San Diego Opera

Immerse yourself into the powerful vocals and performances of the San Diego Opera. Package and discounted rates are available for qualifying individuals!
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
San Diego Opera
Exceptional Performances
Notable Performances
Go City Pass & Save
The Opera Community
How to Get Tickets
Etiquette & Other Info
Stay Nearby



Experience Exceptional Performances of the San Diego Opera

Founded in 1950, the San Diego Opera has successfully become a respected member of the international opera community.

After nearly shutting down in 2014, they raised $2 million from the public. Over half of those donations were from first-time donors.

The San Diego opera company now operates from the following venue locations that are both within the heart of Downtown San Diego:

Both of these venues offer different performances at different times. This provides equal opportunities to the public to immerse themselves in the beautiful world of Opera.

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the Civic Theatre provides ample space for audience members to enjoy a live performance.

Balboa Theatre is just a few blocks south of the San Diego Civic Center.

Features of the Civic Theatre Location:

  • 1,218 comfortably plush seats
  • Raised above the downtown area at 11 stories tall, it's hard to miss
  • Close to several delicious restaurants
  • Nearby public transportation options
  • There are also a variety of seating options in this classic theatre, including accessible-friendly seating.

Features of the Balboa Location:

  • 1,335 fold-down plush seats
  • A beautifully crafted 5 story building.
  • Grab a bite to eat before the show at any of the nearby restaurants
  • Accessible by public transportation

Surrounded by more dining options, this location would be great for a night on the town with your loved ones.

However, both locations are less than 10 minutes away from Balboa Park. If you want to make this a day trip, grab a Go San Diego Card in advance! This pass will save you money as you experience San Diego's finest attractions. You can save up to 55% on over 50 attractions and experiences in San Diego.

You could enjoy the Museum of Making Music before taking a San Diego City Tour. After that, grab a bite to eat and continue onto one of the Opera Theatres to immerse yourself in the power-packed vocals of the Grand Opera.

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Notable Performances at the San Diego Operating

In 1965 the first live performance on the stage was "La Boheme," which is still included in the rotation today.

San Diego Opera's production is unique in the way that it schedules these classic performances. Each year, they choose a handful of shows to put on. Each show then receives 4 to 5 days of scheduled showings.

In addition to La Boheme, here are several other shows that the San Diego Opera performs:

  • Madama Butterfly
  • A Masked Ball
  • The Daughter of the Regiment
  • We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith
  • Aging Magician

Local Tips
Student Night at the Opera
Bring your student to the Opera! This program is limited to organized groups of youth and school groups and school groups only. (Public City and County Schools, Private Schools, and Home Schools registered with the Board of Education).

Many others join in the annual rotation as well. It's always best to check in with the San Diego Opera to find the latest rotation for this year's event calendar.

Famous Opera Singers at the San Diego Opera

The San Diego Opera is very prestigious and highly respected among the international opera community.

It's no wonder then that celebrities within the opera community have also performed there, including:

  • Opera singer, Karen Valentino
  • Opera star, Bobbie Ball-Bradley
  • Opera star, Steve Howard

In addition to the renowned superstars of the local Opera community, there are several famous opera singers within the San Diego Opera company. You can still see these lovely faces on the stages of San Diego today:

  • Angel Blue
  • John Guerrero
  • Stephanie Blythe
  • Piotr Buszewski

This is just a sampling of the many famous performers to grace the stage in San Diego. We also should not forget the conductors and directors since they pour their heart and soul into ensuring these performances are the best they can be.

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Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

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Visit the San Diego Opera Anytime for a Chance to Learn About the Opera Community!

If you want to catch a live performance, the stages are full of performances between October and April for the six months season. It is best to check the calendar for more information on showtimes, and days before planning your visit.

However, when they are not performing, they have a variety of events still going on. Some of these events are as follows:

  • Student Night at the Opera
  • Docent Program
  • Words and Music
  • Music and Science Curriculum
  • Opera Exposed!
  • Opera on the Concourse

There is always an event available to attend. The important work that the San Diego Opera Production does is a community-driven effort.

It's important to them that they provide educational resources and community involvement opportunities to bring more people into the beautiful world of Opera.

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How to Get Tickets to Witness the Amazing Performances at the San Diego Opera

Tickets tend to go on sale about two months before the show premieres for the year. However, if you want to ensure your seat, you have the option of purchasing a subscription. This subscription will give you access to three shows before the tickets even go on sale.

The price per ticket to these grand opera performances range from $50 to $300 for adults and $22 to $115 for children.

The prices change depending on your status. If you are:

  • In the military
  • A student
  • Part of a group
  • A subscriber

In such cases, the ticket price will be provided to you at a discounted rate.

To get your tickets, you need to go to the San Diego Opera website where you can buy tickets for the opera.

San Diego Opera Etiquette and Other Important Information

Hours of Operation

The Administrative Office is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Opera Showtimes vary: Some start at 6:00 PM, others don't start until 10:00 PM. Check the times for the performance of your choice to make sure you arrive in time.

Parking Information for the San Diego Civic Theatre

There is a parking garage across 3rd Avenue from the theatre. There is also additional parking garages and concourse parking a couple of blocks north of the location. The standard fee for parking on performance nights starts at $10.

Parking Information for the Balboa Theatre

To park at the Balboa location, you can do so underground at the NBC Building parking garage at 225 Broadway. An alternative is to park at the Westfield Horton Plaza.

Both locations charge a general parking fee of $10.

San Diego Opera Costume and Fashion Design

The designing of the jaw-dropping costumes of the Opera are created by the talented fashion designer, Missy West, and her team.

Years before production, they will hand-tailor each costume to fit the performers and customize the outfits accordingly. The time window allows the creators to finesse the art with which each outfit is created.

Since the costumes take years to make, they are of the highest quality possible and designed beautifully.

Additional Tips to Ensure the Best Experience Possible at the San Diego Opera

Here are a few additional tips to make your trip the most comfortable possible. You can enjoy a fantastic performance by adhering to these general guidelines:

  • Turn off all cellular devices.
  • There is no late seating, so it is crucial to arrive on time
  • Please do not talk during the performances - save conversations for intermission
  • Arrive to park at least 1.5 hours before the performance to allow adequate time
  • Enjoy the show!

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