While Italy has its fair share of arts and cultural attractions to entice your attention on your next trip to this beautiful part of Europe, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a night at the opera in one of the world’s most romantic countries.
After all, the best musical events in Italy are the ones that take you by surprise and inspire new but thrilling emotions within you. And when it comes to opera, you’re in for a true feast for all of the senses by the time that final curtain has come down.
But what can you expect when you make the decision to immerse yourself in this unique and powerful art form?
Expect people who love to dress up
There’s a common misconception that the opera is strictly for the wealthy and elite. However, you’ll soon find that people from all walks of life enjoy attending the opera. And yes, they love to dress up for the special occasion!
Many opera houses don’t have a strict dress code, as long as you’re looking relatively smart. But that doesn’t mean the majority of the audience won’t make the most of this night and put on the full black-tie and ballgown wear.
Expect a lot of applause!
The opera is the perfect place to show your appreciation of the emotions and passion that the performers have put into their show, but it’s important to know where to clap and when to be respectful of the people on stage.
In general, people tend to applaud at the end of an overture (a musical performance at the beginning of the opera), the end of an act, or at the end of a truly powerful solo or duet piece. At the very end of the performance, it’s common to hear appreciative audience members shout out “Bravo” (for males) or “Brava” (for females).
Expect a long night ahead
When you include intermissions, operas can last anything from 2-5 hours, depending on which show you choose to see. It’s not much different from a theatrical play, in that you’ll get to have a drink or stretch your legs during these intervals, before being notified to go back to your seats for the next act to begin.
It’s a good idea to enjoy a sit-down meal in a restaurant before the performance, and not afterwards. There’s nothing worse than being distracted from such an incredible experience because your growling stomach is trying to perform a solo of its own!
You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the show
Many people who attend the opera are connoisseurs who regularly go to these kinds of events. But there are also plenty of people who are just there to experience something new.
By all means, you’re welcome to do some research into the plot and themes of your chosen opera, but it’s by no means going to make the evening any less special if you decide to simply live in the moment and watch with completely fresh eyes.