4 Types of Clothing to Wear to Opera

Io tremo…

After a dull and uneventful week, Dis Oper finally met a girl whom he happened to like. He accidentally bumped into her while playing Pokemon Go. Romantic comedies taught us what happens when you almost knock someone down: chemistry works instantly. So Dis realized he had to ask the lady out. But where to?

In a pleasant chitchat, Placida said she was a student. An exciting rock concert would probably be a good idea, but Dis would rather propose something unhoped for.

A piercing sound coming from someone’s apartment brought to our friend’s mind those concert halls with a fat lady or two and a few gents on stage, accompanied by many musicians beneath it. That would most certainly be an unusual date. A quick check on the internet, and arranged it was. The next day, around six, they would meet in front of an opera house.

The preparations were going on swimmingly until Dis opened his wardrobe. A huge gap was staring at him. What is one supposed to wear when going to a place like that? Let’s jump out of this narrative and help him with a few basic suggestions. (What he experienced at the opera, we’ll discover soon enough, in one of the next posts.)

        1. Jeans and a worn out T-shirt. And trainers. I myself attended some performances at Belgrade Opera dressed like that. Admittedly, my trainers were black, so maybe that’s why they went unnoticed, or so it seemed. Oh, and Belgrade Opera is nothing like the Metropolitan Opera, but let’s assume for a second that Mr. Oper doesn’t live in New York City. After all, he only paid 10 euros for two tickets. So relax, Dis. It is good for you to know that even the great English National Opera had a campaign “Undress for the Opera”, where they encouraged their audiences not exactly to go naked, but to forget the presupposed dress codes and just enjoy the sheer beauty of comfiness. Along with the show, of course.

          Terry Gilliam, a Monty Python member, famous movie AND opera director.

        2. An everyday shirt, pants and plain brown shoes. Dis has never before been to opera. Neither has Placida. They wouldn’t like to stand out. Dis had no money to buy something special for the occasion, but he could put on some of those no-name things he wears when taking an evening walk or going to a movie.

        3. A formal shirt. Cufflinks. Waistcoat. Black tie. Dinner jacket. Polished Italian shoes for the (mostly Italian) show. A-HA, I knew it! So opera IS the place where you would go to show off your tux, if you had one! Maybe Dis could borrow the tux from his dad or a cousin. This would be advisable if he and his partner were to attend Glyndebourne Festival, one of those rare venues where visitors still have wish to do everything by the books (although Glyndebourne’s new general director pointed out earlier this year that people would be welcome in jeans and leather jackets too). The aforementioned Met even has a fashion blog with photos of stylish opera lovers. And that’s OK. When in Rome… The thing is, Rome is not today what it was 5 centuries ago. Nor is opera. So Dis and Placida don’t have to worry.


      1. Plumage. Accessories – magic pipes and bells to cast away the evil forces. Let’s suppose our heroes’ choice was Mozart’s picturesque “The Magic Flute”. Since it is preferable to read an opera’s plot before attending, Placida and Dis learned about a couple of lovebirds Papageno and Papagena, dressed up as (love)birds. So we would suggest them not to hesitate – they can disguise as their operatic prototypes, and get together at the end of the evening.


By Luigi Caputo (Salzburger Festspiele), via Wikimedia Commons



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