| 2021 Festival Season

Do I need to wear a mask? Patrons are asked to mask while attending “Opera Under the Big Top.” Unvaccinated individuals may unmask only while eating or drinking but are to remain masked when seated. Fully vaccinated individuals may unmask once seated for the duration of the performance but are asked to mask while moving about the venue in an effort to keep our staff, artists, and your fellow opera lovers safe. 

Is the tent air conditioned? No. The Big Top is considered an “open-air” venue in that it is covered from above to protect from the sun during the day, but there are no tent walls. We encourage our patrons to dress comfortably for your trip to The Big Top. 

What time do the performances start? Evening performances start at 7:30PM (30 minutes earlier than our traditional start time) and matinees at 2:00PM.

What time can I get in? The gates to the Big Top will open at 45 minutes before the performance and seating will begin 30 minutes before downbeat.

How do I get to The Big Top? The Big Top is located at 3401 Washington Avenue., St. Louis, MO 63103. Check out the Kranzberg Arts Foundation‘s website for driving directions and information on public transit options. 

Where can I park? Abundant metered street parking is available in the surrounding blocks. Please note that 45-degree angle parking, with the rear passenger wheel to the curb, is required in front of the venue. Additionally, the lot at Powell Hall will be open starting 2 hours before the show for $5.00. As there are very few events taking place this week in Grand Center parking will be plentiful. 

How long are the operas? Les contes d’Hoffmann has a run time of 2 hours 50 minutes (with two 15-minute intermissions) and Il barbiere di Siviglia has a run time of 2 hours 45 minutes (with one 20-minute intermission)

What do I do if I can’t find my tickets? Do a quick search for an email from pah.bounce@metrotix.com and check your spam folder. If you still can’t find them, call MetroTix at 314-534-1111 and they can resend you your email confirmation. 

I’ve not been to Grand Center, where can I go eat? In Grand Center Arts District, delicious experiences await your taste buds. Discover the tastes and flavors of the area for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From quaint and cozy to vibrant and exciting, Grand Center has something for everyone. Plan your visit to the Grand Center Arts District.

Join us this summer for Opera Under the Big Top as we make our return to presenting live, in-person opera with performances of Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann and Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at The Big Top, in St. Louis’ Grand Center district. The operas will unfold, acted in front of UAO’s wonderful orchestra on the Big Top stage with costumes and lights to the delight of physically distanced audiences in the large open-air tent.

This summer, audiences will have the opportunity to see two classic, beloved operas in one week — even on the same day — as we offer matinee performances for the first time in eight years.

The Big Top, operated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, will employ rigorous COVID-19 mitigation policies for the benefit of all guests, staff, and artists, including a contact-less ticketing and concession experience. Unvaccinated individuals will be required to were masks at all times. Vaccinated individuals must wear masks while moving about the facility.

The Big Top is ArtSafe Certified by the Missouri Arts Council and you can read more about their COVID-19 Mitigation Policies HERE. The Big Top is located at 3401 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.

THE BIG TOP is located at 3401 Washington Avenue in the Grand Center Arts District. Just east of Powell Hall and The Fabulous Fox.

Abundant metered street parking is available in the surrounding blocks. Please note that 45-degree angle parking, with the rear passenger wheel to the curb, is required in front of the venue. Additionally, the lot at Powell Hall will be open starting 2 hours before the show for $5.00. As there are very few events taking place this week in Grand Center parking will be plentiful. 

Les contes d’Hoffmann
July 21 and 24 at 7:30PM
July 23 at 2:00PM Friday matinee performance
presented in French with English supertitles

Offenbach’s grand French opera follows the poet Hoffmann as he searches for true love in a magical tale of thwarted love, art, and revenge! Best known for the Barcarolle “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour,” “Chanson de Kleinzach,” and the ultimate showcase of coloratura soprano singing, Olympia’s “Doll aria.” Les contes d’Hoffmann is a haunting tale of one man’s desire for the perfect woman. Hounded by his other-worldly nemesis and accompanied by Nicklausse, his ever-faithful friend, Hoffmann seems forever unlucky in love. Darkly playful and set against fantastical backdrops and stirring chorus formations, the opera renders the story of Hoffmann’s descent into madness and intoxication in faithful detail.

