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Bravo, Brava, Bravi


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#1 Ed Waffle

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Posted 16 April 2002 - 02:44 PM

Among the small annoyances of attending the ballet or opera (especially opera) are the dolts who seem to insist on being the very first person to shout "Bravo", even if it is at an appropriate time. And when inappropriate....

Once at a performance of "Carmen" at the Michigan Opera Theatre, the announcement that Singer A would not be performing but would be replaced by singer B was greeted with a single, very loud "Bravo". As it happens, singer B is a local favorite who is getting a name for herself in the extremely crowded ranks of mezzos, but the person was essentially applauding the illness of singer A. He should have been stabbed by Don Jose.

#2 Estelle

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 01:45 AM

BW, in Italian "brave" is pronounced "bravé".

In France, people use only "bravo"; I think it's borrowed from Italian, but people use "bravo" whatever the gender or number of the people (and not "brava", "bravi" or "brave").

#3 Nanatchka

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 04:36 PM

I like the more specialized shout-outs, like" Brava La Prima." On rare occasion, I've been known to yell it. (Note:I grew up hearing my father yell it, so it feels nostalgic and appropriate to me.)There are two choreographers whom I greet with "Bravo" when they walk on stage for bows. For one of them, I rise to my feet at the same time. I don't give a xxx's xxs what anyone around me thinks about it. But my enthusiasm is nothing compared to Mark Morris's--he really whoops it up when he likes something, as does his company member Guillermo (Didi) Resto. It's very pleasant. However, my all time favorite is a dancer and later choreographer named Keith Young. (You may remember him from Twyla Tharp--he danced the first duet in Sinatra--Strangers in the Night, swooping onstage carrying Shelly Washington over his head--too fabulous, but I digress.) Keith used to give utterance to amazing wolf howls at curtain, perhaps because his then wife was in the company taking the bow. It was a kind of mating call. Clapping is always good, though. If you do it right, you can kind of exercise your upper arms. (Hey Manhattnik, instead of leaving for drinks, how about isometrics in our seats???!) How about a thread on booing and hissing???? So many dances, so little time....

#4 Manhattnik

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Posted 03 May 2002 - 12:35 PM

Back when, I used to say it with flowers. But that requires a certain amount of planning in advance.

#5 Juliet

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Posted 11 April 2002 - 12:26 PM

"I came to realize that audience members without knowledge of Italian grammar might have thought I was acting superior. "

Why do you care what they think? If you like the performance, you can certainly express your appreciation in proper form without giving a hoot about anonymous opinions. That's the good part about being an adult: unless one is being publicly rude or offensive, one doesn't need to worry about others' opinions.

I don't think people who fall asleep and snore throughout performances worry about how others are perceiving them.

Unless you were specifically *trying* to show off by using the proper case, and yes. that's a trifle jejeune. There are a lot of people who speak Italian and I don't think most people in an audience would give your expressions a second thought.:P

#6 glebb

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Posted 04 May 2002 - 07:40 AM

I love to show my support to dancers by yelling bravo at the end of a performance. I have to admit that I usually use bravo for female as well as male dancers. I don't know why, but I am most comfortable with that and I'm sure they know that I am saluting them.

I am okay with thunderous applause and even bravo after a variation. I am fine with applause for a spectacular scene revealing. But noise while the dancer is dancing, is distracting annoying to me.

I really enjoyed the unison applause, at the end of the night in Europe, Russia and Asia.

#7 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 11 April 2002 - 04:04 PM

When the Washington Ballet does programs for children, like the morning Nuts shows, or the performances of things like Wild Things and Peter Pan which are geared for young audiences, the Artistic Director, Septime Webre, teaches them in his opening speech about Bravo, Bravi and Brava :P The children love knowing the difference, and you can hear them responding appropriately at the end of the show.

