Dressed for ‘Faust’

To mark its reopening after the (not yet completed) renovation of its theater, the Berlin State Opera has resurrected a relic of the previous millennium: the dress code.

For the first-night performance of Schumann’s “Scenes from Goethe’s ‘Faust’,” a concert work, not an opera – stage reconstruction is ongoing – journalists covering the event are advised to dress “festlich-elegant,” Norman Lebrecht reports on his Slipped Disc blog:

http://slippedisc.com/2017/09/strict-new-orders-for-journalists-attending-the-opera-house/

Festlich-elegant – literal translation: “festive-elegant” – apparently differs in some way from formal. It might mean what one would wear for an evening dinner date at a four-star restaurant, or what trend-conscious 30-somethings would wear at a dressy gallery opening. Or it might mean black tie with some colorfully quirky substitute for the black tie.

Most of the journalists I know, even those who cover highbrow fields, are not what you’d call fashion-forward. I expect that those assigned to cover the Berlin event will play it safe and wear some approximation of a tuxedo.

For dressy affairs, I keep an Italian-cut, double-breasted black suit that I can wear with a tuxedo shirt and black tie, and do without studs, suspenders, cummerbund and other nonsense appurtenances. If I’m feeling lazy or rebellious, I’ll wear the suit with a white turtleneck.

That seems to be festlich-elegant enough for Richmond. I can’t speak for Berlin.

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