Frequently Asked Questions
Be sure to see our Opera 101 as well!
What should we wear to the opera?
Business attire is the norm for opera, but anything goes, from jeans to your favorite evening gown! You’ll see more formal attire on opening night and at Saturday night performances; the mid-week performance and Sunday matinees tend to be a bit more casual. However, the rule of thumb is simple: If it makes you feel like a million bucks, wear it!
Where is the AT&T Performing Arts Center?
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center is located on a site between Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Ross Avenue at the eastern end of the Arts District in Downtown Dallas, next door to the Meyerson Symphony Center. Click here for more specific directions, or click here to find us on Google Maps.
Where do we park to access the Winspear Opera House?
All parking in and around the AT&T Performing Arts Center is paid parking. Ample parking is available within a few short blocks of both the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre. Parking in the Lexus Red Parking location is a benefit of Inner Circle membership. Limited non-donor parking may be available on performance nights for $15 per car depending on capacity for the evening. The parking garage at One Arts Plaza will also be available for a fee for patrons on performance nights. One Arts Plaza is just a short walk away from the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and offers a variety of restaurants to stop and have a meal before the performance.
For more information and a parking map, see Directions and Parking.
Tell us more about the new opera house.
Designed by Foster + Partners under Pritzker Prize-winning architect Norman Foster, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House has been engineered specifically for performances of opera and musical theater with its stages equipped for performances of ballet and other forms of dance. A 21st century reinterpretation of the traditional “horseshoe” opera house, the Winspear Opera House‘s principal performance space, the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall, will seat 2,200 (with capacity up to 2,300) and features retractable screens, a spacious fly-tower and variable acoustics. The Winspear Opera House also includes the Nancy Hamon Education and Recital Hall, a space that can be used for smaller performances seating audiences up to 200, as well as classes, rehearsals, meetings and events. For more information, visit the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s website.
Should we eat before we go?
Most operas last an entire afternoon or evening. While a variety of drinks are served at intermission, it’s a good idea to eat beforehand, if you have the time. Pre-performance dining options are available at restaurants located in nearby Uptown and throughout the downtown Arts District. One Arts Plaza offers a variety of restaurants to stop and have a meal before the performance, and on performance nights, you can park in its parking garage for a fee.
Will they be singing in English?
Not unless the opera happens to be English or American. The Dallas Opera has traditionally performed operas in their original languages. This isn’t a hurdle for contemporary audiences because easy-to-read English translations are projected above the stage throughout every performance, even if sung in English. You’ll never be left in the dark!
Can I purchase a ticket at the door?
Although some sections of the Winspear Opera House are sold out for specific performances, good seats are still available for would-be subscribers. Single tickets will be available at the door for a slightly higher price than advance purchase tickets, unless the performance is already sold-out. For additional information, contact the friendly Dallas Opera Ticket Services staff at 214.443.1000.
I have an extra ticket, what can I do with it?
Bring a friend, neighbor, co-worker or loved one and treat them to a fabulous new experience! If that simply isn’t possible, you are welcome to donate your extra ticket up to one hour prior to curtain for a tax deduction equal to the amount you paid. Call The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office during regular business hours at 214-443-1000. Your receipt for your ticket donation will be mailed to you in January.
We’re not sure we can get there on time. Is this a problem?
We regret to inform you that there is no late seating for any performance of The Dallas Opera. This is a courtesy to both the singers and other members of the audience. If you should happen to arrive after the opera has begun, you will be asked to view the performance on a closed-circuit television monitor, conveniently located in the lobby, until first intermission. In order to get the most out of your opera experience, it’s really important to arrive prior to curtain time. Evening performances typically begin at 7:30 PM and matinées at 2:00 PM, but sometimes earlier if the opera is long. For details, find your performance’s page here.
I’d rather not drive — can I use public transportation?
Yes, indeed! Whether you’re coming from far North Dallas or the other side of the Trinity River, you can arrive at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House by DART rail, exiting at the Pearl Street DART station located just a few short blocks from the Grand Portico.
We got here early. What is there to do?
Congratulate yourself! You’ll be cool, calm and collected when the curtain goes up. The Dallas Opera offers a FREE informational discussion in Hammon Hall one hour prior to each performance. Pre-performance dining options are located at nearby One Arts Plaza, in Uptown and elsewhere within the Arts District. Be sure to stroll the Grand Lobby and the Grand Portico, or check out the activity in nearby Annette Strauss Artist Square, as well as the Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park. People-watching is a traditional part of opera-going!
What about after we take our seats?
First and foremost, relax! It’s time to let go of the stresses and strains of the day and reward yourself. Some people like to take the minutes before a performance to share an intimate conversation with their seatmate. Others prefer to look over the program book, read the synopsis or articles designed to enhance the opera-going experience, or find out how many intermissions they can expect. Please don’t forget to turn off your cellphone, and if you plan to have a lozenge or hard candy handy to soothe a ticklish throat, now’s the time to fish it out of your pocket or purse.
How long will the performance last?
It depends on the production. In general, you can expect an opera to last between two-and-a-half and three hours, including intermissions. Works by certain composers, like Richard Wagner, can run longer. For details, find your performance’s page here.
When should I applaud?
For an opera singer, the only thing better than giving a great performance is to have it acknowledged by an appreciative audience. However, your applause needs to wait until the performer has finished singing. If in doubt, hold your applause until the people around you begin to clap. If you are extra enthusiastic about what you’ve just heard, feel free to shout “Bravo!” if the singer is a man, and “Brava!” for a lady. Of course, there is always applause at the end of each act and opportunities for curtain calls, stamping, whistling and standing ovations at the end of each opera. Go for it!
Is it okay to laugh?
Yes, certainly! If it’s funny!
What can we expect at intermission?
Intermissions at The Dallas Opera are twenty minutes long, unless the program indicates otherwise. You are encouraged to purchase additional tickets at the box office (open during the first intermission) or relax and enjoy a drink with your friends. Announcements will let you know that the intermission is ending and it’s time to turn off your cellphone and return to your seat. Once the doors are closed, you will not be allowed to enter the performance hall.
What if I have to leave the auditorium during the performance?
Please try to do so as discreetly and quietly as possible, for the sake of other patrons. And be aware that once you have left the auditorium, we cannot allow you to return until the next intermission; however, you are welcome to sit and view the performance on a closed-circuit monitor in the lobby.
How will we know when the opera is over?
There are two clues to watch for: a wild outpouring of applause, cheers, and whistles and — simultaneously — the sight of select audience members sprinting up the aisles at the speed of light. If you feel elated following the performance, show it! Now’s your chance to cheer, whistle and stomp to your heart’s content! The artists love it, of course.
Where can I find out more about this opera?
Start here or ask at your local library. And welcome to the incredible world of opera!