What is opera?
Opera is the ultimate interdisciplinary art form, incorporating music, theatre, graphic design, and multi-media arts. Like today's best movies, opera tells stories with timeless themes and primal emotions: love, hate, jealousy, faith, despair, betrayal, loyalty. There are family feuds, coups, unrequited love, murder, intrigue, slapstick comedy, mistaken identity, and hot-headed actions that have tragic consequences, all set to some of the most sublime music you'll ever hear and backed by fantastic costumes and sets.
How will I understand what's happening on stage?
The days of attending opera and not understanding what's happening onstage are gone. Every opera has an English translation projected above the stage. The translations, called supertitles, are easy to read.
The playbill you receive at the performance includes a summary of the opera's story that will help you understand the action. If you want more background, plan to attend the free 30 minute Pre-Opera Talk given at the Overture Center one hour before curtain time, or click on specific production pages for detailed information about Madison Opera's current season productions.
What should I wear?
Come in clothes that make you comfortable. Some audience mbers dress in casual clothes, while others prepare for an elegant night out. Either is acceptable.
Is there a pre-opera lecture?
Yes. Prior to each performance, join General Director Kathryn Smith for insights into Madison Opera's current production. The 30-minute Pre-Opera Talk generally takes place one hour before curtain in the Wisconsin Studio, 3rd floor Overture Center. Madison Opera also offers a Post-Opera Talk immediately following the performance.
For patrons seeking a more in-depth experience, including a Q&A with the artists, make plans to attend the Opera Up Close series.
How long will the opera be?
An opera usually runs 2-1/2 to 3 hours, including intermission(s). Specific run times are available for each opera of the season. Visit the individual production pages for run-time information.
When should I arrive? What if I'm late?
We encourage you to arrive downtown 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled performance time to assure that you have enough time to park, walk to the Overture Center and be seated. If you arrive after the performance has started, you will be asked to wait in the lobby until a suitable break in the opera. This varies depending upon the opera. Be prepared that you may have to wait until the end of the first act or the first intermission.
Where can I park for the Overture Center?
Many parking facilities are located within a couple blocks from the Overture Center. Click here for parking information.
Are refreshments available at the Overture Center?
Yes. Beverage service is available before and after the performance and during intermission(s). Bars are located in the Overture Lobby and the Promenade level.
What services are available for patrons with special needs?
Overture Hall has many services available. Please click here for more information.