You don’t need a tie. You don’t even need shoes if you’re sitting on the lawn. There are no velvet ropes. And you can listen with a drink in your hand.

At Wolf Trap, you can experience opera outside the confines of a traditional opera house, yet enjoy the same quality and refinement.

Opera at The Barns at Wolf Trap

Opera lovers in the greater Washington, DC area know this as the place to go for something special. A restored 18th century barn with 21st century amenities, including exceptional acoustics, air conditioning, English surtitles, and food and drinks you can bring to your seat.

And the best part: expertly produced opera in an intimate theatre where you and only a few hundred others are practically part of the production.

View from stage, high atop a dramatic staircase designed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Barns, August 2010

Original staging

Because the theatre space at The Barns is unconventional, the sets, lighting, and design are all original. Each production team creates imaginative and unexpected stagings that help audiences experience the art form in new ways.

Adventurous repertoire

In a small but state-of-the-art theatre like The Barns, WTO can be adventurous, producing hard-to-find operas from the Baroque period to the 21st century. Wolf Trap Opera takes pride and pleasure in producing these rare operas—undiscovered gems that companies with larger houses aren’t able to present.

Lighter fare

For something lighter, watch for concerts and recitals each season. The annual Aria Jukebox, which lets the audience pick the program, is one of the most popular.

Opera outdoors at the Filene Center

The Filene Center offers an equally casual, but larger-scale opera experience. Sit under the rafters or on the lawn to enjoy a blend of pure music and pure nature.

Full orchestra joins singers on stage

Along with the beautiful national park setting, the Filene Center has the 2 nd largest theatrical stage in the country. This enables the entire National Symphony Orchestra to play on stage with the soloists for each Wolf Trap Opera performance. A rare visual and musical experience.

Imaginative design

Adding to the visual tableau are custom-designed video projection screens, which allow set designers to incorporate multimedia images and backdrops into the overall staging.

Repertoire of favorites

In contrast to the smaller, more experimental nature of works chosen for The Barns, the Filene Center presents your favorite well-known operas—The Magic Flute, Carmen, La bohème, and more.

Diverse audience

Opera aficionados love seeing works from the popular repertoire in a non-traditional setting. And those of you who are new to opera will find this the perfect place to begin your love affair, starting with the art form’s most treasured works.