Proper Attire At The Symphony

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Cosima___J
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Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:08 pm

If you've already discussed this topic ad nauseum (or if it's not a suitable--no pun intended--), forgive me. I rarely post at the Chatterbox. I love classical music and play classical piano at the amateur level, but tired many years ago of talking about it.

Anyway, we'll be visiting friends in Chicago who've mentioned having extra tickets (yes!) to the Chicago Symphony. Looking at this picture http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertain ... 711.column it looks like the proper attire is rather fancier than anything I own. Definitely fancier than what one wears to our local symphony. Do I need to visit the mall and do some shopping? What do people wear to your symphony?

John F
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by John F » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:37 pm

It depends. The photo is taken from the point of view of the most expensive and visible seats, box level center, and the people seated there are more likely to dress up unless they've come directly from work. Also, this is just a guess as the photo is undated, but I suspect it may have been taken at a gala - the opening concert or another special occasion - to which the major patrons come in force, have a reception or dinner before the concert, pay big bucks for the privilege, and accordingly dress up to impress each other.

From my experience in New York, at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera, there's a wide range of attire, from the formal to the informal (not torn blue jeans and running shoes, but not suits and evening gowns), and nobody particularly notices. This is not just in the balcony where the seats cost less, but in the orchestra too.
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:39 pm

Cosima___J wrote: Do I need to visit the mall and do some shopping? What do people wear to your symphony?
You're probably looking for guidance from female members, but I'll add a couple of comments anyway. First, that photo may have been taken on an "opening night" gala, and those seen in the foreground are in what are probably the most expensive box seats. So I don't think you have to meet their standard. Second, when we go to a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, if it's a weeknight, I wear a tie and jacket to work, so that's what I wear to the concert. Many men are more casually dressed than I am. And my wife is more casually dressed; I can't remember the last time she wore a dress to a concert.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:42 pm

Great minds think alike! John F and I posted replies at the same time, and came to almost identical conclusions.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:45 pm

The topic has come up, but not for a while. Ralph used to post that he always dressed casually for concerts or opera (I can vouch for that for the two I attended with him). At the Boston Symphony matinee the other day I wore dress pants and shirt, but not tie and jacket. Of course, men and women will always be talking past each other on this topic.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:41 pm

Wear whatever you like, all those people dressing up for a night at the Opera is part of the reason young people are put off by Classical Music and consider it for snobs...I went to see Gergiev conduct Shosty's The Nose at The Metropolitan Opera, he was wearing no jacket, no tie, and, his black shirt was not even tucked in at the waist, he's definitely my kind of Conductor... :wink:
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by RebLem » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:56 pm

A man won't go far wrong (except for opening night) by wearing a jacket, dress shirt and solid color or other conservative tie, dress slacks, and black leather shoes with solid color socks. And this is if you definitely want to be on the safe side. A woman can't go wrong with a simple black sheath dress that comes to just below the knees when standing, a string of fake pearls, a small, conservatively styled clutch type handbag, nylons or panty hose, and a pair of solid color, conservatively styled 1" or 2" heels.

Another way to look at it is to just wear what you would wear to a job interview for a an entry level professional office job.
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:10 pm

RebLem wrote:A man won't go far wrong (except for opening night) by wearing a jacket, dress shirt and solid color or other conservative tie, dress slacks, and black leather shoes with solid color socks. And this is if you definitely want to be on the safe side. A woman can't go wrong with a simple black sheath dress that comes to just below the knees when standing, a string of fake pearls, a small, conservatively styled clutch type handbag, nylons or panty hose, and a pair of solid color, conservatively styled 1" or 2" heels.
Is that a dress code or a fantasy? :wink: :D

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Sator » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:59 pm

I always at least wear a dark suit and tie. At some events I will event wear a dinner suit. I refuse to wear colours that are more day colours for evening concerts eg browns. You would never even see me in just a sports jacket either. I couldn't care less if most of the time I end up out dressing the conductor.

