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partyrock's avatar

Do people still attend Operas ?

Asked by partyrock (3863 points ) December 17th, 2011

Do people still go to Operas ? Has anyone ever been to one? Did you dress “to the nines” as they say ? Why don’t more people go to them?

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33 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

I still go to the opera. I used to live in a city with its own opera company, so I’d see three or four a year. Now I see one every other year. Never felt the need to go all tailcoat and monocle, though. I don’t know why more people don’t go, other than lack of opportunity, but it’s a great experience to have.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Yes, I went to one last year. I didn’t dress fancy smancy, but I sure as hell didn’t show up with jeans and a Maiden shirt. I can’t speak for everyone, but those opera tickets were pretty hard to get and they were expensive.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I love the opera and haven’t been in forever. You’ve reminded me that I want to do that again, soon. Thanks.

partyrock's avatar

Did you guys get really dressed up fancy when you went ?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@partyrock I would dress up a little bit, but nothing too fancy. Nice pants, nice shirt. Nothing requiring a tie, though, as I don’t particularly see the wisdom in wearing a noose around my neck. And since the local opera is staged outdoors, I see nothing wrong with wearing jeans and an appropriately warm shirt when attending a production these days.

JilltheTooth's avatar

It depends on the venue. For example, a Saturday evening production at the Metropolitan in NYC, yes, dress up. A matinee in Denver was a bit more casual.

gailcalled's avatar

My best friend has a yearly subscription to the Met. He just saw Faust, I think. (Last week)

You should be neat and clean and dressed in a way that “won’t scare the horses,” as Mrs. Patrick Campbell once said.

The fancy dress outfits are best kept for benefits or charity do’s.

jaytkay's avatar

I know a couple of opera orchestra string players, which is kind of a big deal, they are near the top of their profession. They make a good living.

Yes, you can dress to the nines, if you like that, it’s great occasion, how often does a guy get to wear his tuxedo? (like most of the men in this pic).

But it’s not required. Lots of music lovers are there to listen, not to impress. I wouldn’t wear jeans or a baseball cap. Maybe “business casual” would be the minimum.

It’s fun as an event. It’s fun for see-and-be-seen. It’s fun for the music. If you are curious, just go!

Blackberry's avatar

I would like to, but I just don’t have the money.

jaytkay's avatar

@Blackberry Look for last-minute deals. Walk up to the box office the day of performance.

The symphony and opera here do not refund tickets. They wait for people to phone and say “I will not attend”.

And then they re-sell the seats.

gailcalled's avatar

@jaytkay; Your photo is of the opening night and opera ball in 2009. That does require tuxes and fancy do’s for the ladies but they are generally the big donors and like the gala as a “thank-you” for their contributions.

Often the rule is, the better the seats, the better dressed the audience is. Up in the rafters, or in the standing-room only area, people tend to be more casual. The French call it “the chicken coop” (le poulailler) or le paradis.

DominicX's avatar

Well, there are many reasons why more people don’t go. One is that it’s expensive to go to the opera. It’s also difficult to get tickets. For the SF opera, it’s difficult to get tickets to individual operas and it’s much easier to get them if you are a subscriber, which is…more expensive. Additionally, I’m sure many people just have the idea that classical music and all its sub genres is “boring” so they write off the entire genre and its performances: no symphonies, no ballets, no operas.

I have been to a few operas: Il Trovatore, La Boheme, and Carmen. I did wear a suit, but nothing more than that.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I took KatawaGrey to Carmen when she was 8. She loved it!

sneezedisease's avatar

I get to see opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion every once in a while. Only dress rehearsals but it’s really no different than the real thing. You just don’t need to dress as nicely.

gailcalled's avatar

@DominicX: Make sure you put “The Barber of Seville,” ” The Marriage of Figaro,” “Don Giovanni,” and “The Magic Flute” on your bucket list.

Three Mozarts and a Rossini.

prioritymail's avatar

Yup more than once. Dressed up but not to the nines. Would be fun to though.

JLeslie's avatar

Of course people still go to the Opera. I haven’t been in almost 10 years though. It was Lincoln Center in NY, people were dressed nicely for the evening, but not to the nines.

