05. May 2007 · Comments Off on But Is It Okay To Breathe? · Categories: imported, Ramble

The performance was not without comic relief: Just prior to the hushed cadenza at the end of the third movement, an unfortunate woman in the first row had a sneezing fit. At first Haitink just glared at her. When it continued he turned to her, ever the conductor, and shooed her from the room with both hands. She left.

Hmmmm … comic relief? I’m not sure “comic” is the right word. Yes, she should have left or, better yet, not come if she was sick and knew this might happen. But sometimes things like this come out of the blue and there is no warning. Especially in places like concert halls where all the women decide to bathe in perfume before they leave home and men douse themselves in cologne. I understand Haitink’s frustration, but as we talk about how stiff the symphony hall can feel, maybe this isn’t a good thing.

Then again, I wasn’t there. Maybe it was horrible, this Sneezing Sally™ and maybe she deserved the humiliation. I think cell phones and candy wrappers, wanna be conductors (yes, I’ve seen people conducting from their seats) and hummers … more deliberate evils … deserve more humiliation, though.


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