Although some people considered the claque a corrupting influence on the opera and theater of its time, Theophile Gautier rose to its defense. "If the claqueurs were suppressed," he claimed, "the public would be shouting for their return within a week." Why? Because of the many benefits offered by the claque. For one thing, it gave encouragement to deserving new works that an uninformed audience might not appreciate at first. Furthermore, by delaying the failure of an expensive production, the claque protected jobs and allowed the work to gross some money before it closed. finally, the stimulation of the claque often whipped up the artists to perform better than they might have otherwise." The Parisian worlds of Frederic Chopin by William G Atwood. 1999. Page 210.Bart has previously asked some interesting questions about the present day claque in Russia:
We have a number of posters familiar with ballet in Moscow and St. Petersburg today. Is the ballet scene today anything like that which existed in the 90s? Does the claque still exist? If things are better, what has happened to bring about the changes? How is truly creative work -- and the identification and advancement of talent -- possible in such an environment?
Thank you, Mikhail, Natalia, and all. I've heard of claques at La Scala in the past, but did not know how powerful they are in Russia. sad.gif
I have so many questions and hope some of you can answer at least some.
Since money seems to be central to their motivation and power, where does this money come from? Is there so much cash floating around in Russian ballet?
Do individual dancers have managers or protectors who can afford to pay for the claque's approval?
Why does the management of the theater permit it?
Have dancers -- especially those attacked by the claque -- ever spoken out or taken action against it?
How does the ordinary, regular ballet audience feel about this -- and respond to it when the claque is in action?
And finally (thanks for your patience): are there any notable examples of claque-like organization and behavior in theaters outside Russia today?