What is opera?
Opera is the ultimate interdisciplinary art form, incorporating music, theatre, design, and multimedia. 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, comedy, mistaken identity, and rash actions that have tragic consequences, all set to sublime music and backed by fantastic costumes and sets.
How will I understand what's happening on stage?
Every opera has an English translation projected above the stage, similar to subtitles at a foreign movie. (English-language operas have their text projected above the stage.)
The performance playbill includes a plot synopsis of the opera. For more background, 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 members dress in casual clothes, while others dress 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.
For a more in-depth experience, including a Q&A with the artists, attend the Opera Up Close series, which takes place the weekend before the production.
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 on their production pages.
When should I arrive? What if I'm late?
We encourage you to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled performance time to assure that you have enough time to park, walk to the Overture Center, go through their security procedures, 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 break varies depending upon the opera; you may have to wait until the first intermission to be seated.
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?
Beverage service is available before and after the performance and during intermission(s).
What services are available for patrons with special needs?
Overture Hall has many services available. Please click here for more information.