Il barbiere di Siviglia
July 22 and 23 at 7:30PM
July 24 at 2:00PM Saturday matinee performance
presented in Italian with English supertitles

Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Only the clever barber Figaro can help the fair Rosina outwit her guardian, the aging Dr. Bartolo and live out her days in the arms of her true love, Count Almaviva. A grand plan is hatched, full of mischievous escapades and inventive antics sure to delight audiences of all ages. This Rossini Italian classic features one of the most well-known pieces of music in history, Figaro’s “Largo al factotum” along with Rosina’s dazzling “Una voce poco fa.” Full of laughter and beautiful music, see why Il barbiere di Siviglia has been an audience favorite for more than two centuries.

Ticketing Information

Tickets for the 2021 Festival Season are available exclusively through MetroTix.com or by calling 314-534-1111 or toll-free 800-293-5949.

Due to physical distancing, there are limited tickets available this summer. As such The Big Top has maximized their seating chart and tickets are available in blocks (2, 3, 4, or 5 tickets) and there are a limited number of single tickets interspersed throughout the venue. Therefore, we encourage you to gather your friends and order tickets together. To sit together, tickets must be ordered together.  

2021 Season Schedule:
Wednesday, July 21 at 7:30PM – Les contes d’Hoffmann  
Thursday, July 22 at 7:30PM – Il barbiere di Siviglia  
Friday, July 23 at 2:00PM – Les contes d’Hoffmann – Matinee Performance  
Friday, July 23 at 7:30PM – Il barbiere di Siviglia  
Saturday, July 24 at 2:00PM – Il barbiere di Siviglia – Matinee Performance  
Saturday, July 24 at 7:30PM – Les contes d’Hoffmann  

[The evening performances start at 7:30PM this year which is 30 minutes earlier than our traditional start time. All performances take place at THE BIG TOP located at 3410 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63103

Season Subscriptions are not available in 2021, however as a thank you to our past subscribers, we are offering early access to tickets, similar to our Subscription Renewal period. When we return to our home, and a three-opera season, in 2022, our 2019 and 2020 subscribers will again be eligible for early renewals.

Mail-in orders are not available this summer. Additionally, the Union Avenue Opera Box Office will be unable to assist you in purchasing tickets. All orders must be placed directly with MetroTix.com 314-534-1111.

Know Before You Go Lecture Series

Also known as the Friday Night Lecture Series, this summer’s lectures will be offered online starting the week before the opera for your in-home viewing enjoyment. Join our host, Dr. Glen Bauer as he discusses the opera’s historical importance, guide you through the (sometimes convoluted) plot line, and offer a sneak peek of the music to come.

Links coming soon!

Your Safety Is Our Priority

  • Physical distancing is enforced through reduced capacity and physically distanced seating assignments.
  • Protective face coverings are required to enter and must be worn at all times while moving about the facility, except when eating or drinking.
  • The Big Top will offer the opportunity for a contact-less patron experience. Food and beverage ordering and payment can be conducted via online/mobile platform.
  • Event will have dedicated, on-site staff to regularly clean high-touch surfaces with EPA certified cleaning supplies.
  • Advance ticket sales only. No day-of walk-up sales on site.
  • There will be no printed program books available on site in 2021. Programs will be available to view on your smartphone while at the performance or online at home.

View The Big Top’s full COVID-19 Mitigation Policy

Get Involved – Volunteer!

There will still be opportunity to volunteer as ushers during the 2021 Festival Season at the Big Top. We are working out the details with the venue now, however signups are not open yet. Due to COVID-19, all ushers will be required to participate in mandatory training with the Big Top staff. More information coming soon!

We’ll be back home in 2022

Moving our performances to The Big Top this summer will allow us to safely return to presenting in front of live, in-person audiences. The tent more than doubles our seating capacity (due to current, local guidelines) and will allow for more opera lovers to join in the excitement of our return. However, know that we are committed to returning to our home at Union Avenue Christian Church in 2022, and your continued support will make that possible. 

Have questions? Email info@unionavenueopera.org