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Old Feb 8, 12, 1:30 pm   #1
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The MET dress code

According to their website, There is no dress code at the Met. People dress more formally for Galas or openings of new productions, but this is optional. We recommend comfortable clothing appropriate for a professional setting.

I have tickets for La Traviata on April 6th. Though it's the first performance of this opera, there are previous productions on april and march (Manon, Macbeth, etc.). I'd understand this is not a premiere or an opening right? how do I know when is a gala or opening?

I'm planning to wear a blue blazer w/ shirt and no tie, is that acceptable? Or should I wear tie? My seats are in Orchestra road C.

Thanks
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Old Feb 8, 12, 1:40 pm   #2
 
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I think the blazer is fine. I tend to go in a button down shirt and/or sweater and khakis. I've seen (very few) people there in jeans, but I wouldn't do that myself.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 1:50 pm   #3
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The first time I went to the Met, I broke out my tux, assuming that was the norm. Of course, I looked a bit strange standing next to all the people in blazers and khakis!
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:07 pm   #4
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At the Met, you'll find an entire range of dress. It varies, in some respects, based on where you're sitting. You'll find a lot of tuxedos and suits in orchestra, more casual clothes as you move further up. For the premiere of a new opera, it is often more dressy. Met attendees tend to take their opera very seriously. The kind of clothes is less important than the respect shown to other audience members and, of course, the performers, orchestra and conductor. Not applauding at the wrong times, not unwrapping candy, not talking, etc. is more important than what you're wearing.

The Met is a beautiful venue for opera and, though only built in the 70s, it is still steeped in tradition. When my wife and I go, I usually wear a nice sport jacket, nice (e.g. silk) collared shirt with no tie, slacks and dress shoes -- though it's more "dressy" than when we go to theater, I still like to be comfortable. However, we also usually sit much farther back in the orchestra than Row C as we buy our tickets at the last minute, and also don't usually go to premieres. If it's a big event, like a premiere or the debut American performance of a famous foreign singer, I'd probably consider wearing a suit or, at least, putting on a tie.

YMMV, but one of the things that I like about opera is the formality of the experience. Live theater in New York has suffered, I think, by being promoted primarily as a tourist attraction like some kind of theme park, rock music concert, or sporting event. This has resulted, not only in extremely casual dress (which, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing), but the casual behaviors that are concomitants, which tend to ruin the experience for audiences and performers alike. As I said, YMMV, but I think the live performing arts, whether theater, opera, dance or "classical" music, are absolutely unique from other forms of entertainment in that the audience is an active participant in the performance, and undertakes obligations beyond the passive observation that is all that is required for film and television viewing. Because the audience participates, appropriate costume and conduct should be considered.

As a side note, whenever we go to the Met, we see a sprinkling of young children, both boys and girls, some appearing to be as young as six. In every single case, though, these amazing kids have been dressed to the nines, polite, well-behaved (describing them as well-behaved really doesn't do them justice -- they comport themselves perfectly) and, most impressive of all, they've been absolutely enthralled by both the performance and the entire opera-going experience. Would that all parents instill such appreciation for the fine arts in their kids!
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:08 pm   #5
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When it comes to venues such as this, I always follow my Father's advice: "it is very hard to be overdressed".
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:21 pm   #6
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I see people in everything from jeans to black tie at the Met. On Friday and Saturday nights it skews a bit more formal, but the most formal most people get is a suit with or without the tie.

Your suggested outfit will be fine.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:28 pm   #7
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There are no standards of dress for the opera, ballet or the theatre these days. Don't worry. Just turn off your smartphone/iphone. Don't just put it on vibrate. Don't be like those who are selfish enough to ruin the performance for everyone else.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:41 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
When it comes to venues such as this, I always follow my Father's advice: "it is very hard to be overdressed".
Bravo!

(By the way, they say that even on the season opening night, white tie is only for the conductor, but what do I know?)

While I agree with much of what PTravel wrote, I would never go to the Met in less than a suit and tie. (Of course, I would also not go to the Met unless I had good seats so that works out.)

A few years ago, like the situation in OP's question, my girlfriend and I attended the first season performance of Rigoletto and sat in one of the first five rows on the aisle. We made an evening of it, going black tie and spending each intermission in the Grand Tier restaurant. That made the evening much more enjoyable especially since the cast sucked (according to me and the New York Times review).