Jeruba's avatar

I’ve had season tickets to the performances of the nearest opera company every year for the past 28 years. Even in some very lean years, I put it ahead of a lot of other things.

Pandora's avatar

No one will go with me. Sniff! I had an opera company come and perform at my high school years ago. I fell in love but no one I know will go with me to see one. Except my sister and she lives far away and when she visits I may know a month or two ahead and the tickets are sold out by then.
Sucks!

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Do you dress up to the nines or only to the sevens, depending on your seat location?

@Pandora: Go alone.

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, I don’t even own any nines. I used to dress up more than I do because I went on Saturday nights. For the past few years I’ve attended with a friend who prefers the Sunday matinee series, so I dress nicely but usually without many sparkly things and with no more exposed skin than I would wear to the office. The music sounds just as good, but it isn’t quite as much of an “event” as it’s been when I’ve spent an evening at the Met.

In years when I couldn’t find an operagoing companion (after my husband’s limited interest wore out), I did go alone. And there were many others who did. I treated myself to champagne at intermission just the same, and I nearly always found someone nice to talk to.

Ponderer983's avatar

A guy I just began dating is an opera singer, currently performing in Chicago. I’ll ask him tomorrow what he witnesses, as he has worked all over the country and internationally.

Sunny2's avatar

We used to have series tickets until health issues prevented our going. Opening nights are extremely formal occasions with fancy dinners and a ball. Friday nights were as dressy as you wished. Some patrons dressed in costume-like clothing for the opera (a kimono for Madame Butterfly, for example.) There were also people dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt. Mostly people were attractively dress, but no ball gowns. Men who like to wear tuxedos don’t feel out of place.
People are discouraged by the ticket prices mostly. It’s an extravagance. The TV shows of live performances are very worth while watching if you want the opera experience without paying for it. Darken the room and turn up the volume.

Leanne1986's avatar

I go to the opera when I can. I went to see Carmen last year at Covent Garden and I dressed up in a beautiful dress and loved every minute. I go to the theatre to see musicals and comedys more than I go to the opera but that is only because it’s usually cheaper.

gailcalled's avatar

I just talked with my opera-going friend. He has a season subscription to the Met in the balcony on Monday nights (not a popular slot). Each ticket averages out to about $25 and he sees people in jeans and t-shirts all the time.

The orchestra crowd is generally less casual, but there are still folks who are clean and neat but in jeans.

Tomorrow he’ll be seeing La Fille du RĂ©giment.He will be wearing khakis, a shirt and sweater, a scarf knitted by his lover (male), two rings and five studs in each ear.

Jeruba's avatar

People who go in T-shirts and jeans disappoint me a little because their attire says “this is nothing special.” To me, the other attendees are part of the occasion, and when we all dress up a bit, we make it feel like more of an event for one another.

Of course, I’d rather they come that way than not at all.

The last time I went to the opera (in November), a man was wearing a glistening black top hat and a gold-satin-lined cape with his tux. It was wonderful to see.

partyrock's avatar

@Jeruba – I agree completely with what you say. It’s the arts and performance, I think it’s a little rude especially to the performers when people dress in nothing more than jeans and casual.

JLeslie's avatar

I know what @Jeruba means that jeans are a little dissappointing, but at the same time, I like how the willingness to allow casual attire means more people can attend the opera, it makes it more accessible. The evening is different for each person who attends. One couple might go out for a $150 dinner beforehand, another young girl with little money might come in jeans because she loves to sing and act and wants to see what the opera is like. Another man might take his mom for her birthday dressed in dressed slacks and a sweater. It’s like walking down the streets of NY, one person dressed to the nines, another in sweats, all having their own experience, their own evening. I think it is ok.

Pandora's avatar

@gailcalled I like having someone to talk to later about what we saw and relive what each of us thought were the great parts.

SavoirFaire's avatar

As a performer, I never cared what the audience wore. One of the regular opera and orchestra attendees back when I was in New York had a great purple mohawk and always wore giant boots. He also knew more about music than any other season ticket holder. Takes all kinds.

gailcalled's avatar

@SavoirFaire:You sing, also?...double swoon.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@gailcalled I started out as a music major in college. I studied voice and composition.

Leanne1986's avatar

@JLeslie I agree wholeheartedly.

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