Glyndebourne announces dress code change

Glyndebourne’s new general director Sebastian Schwarz tells the Times he’s relaxed about how people turn up to the black-tie opera festival:

I would never turn away someone in jeans and a leather jacket, but nor do I think it’s elitist to dress up. The more special you feel, the more special will be the experience. And these days there are many more ways to dress up stylishly and flamboyantly and reflect your personality. Why not imitate what’s happening on the stage? You don’t necessarily have to put on a baroque wig, though wouldn’t that be a lovely sight on the lawn?’

Something like these guys, taking during Washington DC’s current Ring?


ring visitors

photo (c) Marianna Gray

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  • Bayreuth is the best place to observe a great variety of personality-driven dressing for the opera.

  • I’m sorry, but my Yves Saint Laurent jeans and leather jacket cost more than every tuxedo I’ve ever owned and certainly more than 99% of the cheap tuxes that I see on guys at the opera.

    Those who think they are “dressed up” just because they’re wearing a rent-a-tux should think again… It’s as obvious as a cheap costume on stage.

      • If you’re unfortunate enough to believe YSL has no value, you might try visiting the Met’s (the Museum) Costume Institute perhaps just once in your life. But then again, I don’t expect you to get in, dressed as Oscar Wilde.

    • Exactly the kind of opera-goer us jeans – wearing types decide to avoid by just giving the whole Glyndebourne scene a very wide berth.

  • “Why not imitate what’s happening on the stage?” Lets hope Glyndebourne holds on-stage nudity to a minimum lest it pop up among audience members too.

  • Hear hear! I have strong suspicions that this will not in any way, shape, or form lower the tone of the festival, moreover will help to enhance the special occasion for those who don’t necessarily wish to feel confined to monochrome. In any case the policy has latterly been that black tie was suggested, but not a hard and fast rule. As such, in recent years, many audience members (particularly gents it has to said) have made a more bold expression of their respective styles and personalities, than the perfectly respectable, albeit middle of the road black tie.

  • The two chaps in the photo certainly do stand out here in Washington. There are also a few others who are clearly taking some trouble to live up to the occasion. But at least half of the audience look as though they are dressed for no more than a night at the movies. All a bit dull, really. Perhaps after paying the breathtaking ticket prices they can’t afford new clothes as well.

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