What to wear to the Opera?(19 Posts)
I went to the opera in Rome. It was a cold evening and there were a lot of very chic Parisian ladies sat next to me. They all wore plain black dresses, fine jumpers, skirts or trousers. They wore immaculate jewellery and make up. Very classy.
ENO have been running an "Undress for Opera" campaign, to encourage punters to come in whatever clothes they want and help those who might not normally think of opera take the plunge. The ENO research showed that many non opera goers thought you had to dress up to come along.
ENO is very inclusive in the way it stages and presents opera, and every night has around 400 tickets available at less than £25. Often, tickets bought on the day can be much less - and the ENO has won all of the big UK opera awards this year so productions are fab.
They have a very funny Mikado on at the moment (I took my DC last Saturday, fabulous alternative to a panto). We're off to Carmen this weekend there and i am very much looking forward to it.
To go back to the dress thing, I endorse what others have said - you need to dress up more for Glyndebourne, for some first nights at ROH and in some other countries. OP's proposed outfit sounded perfect for Valencia - I do hope you have a lovely time. Maybe come to a UK opera house when you are back?
It does matter at Glyndebourne but it doesn't represent the rest of the opera world. And actually, there, there is a distinct correlation between the poshness of the person and the level to which they make my eyes bleed with their outfit. I always give a wry smile when Ms Horrendous Dress in front is addressed as Lady Something.
In fact the preview nights don't have a dress code at all and the celeb spotting is ramped right up. We were lent the owners table once and everyone who walked past stared at us thinking we must be famous. We weren't famous, just lucky.
It does matter. I would feel completely out of place if I went to Glyndebourne dressed inappropriately. Whether it should matter or not, that's a different thing. But then.... It's actually nice to get dressed up once in a while, it shows respect for the performers, and you feel a sense of occasion.
Thanks so much for your replies Chislemum & LadyIsabella really kind of you.
SirEdmund I would ask the same about (and recently have) a winter wedding, an engagement party - anything important to me that I am unsure of. Some people worry about the school run for goodness sake, me included at times. Of course we could all have the confidence to just rock up in jeans to anything and say 'ta da' but I don't have that confidence and think it would be rude to the person who has invited me.
I genuinely didn't know the form and needed to find out and everyone has been very kind in doing so! Interesting for example the differences in ticket price/country etc.
Thanks again, all.
It sort of matters insofar as if you go to Glynebourne or La Scala in jeans you'd feel very out of place unless you were abnormally unselfconscious. Ditto if you wore a long evening dress for the Gods at ENO.
You don't have to wear anything in particular, but if you want to fit in and feel comfy then it's handy to know what the norm is (in the UK that = about four notches less posh than the public stereotype of an opera audience).
Every every time I look on this bit it makes me mad. It doesn't matter. In my understanding opera is about the grand passions in life so it doesn't matter what you wear. Affording the tickets to go is another matter.
Agree with Flosshilde. DH and I are very much into opera and often go to the ROH Iand sometimes the ENO) after work in our work outfits (well we did until DS was born in August); no need to dress up massively at the ROH, even though you can, if you feel like it, especially on the weekend or if you have very expensive tickets. Also agree regarding comments about opera abroad: went to the Met last year and people were a lot more dressed up, same goes for Berlin too. If you wear the dress you mention you will be absolutely fine. Opera is not elitist at all and can be great fun; convinced an opera novice colleague to go and see Tosca and she is now into opera too as it is great story telling and can be sooo romantic and melodramatic.
Have fun!!! Hair up or down
Thanks Flosshilde Think you are totally right, I think people are scared of the Opera (or maybe a bit intimidated - like me)
Actually, it should be for everyone and, you are again right - it can easily cost less than football.
Right - hair down then. Good.
I would dress up in Valencia. Outfit sounds fine. Hair up or down.
However in the UK, Glyndebourne is a completely different kettle of fish to opera anywhere else. Evening dress is expected there. Where I watch opera jeans are fine provided they're dressed up rather than down. Even the Royal Opera House doesn't require more than smart casual for the cheap seats.
What pisses me off actually is the portrayal of opera and classical music generally in films, etc as requiring evening dress. It reinforces the notion that it's elitist and out of reach. Rubbish. It is costing me less than £80 for two front row seats for Wagner next year. I can afford that, but the seats were as cheap as £15. It's much cheaper than football.
Sorry, rant over.
Daftyson and PoshPaula I have just come back to this thread and thank you both so much for replying.
You have really helped.
I think they are expensive tickets, it is in Valencia in Feb, so fairly cold. My dress is actually midnight blue, but basically looks black. It is velvet and was expensive. It is just below knee length so I think (hope) appropriate.
I am a total Opera novice so eally value your input. It is an important event to me! I have to look right - but also relaxed about it (if that makes sense)
Think I will go for high heels rather than boots now. Thing is, here in Spain people have a different dress sense to the UK. They are glizty Posh and I am not, I prefer elegant and low key myself so let's hope I get this right!
I have long hair - is it ok to have it down or should it be up?
I go to Glyndebourne two or three times during each Festival. People dress up, full length evening dresses don't look out of place, men wear black tie. I usually wear knee length evening dresses with a wrap and high heels, jewellery, evening bag. Inside it can get cool with all the air conditioning so a wrap is advisable. Clothes tend to be elegant and low key rather than glitzy. HTH.
Hi calypso, opera in the UK usually has quite a wide range of outfits, but usually starting from the smart casual end to quite formal. However there are also one or two tourists who manage to wangle last minute tickets and therefore turn up in jeans. I find opera outside of the UK tends to be either much more casual or much more formal depending on how much the average ticket cost is. I've been to opera in Greece where tickets are readily available and people were dressed very casually. In Berlin tickets were much harder to get and people pretty much wore black tie.
What is your black dress like? How long is it? It does sound like a black dress would be able to cover the situation well whether it is casual or formal.
Thanks so much for the replies. Especially fried sprout and milktray
I will be going in Valencia.
No clue - a black dress I think, long boots too. Pretty Woman BOF
If you are in the cheap seats at the top (like me) it can get very hot! Don't wear a big jumper!
Lots of deodorant!
Haven't you seen Pretty Woman?
Went for the first time the other week, and there were all sorts of outfits being worn. The only thing people seemed to have incommon was being clean and tidy. There was no scruffiness, even from me!
I wore long boots, smart black skirt coloured blouse and trench coat, and felt comfortable. It may be different though if going to very posh place like Glyndbourne. I only went to Southampton so maybe different elsewhere.
No long dresses
That's it really - what do I wear?
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