FAQs

The art of attending opera can be a joyful and wonderful experience. It can also be terrible if you don't feel welcomed. Our goal is to welcome everyone to Portland Opera. Here is some information that might help.

I am not sure if opera is for me. 
Are suits required? I don't know what to wear.
You are welcome at Portland Opera. 

Come as you are! A few years ago, the question about what to wear to Portland Opera was asked on Reddit, and a user responded with:

“This is something I have always loved about Portland; people wear whatever they want. It doesn't matter, just go. Buy a ticket and enjoy the experience.”

We agree! Some people attend Portland Opera in full gowns or tuxedos, and others in jeans and hoodies. We've had amazing audience members show up dressed in costumes that they created to match the era of the opera.

We love being Portland’s opera, and that means that we hope you will attend wearing whatever makes you feel ready to be inspired. 

I don't speak Italian or whatever. Will I understand it?

We sing opera in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian and other languages, but you do not need to be multilingual to enjoy or understand opera. 

For each of our production, we have live captions above the stage, so that you can see a translation of what is being sung. Sometimes you don't even need the captions to understand, on a human level, what is happening in these epic and heartfelt stories. 

We hope that language barriers won't keep you from the universal experiences of story and song. 

Opera is dead and elitist. Why bother?

We don't think that opera is dead, and we do not want it to be elitist. Opera began as the people's art form, and we are energized by that notion. We believe in the future of the opera. We continue the timeless tradition of storytelling, we celebrate the universal language of music, and we honor the brilliance of the human voice.

Opera speaks a universal language: human emotion. We think that even if you've never been to an opera before, you already "know" opera—because as people we all experience things like grief, joy, love, loss, and adventure. Opera can help us make sense of the joys and challenges of the day. 

And even if you end up not loving the performance (which is up to you!), we still think that hearing opera singers live, without a microphone, is one of the most inspiring experiences in the world. We hope you'll give it a chance, and maybe even a second chance. You might just fall in love. 

What about children at the opera?

We think children are great, but we ask that children under the ages of two not attend mainstage performances at the opera. Also, some of our operas deal with and depict adult content. You know your child, and so if you are considering bringing a child to the opera, please feel free to reach out to us to discuss the production, themes, and content. Alexis Hamilton, our Manager of Education and Community Engagement, is a wonderful resource for these questions. Send her an email. 

I am trying to plan ahead. What should I know?
How can I get tickets?

The best way to purchase tickets to a performance is online, or by calling our Patron Services team at 503-241-1802. Our regular box office hours are Monday - Wednesday 10 AM - 5 PM, and they vary on  performance days. You can buy tickets online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Some opera fans opt to become subscribers - which means that they buy a package of two or more operas in a season, and receive a discount and special subscriber benefits. The biggest discount is when you buy a traditional subscription, meaning "Thursday nights" or "Sunday matinees." We also offer flexible subscriptions with a discount, and those flexible packages mean that subscribers can choose different nights to attend the opera. You can learn more about subscriptions here. 

Do you offer special discounts?

We do have some special ticket types and discounts available through various community partners.  For instance, we offer U.S. Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families special offers; we also participate in Arts for All, offering special tickets for audience members with Oregon Trail cards. 

How do I get to the theatre, and where can I park?

Portland Opera's performs in three Portland venues, and each of them is available via public transit, bike paths, and by car. Check the venue of your performance, and then plan your visit by by clicking on the link below for specific venue information. 

The Keller Auditorium

222 SW Clay Street
Portland, OR

The Newmark Theatre

located in Antoinette Hatfield Hall
1111 SW Broadway
Portland, OR

The Hampton Opera Center

211 SW Caruthers Street
Portland,  OR

My performance is coming up. How do I prepare?

Check your email the week of the performance! We will send you a detailed “Plan Your Visit” e-mail with specific details about the performance on the date you will be attending. This email includes a schedule (including what time the box office and theater opens, how long the show is, etc.), details about pre-show lectures and post-show conversations, a link to the digital version of the program, and info about any special events that may be happening that day.

Please remember to forward this email to any guests you will bringing along! 

I have a special request

Are you planning a proposal at the opera, or marking a special anniversary or occasion?  Reach out to us and we'll talk through some ways we can add to the joy of your celebration. 

Email us: concierge@portlandopera.org

Digital Performances and Experiences

Learn more about Portland Opera Onscreen, and how to access digital performance options. 

Hooray! It's the day of the show.
When should I arrive?

We recommend that you arrive at the theatre at least a half-hour before the performance. That said, you should plan ahead for bridges being up, Will Call lines, and whether or not you'd like to attend the pre-show lecture that happens before each performance.

What is the pre-show lecture?

The pre-show lecture is an opportunity to enhance your opera experience by learning about the context and history of the work. Experts and artists provide unique insights and share their knowledge by answering any questions you might have as well.

Pre-show lectures are free for all ticket holders and begin one hour before each performance. In some instances, they may be available to view online in advance of your digital performance. 

Is there Coat Check available?

There are attended coat check rooms available at the Keller Auditorium and Newmark Theatre.  At the Hampton Opera Center, there are unattended coat racks available in common spaces. 

Where are the all gender single stall accessible restrooms?

There are all gender single stall ADA restrooms available at the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, and Hampton Opera Center.  There are single stall, all gender restrooms at the Antoinette Hatfield Hall (where the Newmark Theatre is). One is located on the orchestra level (second floor) facing Broadway near Matthew's Bar on the east side of the building.  

