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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

    March 16, 2019

    Harriman-Jewell Series

    Folly Theater

    Kansas City, MO

     

    March 19, 2019

    Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

    Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

    Philadelphia, PA

    March 22, 2019

    Amelia Island Chamber Music

    Amelia Island Plantation Chapel

    Fernandina Beach, FL

    March 24, 2019

    Spivey Hall at Clayton State University

    Spivey Hall

    Morrow, GA

    March 27, 2019

    Carnegie Hall

    Carnegie Hall

    New York, NY

    March 31, 2019

    Performances Santa Fe

    Lensic Performing Arts Center

    Santa Fe, NM

    April 2, 2019

    University of Washington

    Meany Center

    Seattle, WA

    BACH: Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825
    SCHOENBERG: Piano Pieces, Op. 19
    SCHUMANN: Fantasiestücke, Op. 12
    RAVEL: Valses nobles et sentimentales
    CHOPIN: Three Mazurkas, and Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillant in E-flat Major, Op.22

    April 6, 2019

    Oregon Symphony

    Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

    Portland, OR

    AUBER: Fra Diavolo Overture
    STRAVINSKY: Capriccio
    HAYDN: Piano Concerto in D Major
    CORIGLIANO: Symphony No. 1, “Of Rage and Remembrance”

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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