Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a few of the most frequently asked questions, feel free to browse below or visit our First Timer’s Guide by clicking here.
When should I arrive?
It is always a good idea to arrive early to the opera to ensure you are able to find your seat and get settled before the performance begins. If you are late, you may miss the first overture or even the first act!
What should we wear to the opera?
Business attire is the norm, but anything goes, from jeans to your favorite evening gown! Many people think of a night at the opera as a glamorous event and an excuse to bring out the fancy attire. But, it is also acceptable to dress comfortably and be you. If a sequined dress or a tux isn’t your thing, come in whatever you think is appropriate for an evening out.
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.
Will they be singing in English?
Not unless the opera happens to be English or American. The Opera Idaho 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 ever be left in the dark!
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, and find out how many intermissions they can expect. Don’t forget to turn off your cellphone and if you plan to have a throat lozenge or hard candy handy, now’s the time to fish it out of your 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.
When should I applaud?
Whenever you feel like it. No – just kidding! 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, “Brava!” for a lady or “Bravi!” for a superb ensemble or chorus. 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!
Tell me about intermission.
Intermissions at Opera Idaho are fifteen minutes long, unless the program indicates otherwise.
First Timer’s Guide
Not sure what to expect (or what to wear) when going to the opera? This section includes tips to help you and your fellow opera-goers get the most out of the experience.
The Egyptian Theatre
700 W. Main St.
Boise, ID 83702
VIP Parking & Parking Vouchers
Free parking vouchers are available to all LifeBlood members. All-day parking vouchers are available to season subscribers for $18 (Mainstage operas only). That’s over 50% savings from regular price. Call Fernando at 345-3531 ext. 3 to purchase your voucher.
Parking for The Egyptian Theatre
Convenient parking is available at the Eastman, Capitol-Terrace, and Boulevard Garages downtown. Visitors receive the first hour free in Downtown Boise and each additional hour is $2.50, with a $12.00 daily max charge.
2201 W Cesar Chavez Ln, Boise
The Morrison Center has their own parking lot.
2701 E Pine Ave, Meridian
Scentsy Commons has several parking lots on their premises.
It’s a good idea to check on potential traffic tie-ups before you leave. Click below for more information:
Plan on arriving at least 25 minutes before the performance.
Bus routes which run throughout the Treasure Valley. For bus routes, schedules, and trip planning, visit Valley Ride, call (208) 345-7433 in Boise or (208) 345-7433 in Nampa, or click here to visit their website.
Beverages and Simple Snacks
Starbucks coffee, espresso and Jones Soda beverages complimented by simple snacks and sweets, including Gelato throughout the hall.
Click here for more information.
Additional Dining Options around Downtown Boise
A wide array of restaurants are within walking distance of The Egyptian Theatre. Check out the Downtown Boise Association Guide for a complete list.
The Egyptian Theatre is located in the heart of Downtown Boise on the Northwest corner of Main Street and Capitol Blvd. Please visit the Downtown Boise Association Guide for a comprehensive Boise hotel and lodging list. However, our preferred vendors are listed below:
Etiquette and Outfits
Don’t be Late!
For most performances, Opera Idaho does allow latecomers to take their seats during an appropriate pause in the music, however, it is very disruptive to fellow opera goers and we therefore ask you to please make your best attempt to arrive early.
Be a Quiet Audience Member!
The talents of Opera Idaho’s singers and musicians are presented without amplification. There is no Dolby™ Stereo in the Egyptian Theatre, and some of the most dramatic moments in opera are the quietest. Please don’t create noisy disruptions such as talking, rustling programs, or fiddling with candy wrappers or singing or humming along with the opera.
Show Appreciation Appropriately!
Enthusiastic displays of appreciation are always welcome after a well-executed aria. If you’re not exactly sure when to react, just follow the crowd. Feel free to shout “Bravo!”
What to Wear
Once patronized mainly by royalty, opera today is enjoyed by people from all walks of life. In modern day Boise, you’ll see opera-goers wearing everything from ball gowns to Birkenstocks. Feel free to dress up for a special night out, dress down for comfort, or find your own happy medium.
- Please unwrap all cough drops and candies before the curtain rises.
- Please use moderation in applying perfume, cologne, or scented lotion; many people are highly allergic to perfumes.
- Avoid hats that might obstruct the view of the person seated behind you. Also please leave jewelry that may make noise (for example: bangles) at home.
- Please, no babes in arms in the theater.
- Many operas contain adult themes. Before bringing children, it is best to make sure that the material is appropriate for their age or maturity level. Our office staff can help you make this determination.
