Amsterdam’s top orchestra—indeed, one of the world’s top orchestras—is the renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (www.concertgebouworkest.nl), whose home is the Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwplein 10 (www.concertgebouw.nl; tel. 0900/671-8345), which first opened its doors in 1888 and still is touted as one of the most acoustically perfect concert halls in Europe. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra are also based here, and both have the same contact details (www.orkest.nl; tel. 020/521-7500). World-class orchestras and soloists appear in the hallowed Grote Zaal (Great Hall), chamber and solo recitals are given in the smaller Kleine Zaal (Little Hall). Tickets cost 25€ to 100€. The main concert season is September to mid-June. A mixed-bag of free concerts are held at the Concertgebouw every Wednesday at 12:30pm except in July and August.
At the other end of the musical spectrum, lovers of avant-garde and experimental music should head to the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Piet Heinkade 1 (www.muziekgebouw.nl; tel. 020/788-2000), which opened in 2005 on the ever-expanding IJ waterfront east of Centraal Station. It’s the hub of modern and old jazz, electronic, and non-Western music in Amsterdam, as well as small-scale musical theater, opera, and dance. The waterside terrace of the cafe-restaurant is one of the most idyllic in town. Tickets are 12.50€ to 39€. Right next door is the Bimhuis, Piet Heinkade 3 (www.bimhuis.com; tel. 020/788-2188), Amsterdam’s much-loved improvisational jazz and blues club, where ticket prices range from 15€ to 33€.
The Dutch National Opera (www.operaballet.nl) is one of the leading companies in Europe. They perform at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Waterlooplein 22 (www.operaballet.nl; tel. 020/625-5455). The box office is at Amstel 3, and the theater is also home to the Dutch National Ballet (www.operaballet.nl), which offers both classical ballet repertoire and contemporary works. The Netherlands Dance Theater (www.ndt.nl), known for its contemporary repertoire, also stages productions here, although its home is in The Hague. Most performances begin at 8:15pm and tickets cost between 17€ and 186€, depending on the program.
For last-minute admission to a wide variety of theater and dance performances as well as concerts, visit the website for Last Minute Ticketshop (www.lastminuteticketshop.nl), which sells half-price tickets for same-day performances after 10am every morning. There’s a nominal booking charge of 2.50€ for each ticket. Although the website is only in Dutch, the Visitor Information Center at Stationsplein 10 can assist with translation. However, you will have to purchase tickets directly through the site.
If you intend to go to the opera, a classical music concert, or the theater, don't worry about what to wear, since Amsterdam has a very informal dress code -- no code at all, really. Of course, you might want to dress up, and in fact many people do, but you're unlikely to be turned away for being improperly dressed.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.