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Opera house dress code

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Does anyone know what the dress code at the opera house is? I'm packing for my first trip to Copenhagen and need to figure out a wardrobe for three evenings at the ballet. Could I get away with jeans and a patent heel on one night, or should I dress up more?

thanks a lot,


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Jeans would indeed be considered bad mannered, people would probably stare. You could get away with trousers and a silk shirt, but not a t-shirt. People tend to dress up going to the theater. Hope upi will enjoy your stay and the performances you will attend! Please report what you have been seeing.

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I remember reading in an interview with Svetlana Zakharova about her preference for a "dressed up" audience. The way she put it was that dancers put in a lot of time and preparation for a performance, so she liked the idea of the audience doing the same. Only as a fellow member of the audience, I would plead against really large hairstyles, and there really should be a no-perfume rule. I'm not allergic myself, but the cacophony of fragrances can be very hard to bear.

I don't think it's unusual to dress differently depending on where a person is sitting. I would feel very silly looking overdressed way up in the gallery, but I would feel equally silly being dressed too casually in the royal box. That's why I'm curious about sandik's magic formula.

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Oh Volcanohunter, I think they should all out make it illegal to wear strong cologne or perfume in the theatre. Funny little story, especially if any of you have kids. Well, A few weeks age my husband and I took our son (he turned 8 yesterday I can't believe it! I'm getting old!) to see the YAGP Gala in NYC since we had been there coaching a few of our students who passed to finals. My son has literally grown up in the studio and the theatre, and I have tried desperately to teach him proper manners in dealing with how to behave, to shout bravo, and how not to scream as if at a rock concert. I thinks, in his own words, 'well if they are still shouting from the rafters either they never had good parents to teach them acceptable behavior, or they must think someone is keeping score!.' He is a bit precocious, although incredibly sweet and has often helped an older woman beside us read the print of the dancers names as it was to small for her to read. I digress. So anyway, we were seated with perfect seats, front row center 3rd tier and happy as clams until the people who sat down next to us settled and we noticed a very strong fragrent odor wafting in from their direction. My 8 year old caught my eye, but didn't say anything. So as the night progressed, this gentlemen got up from his seat several times, and each time he came back, the scent was stronger. Finally my little on slid over onto my lap and said, "Mommy, if I don't get some fresh air quick, I'm afraid we may be poisoned! I took him to the lobby for some water and a snack and he made me promise him the if he were to ever smell remotely that strong, I have his permission to put him into a mental health facility or a hospital to make sure his sense of smell wasn't damaged! We returned to the theatre and I showed him how he could discreetly use his program as a fan to keep some of the smell behind home. After the performance was over, after telling me which ballet he liked, what he didn't, and who is favorite was, he had this last little quip... 'I think when I go to the theatre I am excited that there are people around me Who appreciate the same things I do, even in different was. But I don't understand when someone would choose to use that much perfume and not think anyone would care. But most of all, mama, it seams by his actions more clear to me that I doubt he even cares if anyone else is bothered and that is just plain selfish. And you can't love art and music and dance and be selfish. It totally Contradictory!

I wrote this little dialogue as soon as I got home because children are so honest and pure. And pretty wise for only 7 years old!

Edited because I misquited him. He read it and said no, I said it this way.

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I remember when our family subscription for the opera was underneath the balcony, and the vagaries of the HVAC system seemed to waft every single scent in the house our way -- my mother (who had some pretty significant allergies) was so thrilled when we could move our seats a couple rows forward where the warm air took everything up to the second balcony.

As far as my standard theater clothing -- they're not that astonishing. I wind up sitting in the orchestra fairly often (as a critic, I go where they tell me to go) and I'm often sitting around people whose clothing budget would likely pay off my mortgage. I try not to stand out too much (scribbling in a notebook in the dark is already enough) so I've got a couple pairs of nice black slacks, and a couple tunics made from tencel (heavy, drapey, nice fabric that doesn't really wrinkle) -- beyond that, it's scarves.

But Seattle is fairly casual -- you'll get a lot of women who look like they're coming from the office as well as more dressy stuff.

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Black pants, wrinkle-proof tunics and scarves do sound like a versatile formula. I suppose I use it quite often myself, and it's all good, until your luggage gets lost. But that's an anecdote for another day.

And you can't love art and music and dance and be selfish. It totally Contradictory!

That's a very touching response. I hope his faith in art lovers is never disappointed.

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scribbling in a notebook in the dark is already enough

sandik, is it very hard to read notes taken in the dark? I usually wait until intermission to jot down observations, assuming there's no point trying when I can't see my notebook. Now I wonder if I haven't been trying hard enough. : )

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The older I get, the worse my handwriting becomes. (My mother had a similar experience -- I've seen her handwriting from both before and after college, and it really got scratchy the further along she got in her med tech training.)

The notes I take are generally quite disjointed -- single words or short phrases. Over the years, I've actually gotten pretty good at letting part of my brain dictate while the rest watches. I try to transcribe them pretty quickly, which gives me a chance to elaborate on some stuff (or just guess what in the world I thought I was saying...)

It's an individual thing, though -- there's no rule, and it's certainly not about whether you're "trying hard enough." On one level, if something is important enough that you remember it -- it's important.

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First of all, Fraildove, that story about your young son and what he said are priceless! :)

(I do agree with the idea of asking people to not wear perfume or other strong-smelling stuff in such confined spaces!)

Second, it is quite interesting to see how different theatres tend to have different "tradiitions" of how the audience likes to dress. It also - of course - seems to change according to what is being played that night.

Where I am, a town with a huge university, the general "dress-code" is fairly casual.

Exceptions are opening-nights of an opera. (but, sadly, not many university students appear to be interested in opear)

The theatre where my DDs dance seems to have a more "formal" dress-code for audience members; though of course nothing is written.

When we lived in Austria and the winters were pretty cold and with lots of snow, many people would arrive at the theatre wearing snow-boots and heavy snow-clothing, but changed when there, leaving the outdoor clothing and shoes in bags and on hooks where one can check coats.


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My sister did box office work for many years, including the symphony and the opera, and as a seamstress would often come home with stories about what people were wearing. We're always on the lookout for what we call the matinee trifecta (matching handbag, shoes and hat), which, alas, seems to be waning as newer generations don't wear coordinated hats very often. My personal best was a trio of animal prints (boots, handbag, and trim on poncho), but I'm a duffer compared to my sister.

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