Inconsiderate Vancouver Symphony Orchestra-goers spoil things for everyone
When did talking out loud, rummaging through purses, and leaving early become de rigeur at symphony concerts? Last weekend I attended the VSO’s season opener and while the orchestra was in top form, I can’t say as much for some members of the audience.
During the first half of the concert, which featured Bramwell Tovey’s Urban Runway and the Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor performed by Lynn Harrell, a couple of gents sitting directly in front me kept wondering aloud at which instrument was creating a certain sound: “Is that an oboe?” “No, I think it’s a clarinet.” “Maybe it’s a bassoon?” Here’s a neat trick: Sometimes, you can wonder about something without moving your lips. It’s called thinking. Try it some time.
Then the performance was interrupted by loud, incessant rattling of one of the hall’s side doors—likely the work of some drunken yahoos on Granville street—which set off lots of chatting and speculation between a couple of grey haired ladies behind me.
Following intermission, Tovey gave one of his quintessentially Tovey-esque long-winded introductions to Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet: Suite. As soon as he had wrapped up the speech and taken up the baton to start the piece, the guy beside me began rattling a box of mints, trying unsuccessfully to release a couple of the candies into his palm and that of his elderly mother seated beside him. It must have taken him at least five minutes.
So what’s the thought process here? “Hmm, the conductor sure is talking a lot. Now would be a good time to get out those mints. Oh, but if I wait and do it when the music starts, then I can be sure of pissing off everyone seated nearby within a ten-foot radius. Yeah, I think I’ll wait.”
To make matters worse, he leapt out of his seat as soon as the piece had ended, yelling at his mother to hurry up and get going, not bothering to clap at all. Then, despite the fact that it was obvious the orchestra was preparing to play an encore, he continued to badger his mother, eventually shoving his way back to his seat, grabbing her arm, and forcing her out as the orchestra began playing again.
I know getting the car out of the lot can be a drag after a symphony concert, but honestly, why bother going to a concert if you’re not going to respect and enjoy the work that goes into it? If it’s more important to you to avoid a bit of a wait at the parking lot than to get your money’s worth out of a concert ticket, why don’t you just stay home, park the car in your garage, and turn on the TV?
I think I'm on a roll—next I'll be standing at crosswalks holding a sign that says: "Before you honk, breathe." If there's one thing that drives me more batty than rude audiences it's rude, horn-happy drivers.