Wow, that’s it! You’ve finally managed to get that ticket for your dream concert or opera, especially for this time of the Year End! Whether you are a dance, classical music or opera fan, it is likely that you will have one of the high-times of your life spending an evening in one of Europe’s most famous and prestigious music venues! But how to behave on such occasions? What is the expected attitude, the dos and don’ts during a concert night? Follow our guide and make yourself at ease just like the locals!
Performances in traditional theatres and halls are considered highly prestigious, including by the local crowd going there on a regular basis. They systematically start on-time and no admission will be accepted in the hall even one minute after the start.
Our advice? Arrive 15min early, at least. It will give you enough time to go through security check, check-in your coat at the cloakroom, and find your seat. For the most organized, arrive 30 or 45 minutes early: you will have time to wander in the theatre, check-out the beautiful decors and sip some champagne before the performance starts.
Did you miss the beginning? Well, you will be given access to your seat as soon as there is a break in the performance. That might actually be after 45 or 60 minutes…so really not something pleasant to experience.
What to wear at a concert or opera venue?
The dress code is definitely formal, though it tends to get more and more casual with time. My Next Memory notices that the more traditional and historical the theatre, the more formal the dress code. This also applies to the seating category of your tickets. While wearing jeans could be somehow OK for an upper seat at the very top of the room, it’s definitely not acceptable if you are seating in the “corbeille”, that is in the first category facing the Orchestra.
Beautiful evening dresses for ladies and a nice suit for gentlemen will do just fine. Remember that it is not a movie festival or red carpet either, so nothing too provocative or revealing is also of good taste.
In any case, ban sport shoes, sport clothes, shorts and anything sleeveless for such an occasion. Seriously.
Behaviours inside the concert hall
Shhh, the performance is starting! The golden rule in any classical concert, dance or opera performance is silence.
The audience comes here and pays a pretty high price to enjoy the performance, so anybody is expected to refrain from any noisy or annoying behaviour. For example:
- Take off any hat that could obstruct the view of people behind you
- Refrain from talking during the performance, including whispering to your neighbour
- Refrain from making noises. If you are sick, ensure you have some throat lozenges or some medicines to minimize the coughing and sneezing
- Switch off your mobile phone, COMPLETELY. No ringing, no vibration, no pictures.
- Do not eat or drink. Well, sneaking a small bottle of water in your bag may be possible, but anything else is not considered appropriate.
- Do not leave the hall during the performance, even to go to the washroom. Make sure you go during the breaks. If you have any personal issue that may require you to leave the hall unexpectedly, ask the attendant leading to your seat to change for an aisle seat.
For your information, dance performances usually last 1.5 hours, concerts about 2 hours and operas about 3 hours. So grabbing a little snack if not an entire dinner before the performance may be a good idea too J
When to applaud?
Traditionally, the audience is expected to enjoy the piece of musical art and performance entirely. That means that you are not supposed to applaud at any time or in the middle of a piece. Even when the music stops.
You only applaud at the end of a Part or the end of a Movement (that is just before the break time) and at the end of the entire performance.
That being said, things are getting more relaxed nowadays; and it may happen that people applaud whenever there is a musical break.
How about “Bravo”?
Screaming Bravo (in Italian “well done”) as a sign of appreciation for the artists and performers is absolutely fine, provided that you do it during the very final applause, at the very end of the concert and not before that.
When to leave the concert hall?
You are not supposed to leave the concert hall during the performance, even if you don’t like it. This is considered pretty rude actually. You may leave between Parts during the break time.
At the end of the concert or performance, you should traditionally wait for the artists to leave the stage before leaving as well.
Sometimes, the audience shows a high appreciation for the artists and people will be applauding all together at the same time: this means that they want the artists to come back on stage and perform some more. You may choose to stay or leave at that moment, it’s up to you.
We hope that thanks to our tips you will be fully appreciating this beautiful concert or performance you plan to attend, just as the locals do ! Check out the programs of Europe’s best opera halls, take a beautiful outfit and just go ! It is something you will never forget!