written by: Christie Marcy
The opera can be intimidating for first-timers. If you didn’t grow up attending regularly, odds are decent that everything you know about it you learned from the Marx Brothers and Looney Tunes. You’re in luck, because Salt Lake magazine is here to help you navigate the Utah Opera, opening its 40th season with La Bohème on October 7 and with celebrations of its ruby anniversary all season long.
Buy tickets ahead of time. You’re not going to get the best seats in the house if you show up at the box office the night of the show. Perhaps it’s counterintuitive, but look for seats on the floor about halfway back. From that distance you can read the subtitles (on screens above and to the side of the stage) and still see the performers. If you’re too close to the front, you’ll have to choose between the two and miss something.
Class it up. No, you don’t need a mink stole to enjoy the arias—but embrace the fanciness of the occasion and dress accordingly.-Gentleman, if you must wear jeans, at least wear a tie, and ladies, this is the perfect time to show a little leg.
Location, location, location. Yes, the Utah Symphony calls Abravanel Hall home, but the Utah Opera is located at Capitol Theater. This means you can’t take a selfie with the Chihuly glass sculpture but you can park in the adjoining parking lot just to the east of the theater.
Research. Because operas are rarely performed in English, it’s best to do a little research ahead of time on the storyline of the performance you’re seeing—utahopera.org has plenty of available resources, including a lecture at the theater one hour before curtain. Yes, it might spoil the ending—but you’re there for the singing, and nothing is going to spoil that. Worst-case scenario: The Utah Opera program will contain a synopsis, get there a bit early to read it. Or catch up during intermission.
No specs needed. Because of the size of Capitol Theater, theater opera glasses are not needed—but you can bring your own if you’re really itching to recreate Julia Robert’s iconic scene in Pretty Woman.
Follow the crowd. Not sure when to clap? When to shout “Bravo!” and when to shout “Brava!”? No problem. Watch the folks around you for cues, and remember, it was everyone’s first time sometime—next time someone might be watching you. utahopera.org
See more inside our 2017 September/October Issue.