I think that the idea that if you dumb things down that classical music will become immensely popular is simply wrong. People of all backgrounds expect classical music to have class. So dragging things down to the level of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with drum kit and musicians dressed like they just got out of bed just ends up debasing the image. It becomes like caviar served with Pepsi. The whole of classical music becomes less appealing, not more so.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:27 pm

Sator wrote:I always at least wear a dark suit and tie. At some events I will event wear a dinner suit. I refuse to wear colours that are more day colours for evening concerts eg browns. You would never even see me in just a sports jacket either. I couldn't care less if most of the time I end up out dressing the conductor.

I think that the idea that if you dumb things down that classical music will become immensely popular is simply wrong. People of all backgrounds expect classical music to have class. So dragging things down to the level of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with drum kit and musicians dressed like they just got out of bed just ends up debasing the image. It becomes like caviar served with Pepsi. The whole of classical music becomes less appealing, not more so.
I have consistently wanted to put an extra letter in your name, making it "Sartor" (L., taylor), and now I know why.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Ted Quanrud » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:00 pm

Clean, cool, casual and comfortable is my motto. At my age, I don't dress up for much of anything these days, and I won't wear a tie for anyone. I like to take in a concert in dark, semi-dress trousers, a dark. lightweight, long-sleeved pullover, and freshly polished loafers. Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it "man bag"). It enables me to bring a pair of superb Leitz Trinovid mini binoculars, a small flashlight, cough drops and the like, in addition to the insulin, testing supplies, ad nauseum. I certainly respect the people who do dress up for the occasion, especially the ladies who can be spectacular. It's just that I'm here to hear not to be seen.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:37 pm

Sator wrote:I think that the idea that if you dumb things down that classical music will become immensely popular is simply wrong. People of all backgrounds expect classical music to have class. So dragging things down to the level of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with drum kit and musicians dressed like they just got out of bed just ends up debasing the image. It becomes like caviar served with Pepsi. The whole of classical music becomes less appealing, not more so.
I could think of nothing worse than ANY performance of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, no matter who's playing it or what they are wearing...Americans, especially, have always dressed up for Social gatherings, and have continued to do so more than many other Countries, some may think of it as quaint, I think of it as plain old fashioned... :wink:

After all, my Generation (i'm 55) will be the first ones not to wear ties in retirement, thankfully... :D
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Guitarist » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:35 pm

I usually wear a suite/tie or a nice sweater, slacks, and sport coat.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:19 am

Cosi, a nice slack suit with a pretty blouse will do the trick.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Ted Quanrud » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:10 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Thanks, Chalkie! I owe you again. I had never heard the term "murse" (it takes a while for the Pony Express to reach North Dakota), but I just googled it, and came up with several models that I prefer to what I have now.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:51 pm

Ted Quanrud wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Thanks, Chalkie! I owe you again. I had never heard the term "murse" (it takes a while for the Pony Express to reach North Dakota), but I just googled it, and came up with several models that I prefer to what I have now.
Oh great; now we'll have to wait longer in grocery stores for men to get everything in and out of their "murses" too. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Werner » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:08 pm

Based on the highly non-scientific survey above, dress codes seem out of date, allowing a wide range of apparel - as our own years at the New York Philharmonic bear out.

And they still play Eine Kleine Nachtmusik wheneveer they feek the urge to program it, and the audience, dressed like Ralph or like Sator, appreciates it.
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:46 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
RebLem wrote:A man won't go far wrong (except for opening night) by wearing a jacket, dress shirt and solid color or other conservative tie, dress slacks, and black leather shoes with solid color socks. And this is if you definitely want to be on the safe side. A woman can't go wrong with a simple black sheath dress that comes to just below the knees when standing, a string of fake pearls, a small, conservatively styled clutch type handbag, nylons or panty hose, and a pair of solid color, conservatively styled 1" or 2" heels.
Is that a dress code or a fantasy? :wink: :D
LOL.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:47 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Gotta carry the necessary electronic paraphernalia somehow.

