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can you stay 'til the curtain goes down?!?

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#16 Ed Waffle

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 09:38 PM

Jeannie wonders if those of us in the provinces are as quick off the mark as are audiences on the East Coast.

Here in the Motor City ballet audiences are generally sparse. It is unusual for the 2700 seat capacity Detroit Opera House to be more than two-thirds filled for ballet, while standard rep operas will sell out. Those who do attend dance performances come to applaud. At the recent Ballet Stuttgart performance (perhaps half the seats occupied), most people stayed for the curtain calls.

Another reason for this is that EVERYONE drives here. There are no subways, elevated trains, commuter trains or any other form of mass transportation—I am not making this up. So, inconvenient as it is for every day life, it also means that people in audiences are not rushing to catch the last Metro North to Wilmette and have the extra ten minutes to stay and applaud.

One of the essential cultural divides is between opera fans and ballet fans, although among others, Laura, Jeannie and I tend to span that gap. Opera fans tend to be MUCH less polite, of course, although boos, hisses and catcalls aimed at singers is unusual in this country. At least in Chicago and New York those are saved for (occasionally) conductors or (more often) designers and directors. There was a scandalous attempt to organize booing against Catherine Malfitano at the Lyric Opera in Chicago during a run of Verdi’s “McBeth” recently which came to naught.

It is a different story in Western Europe—Rene Fleming was recently all but driven from the stage at La Scala, for example while singing “Lucrezia Borgia”. Perhaps the most insane examples of this are when a singer is booed for not being someone else. In other words, the aficionados of one soprano will attack another singer who does the same rep. The Callas/Tebaldi wars of the 1950s and 1960s are only one example of this.

It is all but impossible to translate this type of misplaced ardor to another art form. Who would think of booing Julie Kent, for instance, because she danced Giselle and you preferred Susan Jaffe? Or buying a ticket in order to catcall Anne-Sophie Mutter because she is playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto and you prefer Viktoria Mullova?

#17 dirac


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Posted 19 January 2000 - 02:43 PM

I think it's acceptable to leave during calls as long as you leave promptly and circumspectly and don't stand up blocking the view as you put on your jacket and so forth. (This drives me nuts in movie theatres as well. I look closely at the closing credits, especially for movies I like.) As one who deals with heavy traffic and long lines for public transportation regularly, I can attest to the difference that an extra fifteen minutes can make.

#18 Guest_rrfan_*

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Posted 19 January 2000 - 03:02 PM

I agree with you about people getting up in movie theaters as well. Nobody ever stays and what about the best boy who put in the hard work.
Ilya, I think you're too harsh and need to be (pardon the pun) a little more flexible.
I don't think putting buildings up in certain spots should have ANYTHING to do with viewer's. NYC is a prime example of that.
However, I will say that when I applaud at the end of the evening, it's not just for the dancers. It's for the orchestra, the guys in the fly, the dancers in the wings there cheering on the friends. You're cheering the whole production.
If you have to leave, that's fine, but do it when the curtain first goes down, after the intial bow and don't wait to gather your things at the last minute.
It's one of those things that's just courteous. You don't go to someone's house for dinner and run out as soon as you finish eating.
People leave sporting events before it's even over. It's so much more noticeable in a theater b/c they're a more intimate setting.
To analyze why we stay and don't kind of ruins it. It's a non-thought response and I'm not going to stand up and Boo someone, I just will wait until it's over and not applaud. What I didn't like, someone else might have loved and it's rude to ruin their experience. If you have to leave, you have to leave, just be discreet and courteous.

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