Monday, July 28, 2014

This Is Exaggerated, As That Is The Author's Style, But I've Had Similar Experiences

My wife refuses to sit with me at a concert when I'm in one of my moods.  Is it too much to ask that people put down their electronic nonsense during Wagner?  I mean, it's Wagner, for heaven's sake.
Over the course of my lifetime I have attended roughly a thousand classical music concerts. More often than I care to admit, trouble was a-brewing. You expect to get into it with drunks at a Stones or a Ramones concert, yet in a surprisingly large number of instances, I have crossed swords with aficionados of Liszt, Charpentier, even Rameau. Last year, the fat guy sitting next to me at the Metropolitan Opera suddenly opened up his iPad to check his email while the valkyries were belting out their signature number. I covered the gleaming device with my hand: “This is the Metropolitan Opera,” I said. “We don’t do that here.” He left at intermission. Several times I have yanked baseball caps off the heads of scruffy music lovers at Carnegie Hall. “This is Carnegie Hall,” I tell them. “We don’t do that here.” The de-cap-inated always look angry but are ultimately cowed by my harsh demeanor and never put their hats back on.
Although, at Tanglewood several years ago, I was seated in the tony section of the shed and managed, during a rather delicate piece of Mahler [I know!], to inhale a passing bug.  This caused me to choke and cough, a condition exacerbated by my attempts to suppress it.  The woman next to me, rather impatiently, thrust a lozenge before me and sniffed somewhat.  It turned out to be the wife of a one-time Massachusetts candidate for president.

Snubs to you, lady.  Because of that, I voted for the other guy.