Food and Drink

Heading to the opera? Legion has got a beer for that.

Opera Carolina’s 2019-2020 season opens this week with “Macbeth” and a specially brewed beer called, Opera Party! It’s the fourth opera season tied to a featured beer.

Opera Carolina partnered with Legion Brewing Company to create a cherry-infused variant of Carolina Sparkle Party, one of Legion’s flagship beers. Theatergoers will be able to purchase Opera Party! at the Belk Theater before the show and during the intermission for the season’s three productions.

This season’s theme is “The struggle is real” and features three operas: “Macbeth,” “La Boheme” and “I Dream.” Opera Carolina looked for a beer that highlighted the topic but might lighten the human struggle.

“We wanted something that fits the theme of the performances,” said Scott Griffin, head brewer for Legion Brewing Company, “and cherry brought that beautiful red color to the beer. The beer also has a little tartness and back sweetness from cherry. It is a very approachable taste for various beer lovers.”

Legion has breweries in the Plaza Midwood and SouthPark neighborhoods. If Opera Party! becomes popular, they’ll serve it at these locations, said Chelsea Edmonds, marketing coordinator at Legion.

“We are constantly looking for fun opportunities in the community,” she said. “This is a new opportunity for us, and we were excited to jump on board and be a part of something that a lot of Charlotte locals love. It’s a great opportunity to get our beer out there and allow people to see the different variations we can do with our beer.”

The idea to pair beer and opera is not new — European pubs and beer halls have been hosting opera performances for years. It’s a way to introduce opera to people who may not be as familiar with the art form. Tying craft beer to a craft performance is another way to integrate opera into our daily lives. It can spark conversation and questions about opera, said Megan Miller, director of marketing at Opera Carolina.

Look for opera popups at 7th Street Public Market, local restaurants, breweries, small performance venues and schools in Mecklenburg County. Event details are announced on Opera Carolina’s social media sites. And here’s a few pro tips for first-time opera-goers:

Opera Carolina’s 2019-2020 season opens this week with “Macbeth.” Bob Lubell

(1) Ask for special treatment

If this is your first time attending the opera, let Opera Carolina know before you order your tickets. Staff will help you with tickets, seating and special pricing. Call (704) 772-7177 or email

(2) Leave your ball gown and tuxedo at home

Come as you are, Miller said. She suggests wearing what you’d wear out to dinner. Some people wear jeans for a matinee. For more detailed dressing tips, read here.

(3) Do your homework

Read about the plot, characters and music before you attend. This information is included under each performance on the Opera Carolina website.

(4) What if you don’t speak Italian, French or Spanish?

There are supertitles above the stage — these are words written in English, translating what’s being said on the stage.

(5) Don’t speak the “M” word when you’re in the Belk Theater.

“It’s bad luck,” to speak the title of the Shakespearean production, Opera Carolina’s resident artist Johnathan White explained. “Tragedy will befall the production.” Refer to the performance as the Scottish opera or the Scottish play.

Opera Carolina

“Macbeth”: Nov. 7, 9, 10

“La Boheme”: Jan. 18, 19, 23

“I Dream”: April 19, 23, 25

130 N. Tryon St.

Tickets start at $22 and may be purchased through Blumenthal Performing Arts’ CarolinaTix.

Instagram: @operacarolina

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