Take your drinks into the opera

Take your drinks into the opera


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2017

You can do it at San Francisco Opera.

Good idea?

The only way to endure Parsifal?


  • DESR says:

    Parsifal is Holy Communion. No other ‘drink’ required 🙂

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Many venues in London have allowed drinks in their auditoria for years as long as they are in plastic `glasses.`

    • Steve P says:

      I know I’m linguistically deficient when I marvel at seeing “auditoria” used in a sentence.

      Wagner listening needs beer – preferably strong and dark. Can’t imagine red winewith German opera.

    • Nick says:

      Years ago I remember being amazed that drinks were permitted at performances at the National Theatre. I consider it appalling that they are now permitted in opera performances. Where are these plastic glasses going to be placed before their contents have been finished? Are there ring-holes in the armrests as in cinemas? If not, then will the audience be expected to old them in their hands thereby melting ice for the G&T brigade? Or will we be subjected to bobbing heads around the auditorium as patrons keep placing them on and picking them up from the floor? It’s a mad idea!

    • Una says:

      Yeah, but then they keep going in and out to go to the loo every five minutes, climbing through their seats, and then expect to be allowed back to where they were! The Grand Theatre in Leeds, where Opera North do most of their operas, allows drinks in, but Opera North put a stop to it and they put up signs for their performances that no drinks, not even water (as some people put wine in their water bottles). Some of us just got sick to death of the constant sipping and the eating through an opera and find it a distraction. Why can’t anyone just sit still these days and have such a short attention span? Why this culture of having to keep drinking and eating on the hoof all the time? They think they are at the pictures or watching a video at home, and the only ones there as well, as if in their own living rooms. Never crosses their mind that they are watching live theatre with other people around. Time and place for all of this. I’ve even had people eating crisps in London around me at the Proms, and munching through bags of sweets and popcorn, but then that’s the price you pay for sitting in the cheap seats, as I do. And then one bloke trying to play the slow movement of the Mozart piano concerto of the night up his girl friend’s arm beside me! It’s like everything in life, if you’re not breaking the law or it’s not wrong, doesn’t make it – er – right.

  • John Borstlap says:

    In a recent Regietheater production of Tristan, drinks were not allowed, neither in the audience nor on stage, so the plot became somewhat incomprehensible.

    • Bruce says:

      Yes, that would be confusing, since the whole plot turns on the Act I brindisi 🙂

      • erich says:

        This is a ghastly trend….they’ll be munching crisps next. What is it about the modern generation that they cannot get through a performance without stuffing themselves with drink or food? It’s the same with singers. Can one imagine Birgit Nilsson, Christa Ludwig or Fischer-Dieskau swigging water on stage? It’s just a question of discipline – and it’s also an ugly sight to have water bottles or glasses strewn across the front of the stage.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Maybe in that hypothetical production Isolde shared a joint or something like that with Tristan, instead of the ‘love potion.’ That would not surprise me.

  • Robert Garbolinski says:

    NO NO NO!!!!!

  • Gregor Tassie says:

    Taking drinks into any performance is a disgusting totally uncultured act and is wholly disrespectful to other members of the audience. It is just a means by the theatre to make more money. It must be banned completely, how many people have to leave to go to relieve themselves. Quite shocking that we have descended to this level.

    • John Borstlap says:

      I know of people who smuggle a bottle of Vermouth into a Parsifal performance to get drunk both musically and physically, which seems to heighten the effect. Other people reach the same state of intoxication by fasting a week before the performance.

    • Brian says:

      Worth pointing out that in the 18th century, opera houses were regularly the site of card games, drinking, gossiping, shouting back at the performers, and general carrying on. It was only post-Wagner that houses took on the trappings of upper-class behavior and norms. That’s also when the art form began to lose its grounding in mass culture.

  • Chris says:

    You can do this at the Chicago Lyric now, too. For a few dollars extra they will pour your drink in a plastic, reusable adult sippy cup that you can bring into the house.

  • Edgar says:

    Live opera becoming like the movies…?

  • William Safford says:

    Glimmerglass Opera not only now permits drinks in the hall, but sells cute plastic wine glasses (more like sippy cups for adults) bearing the Glimmerglass Opera logo. Zambello plugged them from the stage.

    “The only way to endure Parsifal?” – LOL.