Opera and Fashion – How To Stop the Decline

Opera and Fashion – How To Stop the Decline

Tuxedo for men 2013 & Bow Ties for eveningwear

Whilst at the ClassicFM Live event at the Royal Albert Hall, I was pondering on what I was seeing regarding what the men were wearing. The audience was far from youthful, and the ones that were seemed out of place. They did not feel comfortable and in approaching some men, most of them mentioned that they had no idea what to wear when entering this amazing building. Why is opera not drawing in an up and coming generation, who I feel needs every bit of musical education especially when it comes to opera. Opera singers are amazing, because they actually can sing. There is no miming or acting here, you have to sing live and sing in tune.

Opera Fashion Needs to Move On

Opera is outdated because it fails to move with the times. That’s why it has lost its audience. It doesn’t relate to anyone, only to a cultured elite that fails to see this. The young don’t want to associate themselves with it because it is just that, outdated. There is no one out there who would remotely be called the Tinie Tempah’s of this music genre. The uniform is the same old boring white and black tuxedo. The state of what the opera staff are wearing is appalling. I know that someone has performed on stage several times with holes in their shoes.

Opera Meets MenStyleFashion

What is the relevance of what I am doing? For me I’m  trying to style opera singers to bring them up to date and make opera look cool. I believe in these underpaid singers. I am trying to get opera back on the map for bigger audiences. I want to show a younger generation that the musical talent in opera is at a very sophisticated level. I thought the black tie events were limiting the style choices I could make, but I noticed a lot of rules were being not conformed to. This made me very happy, as I see some traditions are getting abandoned slowly. I was styling Opera singers last week at the ClassicFM Live event at the Royal Albert Hall and things can go wrong when it comes to suits and getting the fit right. This when pressure is on and time is limited you needs to embrace the chance of boldness.

The Challenge

So here is my challenge about redefining opera. For those who would like to join this exciting journey, they need to understand that you will not be bound by convention. You can’t be scared to be daring and try something new. Something that will catch the media and people’s attention. I’m looking for the new Tinie Tempah of opera. The stylish opera singer with personality who will bring in a younger crowd and embrace the men’s fashion for 2013. Not necessarily what is in vogue but who will set the trend and a different message, that opera is here to stay but it needs a whole new look.

Contrarian View

Rupert Christiansen has been the Daily Telegraph’s opera critic since 1996, and also writes on the arts in a fortnightly diary.  Ruperts contrarian view is that the image of opera as “exclusive and intimidating” is also paradoxically one of the aspects that young people find most attractive about it. Opera is weird, and also alluringly glamorous – “Enter an Extraordinary World” as the Royal Opera House’s current advertising campaign puts it. Why does everyone love being taken to Glyndebourne or Grange Park by a club member? Because the opera is fabulous, yes – but also because it is very posh, because you blow a bit of money on delicious champagne, and because it gives the ladies a chance to show off their best dresses. Jeans and trainers won’t make the opera more appealing to young people.

I agree with the jeans and trainers comment but I still have not seen a real take up of younger audiences. I think opera needs its style icons to really make the change, one that is noticed by people outside the opera and that can in this way act as an advertiser for this genre. I hope opera audiences and performers will share my curiosity and come with me with open minds along this fashion journey. I love what Wagner’s terms as  Ausdrucksvoll— full of expression. That’s what fashion is all about.

Below are examples of what I believe will certainly be a positive start on updating the fashion world of opera.


High end suits for men 2013

This certainly will pull in a different crowd


Opera Tuxedo for men 2014

June 2013 – Take me to the Opera

Angelo Mitahos unbeknown to us was featured in this very outfit in vogue.co.uk

“I bought my glasses on Brick Lane and my blazer and shoes are vintage. I’m also wearing a vintage St Michael bow tie, a Massimo Dutti shirt, Zara trousers and a Rotary watch.”

Tinie Tempah - Tuxedo 2014

Tinie Tempah – June 2013

Oliver Cheshire - Marks & Spencer Model Evening tuxedos

Mr Start & Mr Hare – June 2013


Tinie Tempah - London Collections Men - Jimmy Choo shoes

Tinie Tempah Shoes


The Overtones performed in this at Duchamp party

The Overtones performed in this at Duchamp party


Roberto Cavalli - 2013 suits for men

Robert Cavalli 2013 – Watching opera in this certainly would add to the performance


Roberto Cavalli - Blue boots for men 2013

Robert Cavalli 2013 – This collection is made for performing on stage


Robert Cavalli - Opera fashion for 2013 tuxedo

There is not a lot of movement on stage for Opera. So clothes are crucial for the crowds.


Lindeberg summer suits blue and red striped ties for men

Lindeberg summer suits 2013. This is a perfect warm up to opera wear for men both on and off stage


Pin Stripe Suits for men 2013 with red bow tie

That bow tie will stand out on stage that’s for sure


Brad Pitt - Black tuxedo 2013

The only thing that is pulling in the crowds here is Brad Pitt, not his suit. This suit in the opera arena has been worn over and over.


Classic FM - Royal Albert Hall 2013 - Tuxedo

This man deserves a modern quality suit


Jimmy Choo - Dover Street London UK 2013 Collection

Jimmy Choo latest collection 2013

About The Author

Gracie Opulanza

Global menswear and luxury lifestyle journalist. Co-founder and editor in chief of Men Style Fashion. GracieOpulanza.com is my personal blog.

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