November 19, 2019

Opera in the Afternoon: An Insider's Guide to Matinees

November 21, 2019

Psst...We're going to let you in on a little secret. While everyone is familiar with the expression "a night at the opera," there are tons of perks to switching things up with an afternoon matinee. Talk to many people about where their love for opera started, and you'll hear that their parents and grandparents listened to the Met Saturday afternoon broadcasts, which started in 1931.


Operatic matinees are a longstanding tradition; that's why nearly every production Lyric presents--operas, musicals, and even special events--includes at least one weekday and one weekend matinee. Here are just a few reasons why we love a little opera in the afternoon—and we think you will too.

Skip the rush

Getting to the opera house during evening rush hour can be a mad dash, but a late morning commute is a wonderful change of pace. Whether you drive, take public transportation, or live in the North Shore area and consider our Lyric Bus (stay tuned for more on that!), the 2pm start time makes for a great way to spend your afternoon. Plus, you'll never have to worry about rushing out to catch the last Metra train of the evening!

Enjoy a pre-opera talk

While we're talking about all of that extra time you'll have in the morning, why not back up your commute and arrive at the opera an hour before the show, just in time to enjoy the free, Pre-Opera Talk? Learn about the production and history of the opera from our resident experts and hear musical excerpts that will give you an idea of what to listen for during the show. It's a great way to learn about a piece you've never seen or deepen your knowledge of an old favorite.

Learn about the production, artists, and history of the work at a Pre-Opera Talk (Photo: Jaclyn Simpson)

Lunch or dinner - what's your pleasure?

Whether you want to arrive early and enjoy one of Lyric's onsite restaurants for a convenient and delicious lunch date, or stay in the city after the show to explore one of Chicago's many great restaurants that are close to the opera house, you have the choice of extending your outing on either side - or both! Sunday matinee fans have the additional option of Afternoon Tea with signature pastries, scrumptious finger sandwiches, and the finest Kilogram teas, all while overlooking the beautiful Rice Grand Foyer.

Patrons enjoying a meal in the The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room (Photo: Jaclyn Simpson)

North Shore Lyric Bus

If you live in the North Shore area, skip the hassles of traffic and parking by hopping aboard the Lyric Bus. Park at Northbrook Court and let us do the driving while you enjoy the company of other opera lovers! This holiday season, you can get your shopping done and see an opera all before dinnertime. (The Lyric Bus is offered for weekday matinees only.)

Matinees are great for groups and get-togethers

Whether you're retired, planning a company or class outing, or simply taking a much-needed day for yourself, matinees are a wonderful way to shake up your normal routine and enjoy a special date with a friend, family member, or a group of friends or colleagues. Lyric's group sales team often has excellent offers for weekday matinees, when groups start at just ten or more! Contact or call 312.827.5720 for more information. 

Groups of 10 or more save on tickets and receive personalized customer service at Lyric (Photo: Kyle Flubacker)

No matter when you attend, we look forward to seeing you - but we hope you'll agree that there's something extra special about an afternoon at the opera!