These days a tie is beginning to look out of place. We're finally catching up to the Mennonites who have always found them to be an expression of human vanity.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:57 pm

slofstra wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Gotta carry the necessary electronic paraphernalia somehow.

These days a tie is beginning to look out of place. We're finally catching up to the Mennonites who have always found them to be an expression of human vanity.
I've always thought of them as the closest thing men have to a brassiere in terms of willing self-torture.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:18 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Thanks, Chalkie! I owe you again. I had never heard the term "murse" (it takes a while for the Pony Express to reach North Dakota), but I just googled it, and came up with several models that I prefer to what I have now.
Oh great; now we'll have to wait longer in grocery stores for men to get everything in and out of their "murses" too. :wink:
I only use mine when traveling, when I go Grocery Shopping I use a backpack... :wink:
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Sator » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:44 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Sator wrote: I have consistently wanted to put an extra letter in your name, making it "Sartor" (L., taylor), and now I know why.
SATOR is also a Latin word meaning "sower" or "planter". I use it the name as a tribute to a certain 20th composer who used a magic square that is a palindrome based on the word in a lecture about music:

Image

As for the tailor thing, well, that too is kind of right since I run a forum about tailoring:

http://www.cutterandtailor.com

When it comes to wearing ties - I wear one to go to buy the weekend paper from the local shops. Anachronistic? That's what some say about my musical tastes too.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:57 am

I'm a bit late to the game on this thread, but as noted elsewhere, there are no strict rules outside of no jeans & sneakers. I usually go to Symphony Hall in Boston with slacks, a collared dress shirt, dress shoes, no tie and (occasionally) a jacket, and I've never felt under-dressed or out of place.

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:51 pm

ContrapunctusIX wrote:I'm a bit late to the game on this thread, but as noted elsewhere, there are no strict rules outside of no jeans & sneakers.
All I ever wear is sweatpants and sneakers and have done so since 1978 when Elton John turned me on to it as good for traveling, I use to do about 300,000 miles a year back then Photographing Rock Bands, and I feel right at home at the Opera dressed like that, the only difference now is that the Sweatpants and Sneakers are Italian rather than American... :wink:
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Auntie Lynn
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Auntie Lynn » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:08 pm

I look gawjus! You cannot do the Foyer Strut if you have nothing to strut. Willie Brown and I have the same Saturday night subscription and we have this little two-step routine...

And how about them Jints!!?? Everybody said we'd drop dead when Barry Bonds left...too soon to tell...

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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by NancyElla » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:56 pm

At the Kennedy Center last night, I paid more attention than usual to the attire of the patrons (I'm usually pretty oblivious). I saw everything from formal evening wear (yes, tuxes, evening gowns, the works) to jeans and running shoes. Washington DC is that kind of town--anything goes. In contrast to my political leanings, my concert attire is usually conservative and centrist. Last night I wore a navy blue dress of mid-calf length that pretty much guaranteed that Robin Givhan wouldn't mention me in the Post.
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Re: Proper Attire At The Symphony

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:25 pm

slofstra wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Since I'm severely diabetic, I must carry a "purse." (please don't call it a "man bag").
Actually it's called a Murse, I also travel with one, as do most European men, but, not Brit's...our own Henry Slofstra also carries one...
Gotta carry the necessary electronic paraphernalia somehow.

These days a tie is beginning to look out of place. We're finally catching up to the Mennonites who have always found them to be an expression of human vanity.

The tie will never be out of place, although it certainly isn't mandatory. Conventions change, but general standards of pleasant, classy attire still carry at most symphony halls. Occasional genuis conductors and performers can get away with flouting the rule, but they are the deviant geniuses we tend to be lenient towards, and they are the exceptions pointing to the rule.
Cyril Ignatius

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