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14 Aug 2010

Unthinkable? Mid-opera clapping

Editorial [The Guardian, 14 August 2010]

Last month, during the Proms performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, a few people began to applaud - which probably appalled others in the audience and would certainly have upset Richard Wagner. The opera is meant to be a comedy, and its second act ends with a riotous crowd, yet convention demands that it is heard in austere silence until the end of each act. In Italian opera you can cheer an aria - although even then a few po-faced devotees will sit ostentatiously on their hands.

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