If only I understood a bit of Czech, I would have gone to a play at this lovely old theater which was just a couple blocks from my hotel in the Prague district of Vinohradech. I would love to have seen their staging of Friedrich Schiller’s play Marie Stuartovna (Mary Stuart), which was the inspiration for Donizetti’s fabulous Italian opera Maria Stuarda. The play and the opera both tell the story of Mary Queen of Scots and what might have happened if she had ever met her cousin, Queen Elisabeth the First of England, which in real life she never did.
When I was in Prague in the spring of 2011 the theaters were prominently displaying this poster urging people to “dress appropriately for the theatre”. I thought this was a funny poster because the young man seems to be wearing his confirmation suit that is a size too big for him, whereas the young lady is proudly wearing a funky retro dress that she seems to have found in a second hand shop. Later I was told that these are the latest fashions from one of the expensive up-market clothing shops on the Paris Street (Pařížská) in the center of Prague. (Perhaps somebody from Prague can tell me if this is true?)
In any case, I can’t recall seeing anybody dressed like this at either of the opera performances I attended in Prague. Most people were neatly but casually dressed — neither excessively formal nor blatantly sloppy. And they were certainly not all wearing the latest fashions from Paris Street.
The moral of this for tourists is that you can still go to the opera (or theater, if you understand Czech) even if you don’t have any fancy clothes with you. You don’t have to dress up like a penguin to go to the opera, not even in Prague.
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2021.