What To Wear To Opera

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

It’s finally the night.

Opera night.

After spending some time researching and reading about which opera to see first, you’ve snagged some tickets and are thrilled to be attending your first opera. But there’s one more thing to figure out before big night out…

Patti Lupone as Samira in <em>The Ghosts of Versailles</em> (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Patti Lupone as Samira in The Ghosts of Versailles (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

What to wear?

A casual sundress? A nice suit? A Lady Gaga-inspired dress made of meat? Swim trunks and sandals? What’s appropriate and what’s not?

Opera fashion can be as wild and crazy as Paris Fashion Week, or Kirsten Dunst’s outfits in Marie Antoinette, but it can also be a more casual affair. It’s an event impossible to overdress for and also the best place to catch somewhat of a fashion show for free.

There’s really no wrong way to dress for the opera (excluding meat dresses and swim trunks). It’s all about what the opera-goer feels comfortable wearing when it’s all boiled down. A great tip for opera newbies would be to dress up the first time to attend a performance. Don’t go over the top and drop a lot of money on an outfit you won’t wear again, but do throw on a nice dress or suit. It’s not every day you get the chance to dress to impress. Take advantage of it! After experiencing a performance or two and having a chance to see the wide array of outfits worn, then make the call about going a bit more casual (if preferred) for the next trip to the opera.

Another great way to determine what to wear would be figuring out which night or day the show falls on. Opening and weekend night performances are usually the dressiest nights. They’re a great opportunity to whip out more formal dresses with big statement pieces and spiffy suits with the most tasteful of bowties. Weekday and matinee performances are generally where you’ll see more casually dressed opera-goers in business casual or jeans and a nice blouse or button-up.

Check out our What To Wear To Opera Board on Pinterest for style ideas.

Wear A Costume, Get An Upgrade

Usually, wearing costumes or dressing up as the opera characters seen on stage is not how you would attend your first opera. However, this season’s opening night of Moby-Dick is the exception! Moby-Dick opens on Halloween night and ticket holders who attend the performance dressed as a sailor, pirate or whale will be upgraded to a better seat if they are available! Read more about the opening night of Moby-Dick and how to get an upgraded seat here.

Opera makes for a great night out and can be a lot of fun to get dressed up for. Take advantage of the night and go all out for a classy night or kick the evening off with a more casual. Remember, whatever outfit you wear, seeing opera is still a perfect night out on the town.

What are some of your favorite opera outfits? Share them with us below!

For tickets and more information about Moby-Dick and LA Opera’s current season, check out our website.

Audrey Register is a journalism and public relations major at Belmont University, graduating in Moy of 2016. Originally from North Carolina, she is currently an intern at LA Opera and also an opera newbie.

LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.
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