If you want to go wearing jeans and an LMFAO t-shirt and are sitting down front, then better carry the full-length score so people think you're a performer rather than just disrespectul. This isn't Yankee Stadium, after all. You know that because the good seats are cheaper.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 2:44 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analise View Post
There are no standards of dress for the opera, ballet or the theatre these days. Don't worry. Just turn off your smartphone/iphone. Don't just put it on vibrate. Don't be like those who are selfish enough to ruin the performance for everyone else.
...or the wrath of Alan Gilbert from next door will come down upon thee! I believe Analise is referring to the closing bars of the Mahler symphony a couple weeks ago.

Back to the OT -- the members of the Metropolitan Opera Club do ask members to come in evening dress. Some men even put on white tie. Ladies in ball gowns. It makes for a lot of showy fun for this mostly younger set who then filter into the hall for the performance after dinner.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 8:20 pm   #10
 
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Dressing up makes it more fun

I'm a fan and a regular at the Met Saturday matinée. The performance you are going to on April 6 is on a Friday evening, and if I were going to be in a seat at that performance anywhere but the Family Circle - which tends to be more casual - I would certainly wear something chic and dressy, not "business casual". Dinner at the Met Grand Tier restaurant is indeed a great experience and definitely formal (and pretty pricey, too). I disagree that it is impossible to be overdressed - anyone in formal attire (black tie, cocktail dress) at the Saturday matinee would be overdressed, and ball gowns are strictly for the opening night gala and other galas (always identified as such on the very helpful website). I just think that dressing up is part of the fun, and even in a standing place at the matinée (shh ... best bargain in New York) I'd avoid jeans and sneakers. Opera is not stuffy nor is it only for what some politicians refer to as the "cultural élite" but it IS special and magical, and I find that dressing up a little helps me enjoy the magnificent music, brilliant performances, world-class orchestra and awesome auditorium even more. I'm sure you will have a lovely time, I hope you do!
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Old Feb 9, 12, 8:08 am   #11
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
If you want to go wearing jeans and an LMFAO t-shirt and are sitting down front, then better carry the full-length score so people think you're a performer rather than just disrespectul.
While I agree that jeans and a t-shirt is underdressed, why is it disrespectful? When I go to the opera, I'm interested in what's going on on stage, not in what people sitting near me in the (near) dark are wearing. (Granted one could take my argument to the extreme, as some attire -- or lack of attire! -- could be distracting or, worse yet, disruptive, but I hardly put jeans and a t-shirt in that class.)
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Old Feb 9, 12, 8:09 am   #12
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...or the wrath of Alan Gilbert from next door will come down upon thee! I believe Analise is referring to the closing bars of the Mahler symphony a couple weeks ago.
That was egregious. I'm referring to my subscription to the NYCB in which one or two people leave their smartphones on to text or even take calls. I don't care as much about dress code since we live in a world in which dressing up is a rarity. I dress for the occasion; if others don't, that's their issue. I care more about respect for the performers and the audience.

Quote:
Back to the OT -- the members of the Metropolitan Opera Club do ask members to come in evening dress. Some men even put on white tie. Ladies in ball gowns. It makes for a lot of showy fun for this mostly younger set who then filter into the hall for the performance after dinner.
When we were growing up, formal nights often fell on Monday evenings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeyDi
I just think that dressing up is part of the fun, and even in a standing place at the matinée (shh ... best bargain in New York) I'd avoid jeans and sneakers. Opera is not stuffy nor is it only for what some politicians refer to as the "cultural élite" but it IS special and magical, and I find that dressing up a little helps me enjoy the magnificent music, brilliant performances, world-class orchestra and awesome auditorium even more. I'm sure you will have a lovely time, I hope you do!
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Old Feb 9, 12, 9:19 am   #13
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
While I agree that jeans and a t-shirt is underdressed, why is it disrespectful? When I go to the opera, I'm interested in what's going on on stage, not in what people sitting near me in the (near) dark are wearing.
Probably because it's a gross differentiation from what has been traditionally expected by both the performers and the rest of the audience.

Jeans and t-shirt may be legal to wear in court but no lawyer with any sense would intentionally wear such attire for the same reason.
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Old Feb 9, 12, 12:38 pm   #14
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, LimeyDi!
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Old Feb 9, 12, 12:43 pm   #15
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
While I agree that jeans and a t-shirt is underdressed, why is it disrespectful?
As I mentioned in my post, casual dress implies casual behavior, which is inappropriate for opera or any other live fine arts performance. Look to Broadway for an example of what has happened.
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