Should badly behaving audience members be fined?


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We all know him. The early clapper. There seems to be one at every concert. Just as the music ends, or indeed sometimes even before the final note is sounded, inevitably, someone dives in like an overexcited seal and ruins the mood. It’s a pet peeve of many a fan of classical music.

Tom Service, a music writer for the Guardian has his panties in a bunch about another concert-going archetype that ruined his post-Berlin Phil Mahler 3 cuddle: the premature ‘Bravi!’ shouter.


In Service’s words, ‘There is no greater musical violence an audience member can commit than to scar this unique moment, when time seems to stop still at the end of a great performance, with a selfish, solo shout. And then there’s the ludicrous pretentiousness of using the Italian plural form, ‘bravi’, as if to show [everyone] that he’s clever enough to know the correct endings of Italian adjectives ...’

Service goes on to suggest that these people should be fined.

The irony of all this is, of course, that audience behavior has improved immeasurably since we’ve had access to recorded music. So now hearing a pristine version seems to have made us hyper-sensitive to every sniffle, cough or crinkle.

In Service’s defense, an ill-timed shout or clap can immediately dissipate the energy an ensemble has spent the last 90 minutes creating. On the other hand, part of that energy was created by experiencing the music along with 2,500 other people -- program shuffling, texting and, yes, shouting, notwithstanding.

What’s the worst audience behavior you’ve encountered and how much are you willing to put up with in exchange for the privilege of hearing live music? How do Los Angeles audiences compare with other cities’?

Let us know in the comments section and take our poll.



Give classical music a hand. Or don’t?

-- Marcia Adair