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.
- See also: Guided tour of the Staatsoper
The Volksoper, for example, states in its FAQ that it has no formal dress code.
The Staatsoper (state opera house) doesn’t go quite so far, noting in its house rules:
…persons dressed very informally (for instance, wearing short pants or leisurewear) may be refused admission
However, getting through the door is not your only worry when it comes to clothes…
If you’re wearing jeans, you won’t get thrown out of anywhere and you certainly won’t be alone, either, especially if you’re in a standing 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 elegantly as if you were going for a nice evening out to an upmarket restaurant and don’t worry about it.
As a man, I usually try and respect the elegance of the occasion by at least wearing decent trousers, proper shoes (not trainers) and a shirt with a collar, sometimes a sports jacket (but no tie); I have yet to get any disapproving 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 and 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, expectations of dress are lower than for the seats. However, respectful clothing is still required at the Staatsoper, which means no shorts or similar. 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 and requirements are higher. And the Opernball has it own rules.