Bring Your Kids Opera is not a remote art form that only the initiated appreciate. It reflects human conflicts and passions. It has inspired a level of devotion in some people best compared to that of a die-hard sports fan. Just as you do not need to know every statistic to enjoy watching a football game, you do not need to be a music or opera expert to enjoy a performance. While there are lots of factors that determine whether a young person is ready to enjoy an evening or afternoon at the opera, Sarasota Opera has a few tips to help determine when is the right time to bring your child to their first opera performance and what to expect. How old should you be? We recommend young people ages 8 and up who are able to sit quietly for at least an hour at a time without handheld distractions (iPads, toys, etc) attend our main stage opera performances.For those age 7 and under, we recommend our annual Sarasota Youth Opera production. These performances feature a cast of 80 to 100 young people ages 8 to 18 in operas that are written specifically for young voices to sing and for family audiences to enjoy. The best part is most Youth Opera programs are only 60 minutes long and all performances are sung in English. Are there breaks? Depending on the opera, each performance includes 1 or more 15 to 20-minute intermission. Even the best-behaved children (and adults!) need a break to use the restroom, buy a drink or snack, peruse the gift shop, or stretch their legs. What should we wear? Dress comfortably and be yourself. Opera is not the playground of the rich, and we work hard to make sure that everyone feels at home in our theater. At the Sarasota Opera House, "Opera Dress" can be khakis or jeans to evening gowns or tuxedos. What will we find at the Opera House? Supertitles - Real-time English translations are projected above the stage, providing immediate understanding of what is happening, and helping you experience the performance no matter what language the opera is sung in. Programs - We provide a free program with your opera ticket to guide you through the plot and introduce you to the performers. Seats - With just under 1,200 seats, there are no 'bad' seats in our theater. Most opera goers love attending opera in our theater because of its intimate size. Applause - At the opera, unlike the symphony or other classical music concert, you can applaud when the performance moves you. Eating and drinking - During regular performances, food and drinks are available prior to the show and during intermissions. Restrooms – There are ample restrooms on the first and second floors of the Opera House. There is also a family restroom on the first floor next to the box office kiosk. Parking - Parking in downtown Sarasota can be a challenge, but we make it easy with our complementary valet service. For more information, visit our Parking Page. Late Seating - If you arrive after the performance has started or leave while an act of the opera is in progress, you will need to wait until an intermission or pause to re-enter. Don’t worry; there are television monitors located in the lobby so you can continue to enjoy the performance. Electronics - Out of consideration to our performers and patrons, we asked that all cellphones and electronic devices be turned off before the performance begins. Just like at your local movie theatre, the use of any recording devices is strictly prohibited. How long is an opera? Most operas are between 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours long. How do we find out what the opera is about? We find that most, if not all, operas performed on our stage are appropriate for ages 8 and up. That said, we encourage parents to review the synopsis of the opera before determining whether it appropriate for your child to attend. Synopses for this season coming soon! How can we explore the story before the performance? Understanding the plot and characters before attending a performance greatly enhances the experience. We encourage families to read through the synopsis and listen to clips from the opera with their child before attending a performance. We also have an Opera Basics guide with information and activities so families can explore any opera at home. How can we purchase tickets? The best way to buy tickets is over the phone (941-328-1300) or online. Everyone, regardless of age, must purchase a ticket to the performance. Children are not permitted into the theater without a ticket, even if they plan to sit on your lap. There are two reduced price ticket options for children, students, and teachers: Student Season Pass For only $25, students under the age of 22 can purchase a Student Season Pass and attend unlimited Sarasota Opera performances. click here for more info. Student and Teacher Rush Tickets Student and teacher rush tickets are just $10 when you buy them at the lobby box office 30 minutes before a performance. Just present your current school ID to purchase your tickets. Elementary and middle school students without school ID’s are still eligible. Click here for more info.