- If bringing children, instruct them in proper audience behavior. It is also helpful to familiarize them with the story and the score so that they know what to expect.
- Please turn off all beepers, cell phones, and watch alarms before entering the theater.
- The Overture is part of the performance. Please refrain from talking at this point.
- Please refrain from talking, humming, singing, or beating time to the music during the performance.
- Avoid kicking the back of the seat in front of you; this is very annoying, even if it is done in time to the music. Also, watch your children to prevent their doing the same.
- We realize that traffic both in and out of the theater can be congested following a performance; still, it is distracting to other patrons to leave while the show is still in progress. Thank you for your consideration.
Although opera is usually performed in its original language—generally Italian, German, or French—you don’t need to speak a foreign language to understand it. Opera Idaho projects Supertitles, a simultaneous translation of the sung words, above the stage during every opera performance. These are visible from every seat in the Egyptian Theatre.
Think of Supertitles as the subtitles in foreign movies.
(Even the operas sung in English are usually captioned. Why? In singing, vowels are held longer, and this distortion sometimes makes it difficult to understand every word.)
What Opera Isn’t
What makes opera different from a Broadway musical?
Apart from predating musicals by 400 years or so, operas generally feature fuller, more sophisticated orchestration. Furthermore, there are no amplification devices in opera. Every note is played or sung live.
And while many opera buffs call Turandot‘s famed tenor aria “Nessun dorma” (“No one sleeps”) a hit tune, not many Broadway performers would attempt to sing its vocally challenging high B.
Still, can’t musicals such as Phantom of the Opera, which is sung all the way through – like most (but not all) operas – be called an opera?
Often there is no clear “yes” or “no,” even with through-sung works. The only real answer may lie in the intent of the composer. Because Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote Phantom for the world of musical theater, it’s considered a musical.
Derived from a Spanish term which originally denoted love of bullfighting, it now means devoted fan or enthusiast and is used often to describe opera buffs.
A song for a single voice.
Male singer with an intermediate voice range, the most common voice among adult men.
Male singer with the deepest voice range.
Literally, “beautiful singing.” The term can refer to a type of opera that features this expressive style of singing or the actual singing itself, which packs an emotional wallop and features lots of embellishments. (See coloratura )
An enthusiastic expression shouted out by audience members at appropriate moments during (or after) the opera in appreciation for a well-sung aria, ensemble or performance. (“Brava!” is the expression for a female singer; “Bravi!” is the expression for more than one singer.)
Brilliant vocal acrobatics consisting of rapid notes, runs, and trills; a fundamental element of bel canto opera.
Male singer who sings in a woman’s voice range, usually performing roles originally written for castrati–male singers who were castrated as children, primarily in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to preserve their high, youthful voices.
Literally, “goddess.” A term used to categorize a leading soprano who puts on airs or who has been deified by her fans; although not always used as a compliment, the term has gained popularity (and more goddess-like connotations) in the world of popular music and culture.
Sometimes called English captions, surtitles or supratitles, these translations of the sung words, generated electronically during the opera performance, were first introduced in 1983 and revolutionized opera-going, opening it up to new audiences by making the stories and emotions more immediate and accessible.
Literally, “together.” Any duet, trio, quartet, or chorus where more than one character sings at the same time.
A style of opera, popular in the nineteenth century (particularly in France), famous for its pomp and pageantry. It often features elaborate costumes, sets, ballet, and other stage spectacle, as well as large casts.
Literally, “leading motif.” A musical device developed by Wagner in which a short melody as brief as three notes references a character, an emotion, or some other element in the story, then recurs as the opera progresses, adding further layers of meaning.
Literally, “little book.” A publication with all the words in an opera.
Literally, “master.” A form of address or title for the conductor of the orchestra (usually ensconced during an opera performance in the pit, the area underneath the stage that juts out toward the first row).
Female singer with a medium-to-low voice range.
Literally, “comic opera,” opera buffa draws its comic characters from everyday life.
A musical declaration, half-spoken, half-sung, usually with little accompaniment.
Female singer with the highest voice range. The most famous soprano of the twentieth century is the late Maria Callas.
A “spear carrier” or non-singing extra; often peasants, servants, soldiers, or crowds of unidentified people who play backround roles.
Male singer with a high range. Currently the most famous, known collectively as “The Three Tenors,” are José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti.
Sometimes called Trouser Role, is a male character sung by a woman, often a mezzo-soprano.
Romantic realism. Blood-and-guts opera, imbued with earthy, gritty situations and characters, that became popular after 1890.