Re: whistling at the ballet (because Bart Birdsall asked a few posts up) - where I am (Germany) whistles from the audience are used to show appreciation, whether in opera, ballet or acting-theatre. The performers are not supposed to whistle backstage, though, due to superstitions. ;)
I've heard about that superstition before. Where did that get started? What is the story behind that? Do you know? I would love to know why it is bad to whistle backstage.
I have to admit that if I am walking down the street and someone whistles I get so annoyed. For some reason I can't stand the sound of a whistle. But that is just a pet peeve of mine.
I don't think I've ever heard anyone whistle at an opera. I have heard people stomping feet and even stomping a cane.
I guess it would depend on the tone of the whistle. I suppose a whistle during applause that is a happy whistle makes sense. I think what came to my mind was mocking or sarcastic whistles like catcalls. That would be negative, I would think. But I am sure performers like any type of happy sounds.
I am astounded at the various types of claps. Some people clap so loudly that it is like an atomic clap. I look at their hands and try to figure out how they are making so much sound out of their hands, b/c my hands can't do that. I can clap loudly but a normal loud, but there are always one or two people nearby who somehow create an atomic clap. I am sure it is some technique cupping their hands or shape of hands or something.