Here are some questions people ask us all the time.
Have a question that’s not asked or answered here? Feel free to give us a call at 412-281-0912 during office hours.
Come as you are or glam it up!
On Saturdays – opening nights – some like to wear a suit or step out in a special dress. But just wear whatever makes you feel comfortable! On weeknights people often show up in what they wore to the office that day, and on Fridays and Sundays, we see everything from dressy to jeans.
How can I understand what they're singing about?
Easy! You can read the English texts projected above the stage, just like subtitles at the movies. You can also read the story ahead of time or come early enough to read it in your program book. Whether you prepare or not, you'll understand every word!
The shortest opera we know of is 13 minutes long, and the longest one takes 7 days! You can find the running time for each opera we present on its main website page, under "Details and Resources."
What's a good show for opera newbies this season?
Typically first-timers like to start with classics like The Marriage of Figaro (coming this November, 2022) or Il Trovatore (coming March, 2023) at the Benedum Center. They've got famous and familiar music, fantastic casts, traditional sets and costumes, and, well, that grand-opera grandness that so many people love.
You'll understand every word with the English texts projected above the stage.
Is it OK to bring kids to the opera?
Of course! Opera is fun for the whole family. We have kids who come to our student matinees and then make their parents come back so they can see the show again. The main thing is that your child should be able to sit quietly for long periods of time. Third or fourth graders are usually fine, but parents are the best judge. Pittsburgh Opera sells tickets for kids and teens ages 6-18 for half-price, to make it easier for you to expose them to this wonderful art form.
Some operas – OK, most operas – have adult themes. Murder, revenge, lust – all that stuff that grown-ups find so interesting. Kids do best if you prepare them in advance. Tell them the story of the opera, play some of the music, or watch a few videos on YouTube. Have your little Warhols and Cassatts draw pictures of their favorite characters or imagine what the set might be like. Be creative!
Is there any special etiquette I should know about?
A little common courtesy is all you need. It probably bothers you when people talk and rattle their candy wrappers at the movies, or talk on their phones, or show up late, or get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the show. If something is considered poor form at the movies, it's probably poor form at the opera too.
If you’re not sure when to clap, just wait until everybody else does. If you really like what you hear, yell, “Bravo!” Or just cheer!
Is Pittsburgh Opera still performing at the Benedum Center?
Yes! Our mainstage productions are at the Benedum Center. Our 2022-23 season features Rusalka, The Marriage of Figaro and Il Trovatore at the Benedum Center live and large on the grand stage.
Here's information about parking near each of our performance venues.
Parking near the Benedum Center
The are several parking garages within a few blocks of the Benedum Center.
- The big blue Theater Square Garage (entrance on 7th St. between Penn Ave and Ft. Duquesne Blvd) - As of October 2019, their evening/weekend rates are $20, but Pittsburgh Opera subscribers can buy parking vouchers for $15 each. Besides saving money, these come in handy when there’s a lot going on downtown because you're guaranteed a spot. To buy vouchers, call 412-281-0912.
- The Smithfield & Liberty garage, 629 Smithfield Street. As of October 2019, their evening/weekend rates are just $6.
- The 6th & Penn garage on Penn Ave between 6th & 5th, has $15 night/weekend rates as of October 2019.
You can get real-time parking availability at ParkPGH.
Parking near CAPA Theater
Since the demolition of the old parking garage at 9th and Penn, the closest sizable lots are:
- Smithfield & Liberty garage, 629 Smithfield Street. As of October 2019, their evening/weekend rates are just $6.
- Convention Center garage, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, enter on 10th Street. As of October 2019, their night rate is $5 and "Event Rate" $13.
Parking near Bitz Opera Factory
Street parking is generally available on Penn Avenue, and there is a surface lot at 24th and Penn, right beside Harp & Fiddle.
What time should I arrive for the show?
We typically suggest you arrive 30 - 45 minutes before the start time in order to find parking, find your seat, and settle in.
How can I learn more about the productions?
We’ve got lots of ways to get you tuned in. Try the free Pre-Opera Talks with Kristin Gatch one hour before every curtain at Benedum Center and CAPA Theater performances. You'll hear the story of the opera, some background about the composer, and maybe some behind-the-scenes stories.
Meet the Artists is after each Tuesday performance. Enjoy great coversation as the singers, conductor and General Director Christopher Hahn talk about the production and their experiences. You may be surprised to see how funny and down-to-earth these artists really are.
Can’t wait until showtime? Then tune in to 89.3 FM or visit the WQED-FM website for WQED’s Pittsburgh Opera Preview Show.
Gotta have the information right now? Check out the 2021-22 season page for the opera you’re interested in, and explore! You’ll find the story, music and video, cast biographies, and other features. If that’s still not enough, give us a call during office hours: 412-281-0912, ext. 3.
Do you have services for people with visual impairments?
Yes! Audio Description is available for people with visual impairments during the second Tuesday performance during the 2020-21 season.
Using hearing devices, you can hear the supertitles read along with descriptions of the set, characters, and costumes. We also have Braille and large-print program summaries available.
To arrange seating and take advantage of special pricing for Audio Description seats, call Regina Connolly ahead of time at 412-281-0912, ext. 213. For other accessibility information, click here.
Where's the theater? Where's the Box Office? What about wheelchair access?
Click the location links below for Google maps.
The Benedum Center
The Benedum Center is Pittsburgh Opera's principal stage, at the corner of Penn Avenue & 7th Street in downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District.
• The Cultural District Box Office at Theater Square is at 665 Penn Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh. Phone: 412-456-6666.
• The Benedum Center Box Office is located in the Benedum Center, just inside the lobby doors. It's open 2 hours before each production.
CAPA Theater is located in Pittsburgh Creative & Performing Arts School, at the corner of Ft. Duquesne and 9th Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
Bitz Opera Factory
The Bitz Opera Factory in the Strip is between Penn and Liberty and between 24th and 25th streets.
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center
The AWAACC is located in downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District at 908 Liberty Ave.
Click here for information about wheelchair access and other accessibility accommodations at our performance locations.
Groups of 6 or more are eligible for a group discount.
Final payment is due 3 weeks prior to the selected performance so that the tickets can be mailed in advance. A group’s ticket count may be changed until final payment is made. Although we will make every effort to seat groups together, it cannot be guaranteed and so we recommend making reservations as early as possible. After final payment is processed, tickets may not be refunded, returned, or exchanged.
For more information about group tickets, please contact email@example.com.
Can I bring a bag into the Benedum Center?
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has implemented new security and bag policies, effective starting October 1, 2016, at the Benedum Center and their other venues.
You can read their Safety & Security statement, which includes an updated list of prohibited items, and read their Bag Policy, on their website.
What are your COVID-19 policies?
We are glad you asked! Learn all about our COVID-19 health and safety measures here!
We update this page regularly, so be sure to check back before attending a performance for the most up-to-date information.