In Clement Crisp's review of the Royal Ballet's current triple bill, he writes this, after a mention of MacMillan's "Requiem."
One complaint: the audience must be asked, before curtain-rise, not to applaud during a work of religious significance. On both Saturday and Tuesday, clapping and baying “bravos” ignored a programme note to this effect.
I wondered how American audiences might react to such a program note, and such a custom (and this may well vary by region). This was once common custom, but in our "anything goes" age, I was curious if it were still generally known, or if things have changed.
That's the original post, and the part that I'm responding to primarily is just that Crisp is saying that there needed to be an announcement made, because the clapping and bravos 'ignored a programme note'. They probably just didn't see it. As for 'American audiences reacting do such a programme note' diffently, they clearly do. While not being religious at all, I can't see that there is anything in this except whether the audience knew how they were asked to react or not, and I think Crsip was indicating just that they probably hadn't read the notes.
Patrick, you and I may be interpreting this issue differently. The question by the OP'er was whether an audience ought to observe a note in a program not to clap because the performance had religious significance.
My interpretation of that request is that an audience is presumed to agree and to understand such a request, and to observe such a request, by the presumed inherent virtue of religious subjects. It is that presumption that I am questioning (and why I posted my rhetorical question of: "Should I therefore not clap at the Rite of Spring"). I have no problem if a company, choreographer, or performer requests that no clapping occur, but I do object to the underlying presumption that somehow a religious theme should be given special consideration simply by virtue of the circumstance that the theme is religious in nature.
It doesn't matter if the audience presumes or agrees with such a request, and they are not 'presumed to'. If they are, it doesn't matter. The presenter might wish that there was a presumption of 'inherent virtue of religious subjects', but he knows perfectly well that there is not. He is satisfied that the performance go as he wanted, and he has that right, no more.
You are misunderstanding my position in another way. I am not saying that it is the audience member who is giving 'special deference' (each member can do so, or not, at their whim), but I am saying that when the organizers of the performance ask that you not clap because the theme is religious, it is the organizers who are giving the religious theme 'special deference'. You have put my cart before my horse. Now, if the organizers were to say: "Please don't clap because the choreographer (or the perfomers) has a strong religious commitment which forbides clapping during a ballet with this theme", I would not feel that would be giving 'special deference' to a religious themed ballet (and each audience member could decide whether or not they wished to observe that request). In my world, i9 is all about what is presumed (it is on that presumption that Dawkins has something relevant to say).
No, I am not misunderstanding your position. I completely and fundamentally disagree with it, primarily because if the organizers want to say 'it is of religiious significance', they mean obviously that they think so for themselves, and that comes first. They only ask the audience not to applaud, not to become 'prayerful' or even submit to anything. The performers have the right to present whatever they wish to, and warnings about the DeFrutos piece were sufficient as per Simon's succinct descriptions of the London performances, just as a 'programme note' was indeed NOT sufficient in this case, because the audience didn't observe it. The organizers should not be expected to 'overexplain' their position. If an audience member is sufficiently independent-minded, he can ignore it in all ways except applauding. I don't believe that this Royal Ballet story 'presumes' that anyone must 'give special deference to something because they surely must also feel that this is as important as the organizers do', just that they show the respect that the organizers have the right to demand in not applauding, they are not being told what to think, no matter how the programme is worded.. By the same token, DeFrutos's buggeries, etc., let you know what you're getting beforehand, and they have done that as a courtesy and a safeguard. Either extreme gives you enougyh information for the basic policies that ought to be observed. MacMillan's piece just deserves to be respected as instructed, it cannot be that he nor anyone else, cared that much about what 'special deference' beyond not applauding came into it.
Now, I do respect your interest in all these philosophical matters, and we probably agree on most of them. I just think either a saint or a pervert who's got the stage, having met all legal obligations, should be the one to call all the shots. If he 'would rather' you 'show deference' to religious subjects, he knows as well as you and I do, that that's his problem, and that's not even on his mind. He just doesn't want the performance interrupted by applause, any more than Suzanne Farrell would have wanted something she did in 'Mozartiana' to be applauded, as the 32 fouettes in 'Swan Lake'. But that kind of tradition was understood to some degree in Balanchine's day, and not everybody will know. The big issues are not what Clement Crisp was talking about, but Alexandra's original query does show we feel differently about these performance practices, whether or not we're religious. I'm not, but I do feel MacMillan is absolutely right to demand silence, and don't disagree with dirac that he should 'try to elicit it' so much as just that that's unrealistic. For religious and artistic reasons of his own, he wants quiet during the piece, and he has the right tio ask if for those reasons. You can disagree with all of if you know he wants this, except for the applause itself. And I'm sure he could not have been less than fully aware of this.l