During the Opera

November 4, 2021 | By Opera Colorado | Opera Explained

By: Angelica DiIorio

You bought tickets, found parking, and made it through the line. Now is your time to simply enjoy the opera!

But wait, you might have a couple of questions before you can fully sit back and relax. When do I clap? I didn’t pay attention in Italian class—how will I know what is going on? How long will I be sitting? Fear not. We have all the answers to help you feel comfortable during the performance.

In this post, we will explore what you can expect while the curtain is up and the performance is live. We have been through a pandemic, so everything looks a little different, whether you are a returning patron or seeing your first opera. Despite these changes, opera has been beloved by many for hundreds of years. That makes one thing clear, no matter the changes, people’s love of live music is resilient.

As we return to in-person performances of all kinds, please come armed with empathy, kindness, and patience as you interact with the employees helping to implement new policies.

We are excited to welcome you back to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and hope you enjoy the opera. But first, let’s clear up some of these lingering questions.


Haven’t reserved your seats yet? Tickets for Tosca are on sale now>>>

I’m inside the opera house, but where do I go now?

If your tickets are for the orchestra or parterre, go into the house through the doors on the lobby floor. If your tickets are for the mezzanine, go up one floor either by stairs or elevator (press 2). If your tickets are for the lodge, press level 3, and then level 4 for the balcony. Ushers will be there to help you too!

Do you sing in English? How will I know what’s happening?

Our mainstage operas are almost always sung in the piece’s original language. You don’t need to stress about a language barrier, as every seat at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House has a personal subtitling system. You can find supertitles right above the stage as well, so your eyes never have to leave the performance. Translations are available in both English and Spanish. Plus, we print a full synopsis in each program book, and you can read the plot before you go with on the Opera Colorado Blog. You’ll find that spoilers aren’t a big problem with opera. Many of these stories will be familiar to you already, and even if it is new to you, many people find knowing the plot in advance helps them appreciate the performance even more.

How long are performances? Are there intermissions?

Tosca will last about two hours and forty-five minutes, including one 25-minute intermission following act one and one 20-minute intermission following act two.

When should I applaud? Can I cheer?

What artist doesn’t love the sound of applause and appreciate from the audience?
Photo: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus

Opera fans love to show their appreciation for the artists on stage and in the orchestra pit, so if you’re unsure of when to applaud or cheer, take your cues from your fellow patrons. Generally, the audience applauds when the conductor enters the orchestra pit just before the start of the performance, after a particularly moving or exciting aria (aka a solo piece), a small ensemble piece (duets, quartets, etc.), and at the end of acts.

You might also hear shouts of “Brava,” “Bravo,” or “Bravi” (to compliment a woman, man, or group, respectively) after an exceptionally good performance or during the bows after the performance. Feel free to join in!

Are food and drinks available at performances?

Enjoy a splash of something special during intermission at the opera house.

Yes. Full service, on-site dining is available pre-show at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House. Light snacks and a full bar are also available pre-show and during intermissions on the lobby and loge levels.

Pro tip: Pre-order your drinks so you can skip the long lines during intermission. Just go to any bar at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House before the start of the performance, pay for your order in advance, and your drinks will be waiting for you as soon as you exit the theater for intermission.

Please note: Patrons ages two and older will be asked to wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking.

Is there a lost and found?

Use the Lost & Found Form to report lost items from any venue in the Arts Complex. Please use this form first before taking any other action. Items found during an event are taken to the Arts Complex Communication Center (1345 Champa Street) and are held there for two weeks. You may also contact the Arts Complex Communication Center (720-865-4200) if you are having issues. They will answer your questions and then direct you to complete the Lost & Found Form to track your lost item.

Bored waiting in line for the bathroom?

To pass the time before the conclusion of intermission, discover some interesting facts about the production you are seeing. Check out our Overture: Tosca (link to come) post to read about all things Tosca. You’ll come back for the next act with a new appreciation for the singers, sets, and costumes—waiting in line has never been so productive.

How is Opera Colorado keeping everyone safe?

All patrons will be required to present an FDA or WHO emergency-approved or fully-approved vaccine or recent negative covid test before entering the building. Everyone ages two and above will be masked through the entire performance to help keep everyone safe. Thank you for cooperating and ensuring that everyone stays healthy!


You are officially ready to see Tosca! You are prepared for this performance, and there will be plenty of people ready to help you at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Most importantly, enjoy!

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, there is still time! Join us for Puccini’s masterpiece this November>>

Do you feel like an opera expert yet? What is your favorite part of the opera experience? Let us know what you thought of Tosca in the comments below.

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