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What would be the proper attire for Messiah performance at Royal Albert Hall (and still trying to pack lightly)?

What would be the proper attire for Messiah performance at Royal Albert Hall (and still trying to pack lightly)?

Jul 5th, 2006, 03:04 PM
  #1  
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What would be the proper attire for Messiah performance at Royal Albert Hall (and still trying to pack lightly)?

My husband and I will be in London in mid-December and a check of the Royal Albert Hall's site revealed a performance of the Messiah on December 15. I would be thrilled to go BUT will pass it up if I have to bring a set of clothes and pair of shoes for just one evening. Yes, yes, of course we could wear lovely things again on the trip but we are always very budget-minded and won't be having need for them.

Can I get by with a pair of black trousers, dressy blouse and stylish yet practical footwear? Would my husband be required to wear a suit and his shiny shoes? I'm assuming this isn't a black tie event but certainly don't want to feel terribly out of place nor disrespectful (and don't want to pack that suit!).

Thanks,
Linda
sorriso is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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By all means you'll be fine. For your husband, I'd recommend a sports jacket and slacks. A jacket that time of year will come in handy anyway. Even a sweater with slacks would be okay. But please no trainers(running shoes).
historytraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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The Royal Albert Hall is a very large venue and you will see hundreds of people in everything from fairly formal to downright super-casual. And even the hated white trainers.

Wear what you'd be comfortable in - something you'd feel OK wearing to a nice-ish restaurant.
janisj is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 04:47 PM
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Fear not...no trainers would be worn by either of us!

Thank you both very much for your responses.
sorriso is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Ahhh... A response and a thank you. It's people like you who keep me from giving up compeletly.

Thank you!
historytraveler is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 06:19 AM
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YOu have plenty of time to shop for the perfect black sweater set, if you don't already own it. Team it with slacks and a terrific necklace and scarf, and you're good to go.
missypie is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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Frankly, I think you'll be overdressed compared to most of the audience - unless you're performing of course! The only venues with clear dress codes now are the opera - and even then the standards have sadly declined - white tie is not always observed. Relax and enjoy.
PS if you fancy a trip out of London, the choir I'm in, the Three Spires Singers - will be performing Messiah in Truro cathedral [cornwall] on 9th December 2006. Not quite the same as The Albert Hall, I'll agree, but just as good in its ownway!
annhig is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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Interested in the comment about dress code at the Opera - could you expand?
wombat7 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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No dress code at the English National Opera at the Coliseum. I'd be surprised if the Royal Opera House has one for anything other than very special gala nights with royalty on parade. Some of us go to look at what's on the stage, not the audience.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:23 AM
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BLACK athletic shoes do fine, especially in Dec. with black slacks and a long/medium black all purpose coat.
IT's hard finding black athletic shoes, but with bad feet and knees, I've always found it worth the effort.(one time I had them made via Nike's internet site where one can pick all the colors and I just kept clicking Black for every option)! We always travel to Europe in early spring and late Fall, when it is pretty chilly. I attended the opera once in Vienna, in Nov., with these shoes and eveything else black.....felt good. Be comfortable.....but no WHITE !
mari5 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:27 AM
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Yes, please never wear white shoes of any sort..you might actually be mistaken for one of the "locals" who doesn't care.
Dukey is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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I doubt you'd be turned away at the RAH or the opera no matter what you wore assuming something from the usual travellers' suitcase. But, what you may feel comfortable in at these venues , in my experience, depends hugely on where you are sitting...or standing. Rule of thumb is, the more expensive your seats, the better (more upscale) people dress although there nearly always are exceptions.

I've been to the Messiah at the RAH, but as a student in standing room. We wore casual clothes but tried not to look like slobs, and we were fine. The people in the most espensive areas were dressed more formally, but as another poster said, there was a full range of dress in the RAH for this event. Just enjoy!
eliztrav is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Thanks Patrick - that is what I thought - hoping to go to see Turandot on Tuesday night and was planning on being "smart" but nothing more
wombat7 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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The norm at Covent Garden (where Turandot's playing) is for collar and tie - or else something very smart indeed, like Nehru jackets - in seats over £150. This tends not to be followed at the very peak of summer if it's hot. And it's not followed at all in the cheaper seats.

Black tie is actually close to universal at some of the snootier summer opera festivals in the London area.

I haven't seen people dress posh for any seats at the Albert Hall since Frank Sinatra's farewell do, when the Costa del Sawnoff Shotgun's finest dolled themselves up. For proper music, my neighbours always seem as scruffy as me whether we're in the boxes or the gods. The only people who have a dress code to worry about are the choirs.

But there IS a code at the Albert Hall of standing during the Alleluia chorus. This is allegedly in deference to the habits of George III. American Republian Fundamentalists might gib. But most people who stay sat do so under the misguided apprehension they're protesting against religion.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I thought that standing during the Hallelujah Chorus was in deference to the virtuosity of the musicians who are performing the piece.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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If you can hear the musicians at that point, the choir's not doing its job right.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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The legend is that George III was so moved by the Hallelujah Chorus that he stood--and of course everyone else had to stand with him. So began the tradition.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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sorry, I was using "musicians" to include/mean those singing. I've known several music majors whose "instrument" is their voice.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:44 AM
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It's not just the Albert Hall where the convention of standing for the Halleluia chorus is observed - it's at every performance, so we'll be doing it in Truro too.
annhig is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 04:55 AM
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Not George III, George II (who was king when Messiah was first performed), and the standing tradition for the Hallelujah chorus can be a bit haphazard. I went to a period instrument performance at the Barbican last Christmas (none of Ebenezer Prout's musical lard), and there was an embarrassing sort of 50% "bobbing up and down like this" in the audience.
PatrickLondon is online now  

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