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Undress at the ENO

Published 4 October 2012

English National Opera is encouraging people to Undress for the Opera in an initiative to introduce new audiences to the art form with £25 tickets being made available for the forthcoming season.

Aiming to challenge many people’s perception of opera as being an elitist or expensive form of entertainment, 100 £25 tickets will be available for Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Sunken Garden and The Perfect American. As well as securing you one of the best seats in the house, the ticket will also include a pre-performance introduction to the evening’s opera, a downloadable synopsis and a chance to meet the cast and creative teams after the performance.

Launched by ENO’s Chief Executive Loretta Tomasi, Undress for the Opera will encourage people to dress down for the performances with evening wear replaced by jeans and trainers. John Berry, ENO’s Artistic Director, explained the concept, saying: “Lots of people are put off by the way opera is presented; they think it is too stuffy, too posh, too expensive. We want to change that. Come in shorts, armour, jeans, pumps, anything!”

Terry Gilliam, who made his operatic directing debut last year at the venue with The Damnation Of Faust, spoke about the scheme in a video you can watch above this story. Describing the London Coliseum, home of the ENO, as “an old music hall [that] has none of the pretensions of an opera house”, the director called for people to attend an opera this season, telling viewers he too mistakenly used to think the art form wasn’t for him. “I thought opera was for old farts, the bourgeoisie and people in dinner jackets,” Gillam explained, before exclaiming, “Opera’s for anyone who’s willing to submit. When you’ve got people dedicated and that passionate about an “art form”, it’s worth sticking your nose in and finding out what’s going on.”

The first performance in Undress for the Opera will be Mozart’s Don Giovanni on 12 November. Visit for more information.


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