Should you dress like Cinderella (or her Prince) if you’ve seats or standing tickets for one of Vienna’s opera houses?
The short answer is you can, but you don’t have to.
Obviously, check with the opera house in question for the latest requirements. At the time of writing…
- The Volksoper, for example, states in its FAQ that it has no specific dress code, though they welcome suitable attire. You should exercise common sense, of course. Swimwear might lead to some unfavourably raised eyebrows.
- The Staatsoper (state opera house) has some house rules for you that respect the surrounding elegance. For example, bare feet or flipflops may see you refused entry.
However, getting through the door is not your only worry when it comes to clothes.
If you’re wearing “normal” jeans and a t-shirt, for example, you won’t get thrown out of anywhere, and you certainly won’t be alone, either, especially if you’re in a standing space section.
Having said that, you might not be viewed with unbridled joy by some of the better-dressed visitors, particularly at the Staatsoper.
My advice: simply dress as if you were going for a nice evening out to a good restaurant and don’t worry about it.
As a man, I wear decent trousers, shoes (not trainers) and a shirt with a collar, rarely a sports jacket (and never a tie since these are the invention of Beelzebub); I have yet to get anything other than neutral looks.
For women, a nice blouse/blazer, perhaps? Whatever you feel comfortable in, but respects the operatic ambiance.
- If you want to pull out all the stops, by all means put on an evening gown or dinner jacket. You won’t be alone.
A night at the opera is, after all, a night at the opera. Drinking a glass of sparkling wine in the interval while dressed up in the magnificent surrounds of the Staatsoper makes for a great Viennese experience.
- If you’re in the standing sections, public expectations of dress are lower than for the seats. However, the Staatsoper basic requirements (see link above) still apply. If you wouldn’t wear it to visit a church in Rome, don’t wear it to the opera in Vienna.
- If you’re lucky enough to be at a premiere or other one-off occasion, then dress up for it: expectations are higher. And the Opernball, of course, has it own rules.