driving and parking. Get there early - hockey games and concerts are often on the same nights as our performances, which means it can get crazy busy downtown!

Can I have dinner at the theatre?

While there is no restaurant on-site, there is a bar and concession. However, if you'd like more than wine and candy bars for dinner, you'll have to go farther afield. Here are some options for pre-show and post-show dining.

What happens if I'm late?

If you're late, you'll find yourself sitting in the lobby watching the show on a screen. We can't let people in once the show has started until there's a natural break or intermission. Don't be late! Doors to the theatre open at 6:15pm and the show starts at 7:30pm.

Doug Tuck, your host for the
I really didn't want to be late and now I'm at the theatre an hour early. What do I do now?

You can come to a Preview Talk! Preview Talks begin at 6:30pm and are free for all ticket-holders. VO's Director of Marketing Doug Tuck gives the talks, which include background on the opera, interesting facts and all sorts of entertaining tidbits. The talks happen inside the theatre in the Mezzanine level. Just ask an usher to point you in the right direction.

Any other questions? Call our friendly Ticket Centre staff, or look for our Ambassadors at the theatre. Enjoy the show!

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