Attending live performances has always been a treat for audiences, but those who love opera can find their anticipation growing as the first performance of the year is about to begin. Rather than going out to the theatre for the evening, they are going to the opera house for a celebrated event. People might wonder why it is called a house instead of a theater, and there is a very good reason for it. Morality has always been a part of the majority of cultures, and going to a theater has not always been considered the moral thing to do.
There have been many societies where being seen as respectable has been an important facet of life, and going to the theater in some places has been considered very low in the past. Common people who had little or no values were said to go to the theater for cheap entertainment. This was not necessarily true, but it was the perception in some societies. The people who believed they needed the distinction would never be seen in a theater, but they were able to thoroughly enjoy the opera.
While those attending the theater were considered possibly to be morally suspect, those who still wanted to hear music while watching a performance had to choose the opera. The venues were often large halls that doubled as centers for community events, so they were called houses instead of theaters. It might seem a dubious distinction today, but it was an important social line that one of the upper echelons of society did not get caught crossing.
Today there are many theaters that host operas along with musical plays and non-musical theater performances. The distinction between those who attend operas and the theater goers has been lessened and lost in some societies, but the name of the performance venue for many places where opera is performed remains listed as a house instead of a theater.