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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

    June 22, 2019

    Saffron Hall

    Saffron Hall, Essex

    BRAHMS: Rhapsodies, Op. 79
    BENJAMIN: Piano Figures
    SCHUMANN: Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
    RAVEL: Valses nobles et sentimentales
    CHOPIN: Mazurkas, Op. 50
    CHOPIN: Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante, Op. 22

    June 25, 2019

    Wigmore Hall

    Wigmore Hall, London

    Emanuel Ax, piano
    Sir Simon Keenlyside, baritone
    Dover Quartet

    SCHUMANN
    Arabesque in C Major, Op. 18
    Piano Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 47
    Fantasiestücke Op. 12
    Dichterliebe Op. 48
    Piano Quintet in E flat Major, Op. 44

     

    June 28, 2019

    Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

    Philharmonie Berlin 

    with Kent Nagano, conductor

    MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K453

    June 29, 2019

    Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

    Landgestüt Redefin

    with Kent Nagano, conductor

    MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K453

    June 30, 2019

    Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin

    Regentenbau Bad Kissinger

    with Kent Nagano, conductor

    MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K453

    July 5, 2019

    Tanglewood

    Koussevitsky Music Shed

    Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Andris Nelsons, conductor

    MOZART: Piano Concerto No.22 in E-flat, K.482

    August 2, 2019

    Ravinia Festival

    Ravinia Pavilion Highland Park 

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Rafael Payare, conductor

    BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2

    August 6, 2019

    Tanglewood

    Seiji Ozawa Hall

    Emanuel Ax, piano
    Leonidas Kavakos, violin
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello

    ALL-BEETHOVEN PROGRAM
    Selected trios for piano, violin, and cello

     

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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