What to Expect
Your first visit to the opera is one that you’ll never forget. Because it’s a new experience you may be wondering what you should expect, wear, do, and more.
Here is some information that will make your first visit to Opera Theater’s SummerFest a memorable experience that you’ll hopefully want to repeat again and again.
Opera is addictive—so prepare to get hooked!
SummerFest will utilize a number of different spaces within The Twentieth Century Club. The Art Deco Theater (located on the second floor) occupies a glorious Art Deco ballroom with lavish crystal chandeliers and painted murals representing the "frozen fountain." This theater will host performances of The Tales of Hoffmann–Retold, A Little Night Music, and The Secret Gardener/La finta giardiniera (albeit with a twist—see below). All seats are reserved, so you can choose exactly where you'd like to sit. [Art Deco Theater ]
All of the seating on the main floor is on the same level, but the Art Deco Theater also boast a series of boxes at the rear. These intimate boxes, each equipped with a round table and four chairs, are raised to provide superior sightlines, and offer a great way to enjoy the performance with friends or family. Also available is gallery level seating, for those who perfer to view the performances from above. (Please note the boxes and gallery level are each accessed via two steps, and are not wheelchair accessible.)
Performances of The Secret Gardener/La finta giardiniera, however, turn everything backwards! The seating faces the back of the theater, where the intimate box seats (and overlooking mezzanine) become the stage. [The Secret Gardener/La finta giardiniera ]
The Beaux Arts Ballroom (located on the fourth floor) provides a more intimate experience for performances of Shining Brow, Night Caps International, A Little Nightmare Music, and the Mozart in Concert programs. With audience seating on three sides of the stage, you'll experience opera close up, with no seat more than 15 feet from the stage.
Seating in the Beaux Arts Theater is contained in three rows—two on ground level (even with the stage), and a elevated third row. Seating for all performances in the Beaux Arts Theater is reserved, so please review seating charts to find the seat you want. [Beaux Arts Ballroom ]
Before arriving at The Twentieth Century Club for SummerFest, you will have the best experience if you do some homework and are familiar with the opera. Our website offers a number of great resources to prepare you for each of the operas this summer. A brief overview of the opera, as well as a synopsis and detailed cast listing, can be found on the page for each production. In addition, visit the Study the Operas page for more detailed background information and links to recordings and resources. Also, plan on arriving early to attend one of our free pre-performance lectures and discussions of the music, themes, and composers featuring our General and Artistic Director, Jonathan Eaton, and members of the artistic and production teams.
In deciding what to wear to SummerFest performances, the answer is easy: Dress up…but only if you feel like it! Some of those in attendance will be dressed in their Sunday best—you may even see a few people in ball gowns and tuxedos. You will also see some dressed much more casually, especially so if the weather is warm. But, ultimately, it’s up to you. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and allows you to enjoy all that’s going on around you!
When making the trip to the Twentieth Century Club in Oakland, be sure to give yourself enough time to deal with any road work being undertaken. Directions to the theater can be found here. Plan to arrive about 30 minutes prior to the published curtain time. To improve your experience, arrive a bit early to enjoy brunch or dinner in the Members Dining Room at the Twentieth Century Club, or sit in on one of the pre-performance talks led by Jonathan Eaton, General and Artistic Director of Opera Theater.
Parking is available just across the street from The Twentieth Century Club, in the parking garage of Soldiers and Sailors Hall. () Additional parking is available in the garage connected to the Wyndham University Center Hotel, or along adjacent streets in the evenings and on Sundays.
It’s best to order and print tickets prior to the day of the performance, but we also welcome those of you who decide to come for a performance at the last minute! If you need to purchase tickets on the day of a performance, stop by our Box Office at the theater, which opens at 6:00 p.m. for evening performances and 12 noon for Saturday and Sunday matinees. A member of our Box Office staff will gladly help you find the best seat available for the performance!
As the curtains part, and the artists and sets transport you to an entirely different place, feel free to applaud after a particularly breathtaking aria. If it inspires you, feel free to yell “Bravo!” Where else can you express your emotion to a particular piece so freely? Be sure to silence all cell phones, watches, and anything else that may go “beep” during the performance. What’s truly astonishing about an opera is when the drama has reached the highest point, and there is that one moment of silence in which the audience cannot wait to see what happens next. How unfortunate to have that moment interrupted by a loud ringer or alarm!
There will be one intermission offered at each performance: this is a great time to stroll around and take in the beauty of your surroundings, and enjoy a cool drink. This is also the time to use the restrooms and stretch your legs.
You may be curious to know who attends an opera performance on a given night. The great thing about our audience is that it is very diverse and constantly growing. You will see people of all ages and backgrounds walking through the doors on the night of a performance. Part of the beauty of opera is that it attracts many different types of people and touches each person differently. Whether you’re coming to take in the gorgeous sets and costumes, the beautiful music, or just to see what opera is all about, you will find someone else who is attending for the same reasons.
After the performance has ended, be sure to stick around and take part in the curtain call. Applaud and cheer for your favorite artist, acknowledge the conductor and orchestra, and see the entire cast onstage at the same time. After the opera, stay for a drink in the Cabaret Lounge and meet the singers whose work on stage stole your heart. It’s fun, informal, and everyone is welcome. For those who want something a little extra, stay out late and have a Night Cap!
We would like to hear about your experience at Opera Theater SummerFest 2013, and are open to suggestions and comments. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (or use our online form) and we will be in touch with you.
No matter what performance you see, the experience will be something you will never forget. See you at the opera!