To any BalletTalkers who happened to have been there:
When Balanchine staged the Adagio Lamentoso from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6-Pathetique in 1981 did the audience clap at the end? With references to religion and the ending where the boy blows out the candle which some have intrepreted as a reference to Balancine's own mortality I've often wondered at the audiences response and this thread has reminded me of it. Thanks!
I just noticed that no one addressed perky's question back in 2006. My memory is incomplete, but I certainly don't remember that there WASN'T applause. In fact, I'm sure there was, but it was probably retrained (no cheering, for example). There may also have been a slight delay between the end of the piece and the beginning of the applause, something I've sometimes noticed with concert performances of especially iconic sacred music.
The procession and other liturgical aspects of Adagio Lamentoso
were highly theatrical. It never occurred to me that anyone intended this to be an "act of worship" in kfw's sense. Instead, the piece came across as a highly personal representation of or comment on
an act of worship . The emotional impact was not unlike the singing of the "Salve Regina" at the end end of Dialogues of the Carmelites
. This is different, in intent and effect, from sacred dance in certain Eastern or Native-American traditions.
I suspect that each individual in the cast and in the audience provided his or her own "religious significance" to Balanchine's piece, as they did to MacMillan's. Dignified applause seems to be the best way we can all share what must be a very individual experience.