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A Few More Thoughts on Applause: Why Can We Interrupt at the Met?

I have been having a wonderful time going to hear opera – this year at the Met, the thrill of an unforgettable Tristan and Isolde, a beautiful – and new to me – Thais by Massenet, and a deeply touching Eugene Onegin. During the Tchaikovsky I realized that the audience expectation and behavior is the complete opposite of what we are used to in the concert hall. At the end of virtually every aria, there was wild applause, which often had little to do with the actual action on stage and certainly no connection to the story line.

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Disney Hall

It is a real challenge for anything that is awaited with great anticipation to actually live up to the excitement. After the thrill of performing in the new Disney Hall, I can only say that for me, it has surpassed all my expectations. In the most exhilarating way, it inspires awe without forcing us to be reverent.

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When to Applaud

All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener LIKES us! So we should welcome applause whenever it comes. And yet, we seem to have set up some very arcane rules as to when it is actually OK to applaud. I have been trying to find out exactly when certain listeners and performers decided that applause between movements would not be “allowed”, or at least would be frowned upon, but nobody seems to have been willing to admit that they were the culprit.

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Next Concerts

    April 16, 2020

    Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

    Philharmonie Berlin

    with Robin Ticciati, conductor

    BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83

    April 18, 2020

    Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

    Philharmonie Berlin

    with Robin Ticciati, conductor

    BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83

    April 20, 2020

    National Concert Hall Dublin

    National Concert Hall Dublin

    ALL-BEETHOVEN PROGRAM
    Bagatelle in A Minor, WoO 59, “Für Elise”
    Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2
    Six Variations on an Original Theme in F Major, Op. 34
    Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2, No. 1
    Five Variations on “Rule Britannia” in D Major
    Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2, No. 3

    April 23, 2020

    Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

    Sala Santa Cecilia

    with Lahav Shani, conductor

    BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

    April 24, 2020

    Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

    Sala Santa Cecilia

    with Lahav Shani, conductor

    BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

    April 25, 2020

    Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

    Sala Santa Cecilia

    with Lahav Shani, conductor

    BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

    April 29, 2020

    Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

    Tonhalle Maag (Konzertsaal)

    with Krzysztof Urbański, conductor

    CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

    April 30, 2020

    Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

    Tonhalle Maag (Konzertsaal)

    with Krzysztof Urbański, conductor

    CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

NY Philharmonic

Artist-in-Residence: Emanuel Ax 2012/13.
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Brahms: Music For 2 Pianos
Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Liszt: Piano Sonata in B Minor
Mendelssohn: Piano Trios
Strauss: Enoch Arden

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Extract from masterclass given by Emanuel Ax on Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Variations. The student is Nicolas Van Poucke. The full masterclass is available on DVD from www.masterclassfoundation.org

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