#8 BryMar1995

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Posted 03 May 2002 - 06:20 AM

I love to shout and applaud loudly when a performance warrants it. I learned bravo, brava, bravi at the arts school I attended when I was a student because of the music and opera concerts on campus, and by hanging out with my colleagues who were singers. We were educated to know the difference, just as Septime is educating those children who attend Washington Ballet's children's show. But does one have to be conversant in Italian or French to be a repectable ballet or opera fan? I think it certainly helps, but cheering in Italian may be a behavior that makes ballet a little scary or inaccessible to public who may be new to ballet (Not to mention the matter of incorrect usage of a wonderful language). I often whistle my approval when I like a performance (more to add to the clamour and general commotion during possitive ovations, and not, in the European sense, to show disrespect, dirision or disapproval. Some European audiences will stomp their feet, or clap in unison to show approval). I will sometimes shout out the performer's name when they take their bow (MARGOT!!! or RUDY!!) And when really excited, nothing suffices like a whoop or YOW! My assumption being that, the greater the volume of the general response, the more the performers will be aware of the audience approval. While I run the risk of appearing gauche, I wonder if there are means of showing approval in the theater other than applauding, that are uniquely American, and are even remotely acceptable. Do people need a course in ballet appreciation before going to the theater, or should I (and others) relax and be comfortable with our boisterous American cultural style?
Rick:)

#9 Michael

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Posted 11 April 2002 - 07:26 PM

Bravo is easier to shout than Brava or Bravi. The "O" at the end carries and has a nice full, round sounding, sound to it. Bravo has to me a satisfying feel that Brava never has. The "O" bellows out more than any "Ah" or "EE".

I once thought of proposing something on the same subject FF but chickened out for some reason. When the slough of despond between seasons becomes deep, I have thought again of proposing this subject.

I think that dancers generally like it when they get a good loud ovation full of Bravos, Bravas and Bravi. They notice it, damn right, and they acknowledge it.

#10 casloan

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Posted 12 April 2002 - 05:33 PM

Thanks, Farrell Fan. I, too, know and employ the different Italian forms in voicing my approval. Alas, I have not had much use for them in recent years (except, now and then, at the opera). I'm sure "brava" and "bravi" must sound alien or quaint to many, but so be it.

Claudia

#11 casloan

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 05:15 PM

Gerald Arpino does, too. Not quite whooping and hollering -- but definitely applauding and beyond. I usually agree with him.

Claudia

#12 casloan

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 04:33 PM

I now sit on the main floor at Chicago's wonderful Auditorium Theater for the Joffrey season. But, I, too, have an excellent view of Mr. Arpino in his box at stage left. Harriet Ross, Artistic Manager, usually accompanies him. Harriet and I know one another from her tenure as assistant artistic director at the (now, alas, defunct) Joseph Holmes company, where I was, for a time, a board member.

#13 BW

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Posted 12 April 2002 - 02:53 AM

Thank you Farrell Fan for bringing this up - I did know about the differences between Bravo and Brava but did not know the plural Bravi (bravee)!

I am more in the camp of vigorous and loud clapping. Now that I know the subtitles of the Italian, I may feel more inspired to put a voice to my opinions! :P

#14 BW

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Posted 16 April 2002 - 04:14 PM

Ed, nice image with Don Jose going for the throat!;) Your story reminds me of how I feel when I watch "the tennis" on TV, or in the flesh, when one of the players misses a shot - a hard one or an "easy' one:rolleyes: - easy for whom? It is so unsportmanlike! It really does annoy me! :(

As it's been said: "There's no accounting for taste"...manners, though, are often learned...but not always! I was just rereading Victoria's post about the children's programs at Washington Ballet in which they're taught the appropriate terms and times to call one's approval out loud.:P

Doris, good for you for using your ability to notspend your money on the card shop's sexist wares! ;) Your reply made me laugh - many thanks for that on this hot Summer's day!:D

#15 BW

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Posted 16 April 2002 - 04:37 PM

Aubri, do you mean "Brave" because they are brave, in the English sense of the word, to be dancing in the corps!?!:P


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