10 Opera Etiquette Rules | Golden Rules Gal

Sep, 12, 2019


My husband John and I at the San Francisco Opera Opening, 2017. 

As a college music major, classical pieces are the end all for me. At the San Francisco Opera opening last week, the pre-performance was spoiled by a group of hecklers who attempted to spoil the experience.  Luckily, the interruption was temporary.  In this day and age, when it comes to live performances we all need to be reminded that phones (and mouths) should be turned off before the concert begins. But it never hurts to brush up on your etiquette before you leave the house:

  1. Arrive at least 15 minutes early for the concert. It’s disruptive to make your way to your seat when most people are already seated in your aisle.
  2. Sit in your assigned seat. If you move to an empty seat, do so only at intermission and with the permission of an usher.
  3. Cell phones must be turned off completely, not just the ringer. Checking texts or reading news on a Smartphone during a concert make no sound, but the bright light is distracting.
  4. It is discourteous to record or take photos during a performance. Most venues have strict rules against this.
  5. Be respectful of your fellow patrons. If you are wearing a hat, remove it. If you have glasses on your forehead, remove them. Even sitting forward in your seat can block the view of the person behind you.
  6. It’s traditional to applaud when the conductor enters the stage, as well as when he or she leaves the stage after the concert, and during any curtain calls. Patrons may call out “bravo” and/or stand up during a curtain call to indicate special approval of the performance. However, avoid the whistling or yelling option.
  7. Don’t talk during the performance. Period. The slightest whisper can be disrupting.
  8. If you’re worried about coughing during the concert, bring throat lozenges. But unwrap them before the performance begins and pop them in your mouth quietly.
  9. Don’t leave your seat during a performance unless it’s an emergency.
  10. It’s rude to leave the concert hall before the applause ends and the lights come up.  Everyone wants to beat the crowd.

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