Concert Etiquette

Someone looking desperately in a plastic bag, people talking and whispering, a mobile phone rings insistently, an elderly coughs his lungs out and if you’re lucky you can hear kids screaming after their parents. No, it’s not a visit to the ER or even at the Mall, we are actually at a Concert Hall.
We are in the middle of the XXth edition of the “George Enescu Festival” that is taking place in Bucharest until the 25th of September.
For almost a month concerts are being held in Bucharest’s key point locations. Orchestras and conductors from all around the world have been invited to participate. Culturally speaking (a nonsense for the present society) we are in the spotlight and sure to be envied. Why? Because of the magnitude of the event. Think about the logistics behind a Festival that hosts at least 3 concerts/day for a month. Applause! But not to many, I know you can hardly restrain yourself from doing that.
As said before, people are watching us and they are not only focusing on the performance of the orchestras but also on the audience. Because the audience makes part of the whole concert experience. Therefore, a concert etiquette was put in place due to the fact that we are dealing with cold unplugged instruments and any fart of yours will turn you in to the evening’s soloist!
I am writing about this subject because a lot of people are experiencing for the first time a Classical music concert and they behave just like at a rock concert. Even if they are in their 60’s!
So, here is a 5 point guideline on how not to attract to much attention during a concert. Because this is really the last place on Earth where you want to show off. Trust me! People here listen to Bach, why would you think anyone cares about your white shoes and gold chain? And if you’re looking for attention, that’s why they’ve come up with X Factor.
1. It is decent to dress nicely while going to a classical music concert. I don’t think you have ever seen and Orchestra dressed in jeans and t-shirts. It’s respectful to the Orchestra and the audience. And it will make you feel better and probably a bit smarter.
2. Try to arrive 30 minutes prior to the concert. You have plenty of time to check the others and also to find your seat. It’s very annoying to start searching for your seat, stepping on peoples feet, while the Orchestra is playing. And do not claim for your seat if you arrived 30 minutes after the concerts has begun and some old dude is already sleeping in it. You’ll create a fuss for nothing. Just take another seat until the break.
3. When you have finally found your seat and all the locomotion you’ve created in this search has finished, try to remember the most important thing of the evening. It’s even more important that the concert itself. YOUR MOBILE PHONE! Switch it off or put it on silent. That’s the first thing should go trough your mind while going to a concert hall. There’s a recording at the beginning of the concert that will remind you to do that. Do not think that nobody will call you. THEY WILL! I think people who leave their mobile phones open are purely retarded. Especially when the second phone rings. And I believe in 80% of the cases the women are to be blamed. Why? Because the bloody phones rings several times before it is being disconnected. That can only mean one thing. It’s in the BAG! In that massive black hole that not even God know what’s in there. So, coming to these concerts will not make you smarter. You’ll be the same Retard who’s not able to turn his phone off.
4. If you’re dying or have a lung disease please by the CD. Stop coughing! Or buy some Halls! Are you people that sick? You should go to the Hospital instead of a Concert Hall. You’ll have a better audience there. Don’t force yourself into coughing between the parts of a concert just because is tradition. It’s bad for your health and you’ll spread germs between yourselves.
5. I know that the moment it gets silent on the stage you want to show everybody how much it affected you and start applauding. But please, don’t! Because the song did not finished yet. A classical music work usually is structured in more than one part. For instance, a concert (for piano, violin, etc) has usually three parts. A symphony on the other hand has four parts. So you should not applaud between them. Let’s consider them as commercial breaks. We are to applaud only at the end of the representation. If we are not sure how many parts a concert or a symphony has just wait for the conductor to put his hands down and face the public. If he still treats you with his back while you applaud in tears, it means he hasn’t finished pulling all your emotions out. Patience, there’s still more! Or we can simply check the daily Festival program and we’ll find out how the concert is being structured. But that’s for those who can read. Damn, you have to be pretty smart in order to attend these concerts…
I know that between us are “humans” with the only desire to applaud. They are always the first, when the orchestra enters the stage, when the conductor enters the stage, when they finish, they are always the first ones to applaud. If we spot them, let’s kill them instantly!
I believe these are the same people who were in charge to applaud during Ceausescu’s speeches. Every time he made a break they will start applauding in ovation. They apply the same technique here. So let’s just put them to sleep forever.
Of course, there are also the kind they like to applaud at the end until their hands bleed just for a Bis. It’s like they only came for that Bis. Somebody told them that if they applaud until they’ll clap only their bones, the conductor will come back and give you some more. Sometimes it happens and the conductor announces the Bis. In that moment, the whole crowd goes “Aaawh” although nobody understood the name of the Bis. I think the explanation comes from the pain in the hands. But it was worth it, right?
Why I am so desperate about these applauds? Because they always ruin the atmosphere created by the conductor and the orchestra. I mean, those people really put their souls into it and even if you can hear only silence at the end of a performance that doesn’t mean it has ended. Silence is part of music, you know? If you can feel and understand that, than you will no longer feel the need to applaud like a maniac. I am telling you, a conductor and his orchestra will appreciate more the seconds of silence after they have finished rather that bursting out in flames enthusiasts, screaming “Bravo!”.
Well, these are the 5 most important rules while going to a concert hall. Respect them and you’ll become just like me. A crunchy old man shushing everybody from the balcony 🙂 Aaah, what do they know?

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