Going for a thong

Going for a thong


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2011

An innocent tweet as to what one should wear to tonight’s operatic premiere has provoked much hilarity and a certain amount of serious contemplation.

The opera in question is Anna Nicole, Mark-Antony Turnage’s new work on the life of the Playboy centrefold bimbo who had a boob job, married a billionaire and died a celebrity death. 
Everyone expects the Royal Opera House show to be way over the top. Attire suggestions range from bare-butt, to lipstick and Jimmy Choos, to a double-breasted (law) suit and tie. I have an hour left to decide.
But what’s made the exercise so much fun is that it reflects the ROH’s success in banishing the usual stuffiness and turning a bold-type world premiere into something more like the singalong Sound of Music where patrons turn up as Nazis or nuns.
I want to see more of that in opera. More audience gypsies in Carmen, more geisha girls in Butterfly, more Nazis in the Ring. Further suggestions gleefully received.
I expect to review the opera overnight and will be talking about it on Sky News in the morning.
Should be fun.


  • Anon says:

    ” More audience gypsies in Carmen, more geisha girls in Butterfly, more Nazis in the Ring.”
    Sadly, I have a book with photographs of the opera house in Nuremberg decked out in full regalia with the Fuhrer in the box, ready for a Meistersinger.
    I did see a number of Dirndles in the Operette audiences though.

  • David snyder says:

    How about more tubercular courtesans for Traviata, and more hunchbacks for Rigoletto?

  • Marie Lamb says:

    Gee, they could use this idea to liven things up at the Met, too. This could be fun at their HD transmissions in movie theaters, although it might shock some of the more conservative souls…thank goodness! It could be a bit like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as someone suggested on Facebook, and perhaps it might attract some people who want a change from dressing as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, or from tossing around toast and Scottissue at the usual moments. Looking at the list of upcoming HD productions, one could have lots of fun as a male nun in “Le Comte Ory”; in Grecian robes or armor in “Iphigénie en Tauride”; in 18th-century powdered wigs or hoopskirts in “Capriccio”; as a gypsy, Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, or a Marx Brother in “Il Trovatore”; or as a warrior maiden with breastplate, a roving deity with eyepatch, Siegfried in animal skins, or a Wehrmacht officer in “Die Walküre.” The Met did “Nixon in China” last Saturday, but since I was minding the radio broadcast, I don’t if anyone showed up in Syracuse with Nixon masks or red 70s polyester dresses with matching hats and coats. “Lucia di Lammermoor” on March 19th could create some security problems, and would-be Brides of Lammermoor would have to check in their daggers at the door. (Makes me think of the song “Gimme a Pigfoot,” with Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith singing “Check all your razors and your guns.”) However, since country music is popular in Upstate New York, there should have been some folks in Western wear for “La Fanciulla del West” last month. The next time they have an HD repeat, maybe I should try this and con…I mean, convince some friends to join me! There are some things, however, where I would draw the line. If the Met ever does Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” I will not ask Syracuse University for the use of the fairy costume I had to wear in my student days, which was more like a Kermit the Frog suit. There’s a lot I will do for the arts, but once with that was enough!