At the Keller Auditorium, there is a single stall all gender accessible restroom on the north side of the first floor orchestra level lobby, as well as on the second balcony level. 

At the Hampton Opera Center, there is an all gender single stall accessible restroom on the north side of the first floor, down the hallway past the main lobby. 

What about food and beverage?

We offer concessions before the show and at intermission.

Drinks may be brought into the theatre, as long as they are covered with lids and purchased at the theatre. Food is not permitted in the theatre. 

What if I leave my seat during a performance?

This is never a popular response, but here goes: if you leave your seat during a performance to use the restroom or step out of the theatre, we may not be able to let you back in.

And, if we can let you back in, you may be escorted to "late seats" for the remainder of the act, rather than being able to return to your ticketed seat. 

And, if we can let you back in, you may be asked to wait for a pause or otherwise safe moment for re-entry. Our admissions staff knows when these moments are, and will direct you when it is safe or a good time to head into the theatre. 

This circumstance is handled differently depending on the performance venue, because of safety concerns and scale. Please review our full policies here. 

Where can I pump breast milk at the opera?

P'5 does not offer a designated pumping room at either the Newmark Theatre or the Keller Auditorium.  That said, our House Management team will work with you to find a comfortable private place to pump. Please stop by the Concierge booth or find a staff member for assistance. 

The Hampton Opera Center does not have a designated pumping room at this time. We do have clean, comfortable private office spaces available with tables, chairs, and electricity, and can certainly make these spaces available to you. Please simply ask a member of our team. 

Can I keep my program?

YES! We’d love for you to hold on to your program. Toi Toi Toi: A Magazine for Portland Opera is offered to every single patron free of charge all season long. If you’d prefer not to keep it, we are happy to recycle it for you.

When do I clap? Should I really shout "Bravo?"

You may clap whenever you are moved to do so, and you can totally shout "Bravo." 

That said, here is the traditional answer: audiences will clap when the conductor takes their place at the podium and after each act, or after a particularly moving aria or chorus piece. If you’re nervous, you can always follow the lead of those around you. But let's be honest: if you are inspired by what you see or hear onstage, by all means: let the performers know!

Also, traditionally opera audiences shout out at the performers when they are really moved at the end of a solo, duet, or performance:

Bravo! for an opera singer who is a man

Brava! for an opera singer who is a woman

Bravi tutti!  for an ensemble/everyone/more than one person/gender neutral option

Does anything happen after the performance?

After every performance, cast members, collaborators, or company members will gather on stage for a post-show conversation with the audience. You are welcome to stay if you'd like to share a reaction, question, or simply listen to the conversation. 

When things don't go according to plan. 
What happens if I am late?

We understand how terrible it can feel when you're running late. Our team will do our best to welcome you and figure out what makes the most sense for your situation. We'll talk through late seating options (which is different depending on the performance venue) if they are available. 

In some instances, our team might not be able to provide late seating or entry. Also, if we can provide late seating options, it means that you will be escorted to late seats, rather than your ticketed seat, and then at intermission you can take your ticketed seats. 

Please review our policies. 

We understand that sometimes our policies can be frustrating. Please know that there are safety concerns for you and also our performers and production team when we consider late seating options and entry into the theatre. 

In each venue, please respect the instructions of our House Management and admissions staff team, and share any complaints or concerns with our Patron Services team by emailing concierge@portlandopera.org.

What if I leave my seat during a performance?

This is never a popular response, but here goes: if you leave your seat during a performance to use the restroom or step out of the theatre, we may not be able to let you back in.

And, if we can let you back in, you may be escorted to "late seats" for the remainder of the act, rather than being able to return to your ticketed seat. 

And, if we can let you back in, you may be asked to wait for a pause or otherwise safe moment for re-entry. Our admissions staff knows when these moments are, and will direct you when it is safe or a good time to head into the theatre. 

This circumstance is handled a differently depending on the performance venue, because of safety concerns and scale. Please review our full policies here. 

Who do I contact about Lost & Found items?

If you've misplaced an item at the Keller Auditorium or Newmark Theatre, please call 503.274.6551. 

If you've misplaced an item at the Hampton Opera Center, please call 503-241-1802. 

You can also email concierge@portlandopera.org. 

What happens if I am not feeling well?

Please do not attend the opera if you are under the weather, because you could make others sick, and make your own symptoms worse. Give us a call at 503-241-1802 and we'll talk through options. 

If you feel unwell or need medical assistance at the performance, our team can help.  We often have medical technicians onsite, and we will call emergency responders if needed. Seek the help of an usher and we will assist you. We value your health and wellbeing. 

What happens if there is an emergency?

If you witness a medical emergency of someone who is seated nearby, please alert the nearest usher. 

If needed, for medical emergencies or any other type of urgent matter, we may pause the performance or share an announcement so that we can do our best to keep everyone safe. 

I have a complaint or compliment to share.

We welcome your feedback! We want the chance to address your concerns, and/or learn from you when things went well.  Please email concierge@portlandopera.org, or stop by the Concierge Booth in the lobby and ask if there is someone you can speak with to share your experience. 

Do you have a questions we didn't cover on this page? Please let us know.

Email us.  

Gallery: Audience Experiences