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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

    January 7, 2018

    Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

    Virginia G. Piper Theater

    Scottsdale, AZ

    MOZART Sonate in F KV533 / 494
    LISZT Tre sonetti di Petrarca
    LISZT Vallée d’Obermann
    BACH Partita nr.5 in G BWV829
    BEETHOVEN Sonate nr.21 in C op.53 ‘Waldstein’

    January 11, 2018

    San Francisco Symphony

    Davies Symphony Hall

    San Francisco, CA

    BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3
    MOZART Piano Concerto No. 14
    SCHOENBERG Piano Concerto
    R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

    January 12, 2018

    San Francisco Symphony

    Davies Symphony Hall

    San Francisco, CA

    BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3
    MOZART Piano Concerto No. 14
    SCHOENBERG Piano Concerto
    R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

    January 13, 2018

    San Francisco Symphony

    Davies Symphony Hall

    San Francisco, CA

    BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3
    MOZART Piano Concerto No. 14
    SCHOENBERG Piano Concerto
    R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

    January 16, 2018

    Soka University of America

    Soka Performing Arts Center

    Aliso Viejo, CA

    January 18, 2018

    Colburn Chamber Music Society

    Zipper Hall

    Los Angeles, CA

    BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major
    MOZART Quintet in E-flat Major for Piano and Winds
    DVOŘÁK Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major

    February 1, 2018

    Sydney Symphony Orchestra

    Sydney Opera House

    Sydney NSW, Australia

    MOZART Don Giovanni: Overture
    MOZART Piano Concerto No.14 in E flat, K449
    MOZART Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K466
    MOZART Symphony No.40

     

    February 2, 2018

    Sydney Symphony Orchestra

    Sydney Opera House

    Sydney NSW, Australia

    MOZART Don Giovanni: Overture
    MOZART Piano Concerto No.14 in E flat, K449
    MOZART Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K466
    MOZART Symphony No.40

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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