How to Dress for a Saturday Night Opera Premiere and What to Expect

How to Wear a Formal Tulle Ballgown | Dress to wear to next Saturday night opera premiere or black tie event

Isn’t this dress just fabulous? I wore this dress to the opera in Austin on Saturday night, I felt like a pretty pretty princess all night long. The lace, the tulle – it was just absolute perfection.

When attending a Saturday night opera (or an opera premiere), there are a few things you can expect when it comes to dress code / figuring out what to wear:

  1. It’ll be fancy. Saturday night is the fanciest night in opera, so expect the dress to reflect that. I typically wear a formal dress to Saturday night performances – think of it as black tie optional.
  2. It’ll be cold. Theaters are legit always cold. I recommend bringing a jacket or a scarf. And potentially a date who is wearing a jacket that you can “borrow”.
  3. Booze will be served. And likely spilled. So wear shoes you can walk in (even while tipsy!) and have a plan to clean your dress.
What to wear to a Saturday night opera premiere - Rent the Runway formal dress rental
How to dress for a Saturday night opera premiere - Blogger wearing formal dress with lace bodice and tulle skirt
How to style a black YSL clutch
What to wear to a black tie wedding | Tulle and lace gown perfect for next formal attire event
What to expect from a Saturday night opera premiere | Blogger styles tulle gown while crossing street

How to Dress for a Saturday Night Opera Premiere:

Tulle Gown: Nha Khanh (from Rent the Runway) / Shoes: Asos, old (similar, similar) / Purse: Yves Saint Laurent
Necklace: J.Crew, old (similar) / Earrings: / Ring: Kate Spade, old (similar) / Earrings: The Pearl Monkey, ℅

Lately, I’ve been finding my formal frocks on Rent the Runway. I rent a few dresses at a time (so I can see what looks best). Most importantly, if/when a spill occurs, I don’t need to worry about cleaning it – I just send it back to Rent the Runway!

Need more outfit inspiration? Check out this post. In it, I go through exactly what to wear to your first opera, no matter the dress code! There’s also this post, in which I talk about what to wear to a Friday night opera (an entirely separate ballgame!).

But now that we’ve covered how to dress… what can you expect from a Saturday night opera premiere?

What to Expect from an Opera Premiere:

Whether its a global premiere or just a season premiere, there are a few things you can count on:

  1. Drinks. Did I mention drinks? Just in case: drinks. The opera community is a drinking community. The Venn diagram of the opera community and the wine community is essentially a circle (or a circle within a circle).
  2. Entertaining conversation. Opera attracts eccentric individuals, so be prepared for some truly entertaining conversations. Also, if you end up talking to a performer, tell them to “break a leg” – never “good luck”!
  3. The theater will be cold. The lights shining on the stage emit a ton of heat, so in order to keep the performers from melting, theaters are basically kept as an ice box. I mentioned this earlier, but I really just wanted to hammer it home that the theater will be cold. Really really cold. So be prepared.
  4. People will fall asleep. No matter how exciting the opera, there’s always somebody within close proximity who falls asleep. For me, it’s typically my dad. There’s something about being in a comfortable chair and listening to music – he’s typically asleep by the time the first aria of the night starts. My rule of thumb is to only wake these folks up if they start snoring. Otherwise, it’s not really bothering anybody!
  5. If you’re invited to an afterparty, attend (but only if you’re ready to stay up late)! I’ve been to afterparties that last till 2-3AM. Obviously you don’t need to stay the whole time, but try to stay for at least 45 minutes or an hour. Plus, you never know what sorts of interesting characters you’re going to meet!

Now for a little bit about last Saturday night’s performance:

This season, for their first performance, the Austin Opera decided to do a concert of Wagner and Strauss (to which I wore this tulle gown). Two of my favorite pieces from the evening were a compilation from Der Rosenkavalier and the ending aria from Salome (one of my favorite operas!). After the opera, we had drinks on the terrace and then dinner on the stage – an experience I had never had before!

The night really set me in the right mindset for my upcoming trip to New York (this Wednesday!!), in which I’ll be seeing three operas in four days (holy cow). Super stoked for that. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my travels!