Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

Whether this is your very first experience, or you just need a refresher, we have answered some frequently asked questions to make sure you fully enjoy your night at the opera!    

We’ve Got You Covered!

New Orleans Opera often showcases operas in languages other than English. You don’t have to be multilingual to understand though! We project English captions above the stage making it easy to follow along. Learn all about it in just one minute from Givonna Joseph, Co-founder of OperaCréole and Clare Burovac, New Orleans Opera General and Artistic Director.

Have a question that’s not answered here? Send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or you can email us here.

We care a LOT about making sure people who are newer to opera have a great experience so you come back again for another performance. 

Where are the performances held? 

New Orleans Opera’s main performance space is the Mahalia Jackson Theater in Armstrong Park, but we frequently have at least one other performance in alternate locations around New Orleans.  You can also find us occasionally performing in the garden of the Opera Guild Home on Prytania Street and in local bars with our Opera on Tap program! 

What seat should I buy? 

That depends upon your preference!  Many audience members like to sit up close to the stage to see the expressions on the singers’ faces, experiencing all of that drama right along with the performers.  Others prefer to sit farther back so that they can see the entire stage with a single glance.  Don’t forget that we project English translations of all of the lyrics, so you may want to sit far enough back to glance up at the screen and read the captions while you’re watching the performers.  General and Artistic Director Clare Burovac’s favorite seats are in the balcony, while Immediate Past Board President Dwayne Littauer loves the very front row! 

Where can I buy tickets? 

You can buy them here  or call the Ticket Box Office at (504) 529-2278, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM till 4:30 PM. 

How much do tickets cost? 

Prices start at $32.00 each. Here are a few other helpful tips you should know as well: 

  • The best deal comes when you purchase a Season Subscription. Subscriptions are 35% off Single Tickets.
  • Another way to save is to buy in bulk. This can be either in the form of season tickets or in the form of group tickets, where you save 10-20% depending on the size of your group. 
  • If you’re a student on a budget, be sure to bring your student ID and get a seat for $10 in most sections of the theater.
Can I bring my children to the opera?

Audience members aged five and older are welcome at New Orleans Opera performances. Please be sure to review content advisories to ensure the content being presented is age-appropriate. Every guest, regardless of age, is required to have a ticket to attend performances. 

What do I wear?

We want you to be comfortable during your night at the opera, so dress in a way that works for you whether that is dressing to the nines to cozy and casual, and everything in between. For special events like evening parties and receptions, we invite you to bring on the glamour in a way that is most comfortable for you.

When should I arrive? 

Friday performances begin at 7:30 PM and Sunday performances begin at 2:30 PM with a free 30-minute pre-performance talk starting one hour before each show. We recommend allowing plenty of time for traffic, parking, and finding your seat. Note: Late seating times vary by performance.

If you prefer to skip the lecture and arrive early to socialize, we’ve got a pre-performance party before every show this year, out in front of the Mahalia Jackson Theater at the fountain in the Norman Treigle Plaza. 

Do I need to know what the opera is about before I come?

The great thing about opera is that you can watch without any preparation. We provide supertitles in English for each performance that provide all the storytelling word for word. If you’d like to learn about the opera in advance, we have a couple of ways that can help:

  • The pre-performance talk starts one hour before the performance, is free to concert attendees, and lasts about 30 minutes, so you have a half hour after the lecture and before the performance to get a drink, use the restroom, mingle, etc. During the talk, the lecturer will talk about the performance history of the work, the composer and librettist, and why this opera was chosen for the season.  You’ll also get many interesting tidbits about what was going on when the opera was written.
  • Look for links on the performance page on this website, which will include a synopsis of the story, links to the artist’s websites, clips to preview the music, and student study guides that include playlists. 
Will you be handing out programs? 

There will be programs available at the door of the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

How long is an opera? 

Operas can be as short as 30 minutes and as long as five hours! But most of our performances are three hours or less – shorter than watching any of The Lord of the Rings films. Our website will include information about the approximate running time of each opera, including the number of intermissions and their approximate length.  But don’t let the longer operas intimidate you – you’ll find that the time flies by! 

Where do I park and how much does it cost? 

Parking is available within Armstrong Park for $20 cash per car.  If you prefer not to drive, consider taking an Uber or Lyft – the cars will drop you right at the theater entrance! 

Will there be wine or beer?*  

Absolutely!  How can we have a gathering in New Orleans without libations? 

Alcohol, wine, beer, sodas, and snacks will be available to purchase at the bars on multiple levels of the theater.  Please join us for the pre-show gathering at the fountain in front of the theater to meet your fellow opera-goers and have a drink before the show. You’re welcome to bring your beverage into the theater if you don’t finish it before curtain time! 

*Alcohol purchase is not available during Student Night Out. 

What about Student Night Out? 

Student Night Out is for participating students and their chaperones to attend the final dress rehearsal for each opera.

If you are joining us for Student Night Out, we want you to have the best backstage experience possible and welcome you to rehearsals like one of the crew!   

Parking is free during student dress rehearsals.  

Enter the gated Mahalia Jackson parking lot through the Basin Street entrance. Once your group is gathered, make your way to the front of the theater (toward the fountain). Enter through the designated glass door along the driveway.   

We are here to answer the questions you may have about the opera, where things are, and what to expect. This is a working rehearsal, so try to keep noise to a minimum when/if the director or technical crew stops to give notes or adjust. But it is a show! We want you to laugh, clap, and enjoy the action on stage. Unfortunately, this is a rehearsal, and snacks and beverages are not for sale. But you are welcome to bring bottled water into the theater. Please discard your rubbish in a receptacle at the intermission or the end of the rehearsal. 

What is the Safety and Security Policy?

The security process is a condition of entry. Any refusal or the use of abusive, threatening, or discriminatory remarks will result in access being refused.

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The Performance Hall

The 2023-2024 productions will be staged at The Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Parking: $20 CASH

Mahalia Jackson Theater
1419 Basin St.
New Orleans, LA



Traveling East on I-10 (from Armstrong International Airport)

  • Take I-10 E

Traveling West on I-10 (from Slidell)

  • Take I-10 W
  • Turn left on ORLEANS AVE (ORLEANS AVENUE will become BASIN STREET)


  • On-site parking is available for patrons on a first come, first serve basis. Parking is $20 cash only per vehicle. Limited ADA parking is available on a first come, first serve basis. Please notify the parking attendant of the need for ADA parking.


The closest bus stops are Basin at Essence Way, Basin at N. Villere, and N. Rampart at St. Ann.

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