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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

    July 7, 2022

    Tanglewood Music Festival

    Seiji Ozawa Hall

    Emanuel Ax, Paul Appleby, Lorelei Ensemble and Dover Quartet

    JANÁČEK The Diary of One Who Disappeared
    DVOŘÁK String Quartet No. 13 in G, Op. 106

    July 14, 2022

    Tanglewood Music Festival

    Seiji Ozawa Hall

    Emanuel Ax, Mckenzie Melemed, and Cantus

    JANÁČEK Piano Sonata, “1.X.1905, From the street…”
    DVOŘÁK Slavonic Dances for piano four-hands
    DVOŘÁK, BURLEIGH, and JANÁČEK Part-songs for men’s voices

    July 22, 2022

    Tanglewood Music Festival

    Koussevitzky Music Shed

    CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2

    with Karina Canellakis, conductor and Boston Symphony Orchestra

    August 12, 2022

    Tanglewood Music Festival

    Koussevitzky Music Shed

    Emanuel Ax, Pamela Frank, Leonidas Kavakos, Antoine Tamestit and Yo-Yo Ma

    DVOŘÁK Terzetto in C for two violins and viola, Op. 74
    KAPRÁLOVÁ Two Ritournelles, for cello and piano, Op. 25
    JANÁČEK Fairy Tale, for cello and piano
    DVOŘÁK Piano Quintet No. 2 in A, Op. 81

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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