Never been to the opera before? Considering experiencing it for the first time? Here are some handy questions and answers to give you an idea of what will be in store for you…
I’ve never been to the opera before, what should I expect?
Opera deals with all kinds of human experiences and it can really surprise audiences how relevant something written many years ago can feel today. If you’re someone who loves emotion in its rawest form, seeing The Barber of Seville will make for a truly compelling theatrical experience. Just like a good piece of theatre, operas contain a broad variety of art forms, so you can expect to hear and see everything from music, comedy, drama and even visual arts all combined – meaning there really is something for everyone to enjoy!
What makes opera at Tobacco Factory Theatres unique?
The great thing about coming to Tobacco Factory Theatres is that anything you see in our Factory Theatre will feel intimate, putting you right at the heart of the action. But opera in that space goes one step further; the stunning music gives you goose bumps at such close range and it’s a real privilege to see and hear world class singers and orchestral musicians so close up. Like many of our theatre productions, the opera is performed in the round in the Factory Theatre. Performing in the round presents an exciting challenge for companies and ensures a thrilling experience for audiences, who literally surround all the action.
Why should I give opera a try for the first time?
There are so many reasons to give opera a try if you’re a newcomer! If you like theatre and live music, why not broaden your horizons and combine them both in opera?! From experiencing an opera in this most intimate setting up close to all the action, to getting the chance to see one of the most entertaining operas combining great music, funny characters and a fast moving plot, The Barber of Seville is a brilliantly fun show to see if you’re a first timer. Plus we have affordable ticket prices starting at just £12 with £10 tickets for audiences aged 16-26. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better evening’s entertainment!
How long is it?
Most operas are the length of an average film (roughly between two to three hours long). The running time for The Barber of Seville is approximately 2hrs 45mins, including an interval, during which you’ll have time to visit the toilet, grab a drink from the bar or stretch your legs before the second half gets started.
How much does it cost?
Seeing an opera doesn’t cost as much as you think! We have several pricing options, starting at a very reasonable £12 (price band C) and students and young people aged 16-26 can pick up £10 tickets on price band B and C seats. All our tickets and prices are subject to availability so don’t let price be a barrier to you taking a chance on trying opera for the first time and get your tickets today!
What will it sound like?
No two operas are the same; the music of one composer can sound totally unlike another. But you can normally expect a brilliant live orchestra and singers who are trained to project their voices over the music (without using a microphone!). In an intimate setting like Tobacco Factory Theatres, this is a particularly thrilling experience – especially with a high-energy show like The Barber of Seville, which is full of instantly recognisable numbers.
Is it in English?
Yes! Opera Project perform their operas with English translations. The Barber of Seville is an original translation by director Richard Studer, fully capturing the laugh-out-loud humour of this universally beloved opera. You can find out more by visiting the show page.
Do I need to know the story beforehand?
It’s up to you! There’s no need to read up beforehand, although you might find it handy to read the plot synopsis.The Barber of Seville is a farcical story with several plot twists and characters putting on multiple disguises, so if you want to be ahead of the game, we have put together this brief overview of the story.
Is there any opera etiquette (dress code, when to clap etc)?
Not really – there’s no dress code for opera here at Tobacco Factory Theatres, but if you want to dress up and make a special occasion of it, you’re more than welcome! Applause generally comes at the end of an Act, and after a particularly impressive solo or duet. Throughout history there have been lots of different opinions on when to clap during an opera. We don’t mind – if you like something enough to clap, just go for it! However if you’re unsure at any point, you can always take your cue from others around you.
What age is it for?
Again, this varies from opera to opera but as a rough guide, we’d say that a show as fun and entertaining as The Barber of Seville will be enjoyable for nearly everyone. The fact that it has a plot full of twists and turns and is longer than some theatre productions is however unlikely to make it suitable for young children.