Opera Philadelphia

Opera 101

It's never too late to see your first opera. And there's no reason to be intimidated. Opera is for everyone and it's a lot of fun! Here are some handy guides to help make your Opera Philadelphia experience great.

FAQ I'm new! What opera should I go to first?

How about what's next up in the beautiful Academy of Music? We're excited to present Puccini's popular opera Madame Butterfly from April 26 - May 5.


I think my favorite thing about coming to an Opera Philly production is they make opera so accessible. Camille Mola

FAQ Isn't opera expensive? How can I find a ticket that fits my price range?

Tickets can start as low as $25. But we don't want cost to be a barrier to you attending an Opera Philadelphia performance. If you subscribe to our email list, we'll be sure to send you information about discounts and special promotions.

Learn more about our ticketing offers, including rush, ACCESS tickets, and group discounts. 

Ticket Offers

Opera Glossary Learn the language of opera

What is an aria? A recitative? Check out our list of some common opera terms, invite your friends to a performance, then wow them with your knowledge! 

Learn more

FAQ What do I wear?

We don’t enforce a formal dress code at Opera Philadelphia. In fact, we encourage guests to come as they are! For some people, this means dressing up and being fancy. For others, it’s helpful to know that jeans are welcome.

How am I going to understand what people are singing?

We’ll turn on the closed captioning for you! Except in opera, we call these “supertitles.” Above the stage, you’ll find a screen that projects an English translation of what’s being sung. Supertitles will be present no matter what language is being sung on stage.

When do I applaud?

Perhaps the best answer is to applaud when you feel inspired to do so. You’ll find that audiences most often applaud at the end of a solo (also known as an aria), big ensemble moment, scene, or act. The end of the performance is a great time to show your appreciation for all the artists on stage. If you cheer loud enough, the amazing people working behind the scenes will be able to hear you too!

Amazing productions with talented stars, always something new and interesting! Joey Klinger

FAQ Why do opera singers sound the way they do?

Opera singers use a technique that optimizes breath control so they can sing over a full orchestra without having to use a microphone. In opera, voices are grouped into seven main categories (from highest to lowest): soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass.

Learn more about how voices are as unique as fingerprints with Dr. Jessye DeSilva’s article in A Beginner’s Guide To Opera posted below.

Read more

All Opera Philadelphia productions are wonderful. The pre-opera talks are informative and always enhance our experience and appreciation of the opera. Anna M. Morris

FAQ Is there a way I can learn more about the opera beforehand?

Yes! We invite you to engage with Opera Overtures before your performance. This is our series of pre-performance lectures which offers information about the story, performances, and production you’re about to see.

Opera Overtures is traditionally held in-person and begins one hour before the performance starts. Check our events calendar to see when Opera Overtures are scheduled around your performance.

Also check out our digital series Opera Breakdown!

Opera Breakdown

Learn more about the operas in our season, from the history to the music, through short digital lectures by our scholar in residence Dr. Lily Kass.


FAQ How does Opera Philadelphia work to create a welcoming experience for all?

Great question! Opera Philadelphia is committed to fostering and maintaining an environment wherein everyone is treated with respectdignity, and compassionYou can help us to achieve this goal by being an advocate of our Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct

It was absolutely incredible! I found myself smiling constantly. Sounds of Learning student

FAQ Where should I sit?

Opera Philadelphia performs in various venues throughout the city but the Academy of Music on Broad Street is considered our home base. When looking at our seating map for this historic venue, you'll want to consider a few things:

  • Avoid the columns! In the Academy, there are structural columns that can obstruct your view of the stage.
  • If you value translations, make sure your seat has access to the supertitle translations projected above the stage.

Take a virtual tour of the Academy of Music and other venues within the Kimmel Cultural Campus at the link below!

Take a Tour

Follow us on social media!

See more from Opera Philadelphia, including behind-the-scenes photos and video, by following us on social media @operaphila. Don't forget to tag us in your posts so we can see your visit through your eyes! 

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