Dear “Bravi Guy“,
Seriously? For Realz? “Bravi”, before Simon Rattle has even contemplated cutting the umbilical chord from a 90 minute symphony of genius that culminates with perhaps the longest, most seductive, D major chord ever composed? (Actually, Shostakovich probably wins for longevity but for dramatic purposes I’m gonna stick with this line of interrogation). WAIT a minute, are you telling me that you were coherent enough at the end of a Berlin Philharmonic performance of Mahler 3 to utter the proper form of an Italian word, at the London performance of a German orchestra?
You suck, ass-hat! You do know that you sorta ticked a few people off, right?
Actually, I don’t think you suck and you definitely are not an ass-hat. You did shatter Tom Service’s and many other very serious and educated classical music lovers’ rapture, though. If I’d been there I would have lost consciousness because that is what happens to women when you shout “Bravi” prematurely. If I’d been on stage I would have sought you out afterward because you are my audience and I want to get into your head. I’d be nice but I probably wouldn’t be able to resist telling you that your knickers are so stained that some Bantering Blonde American, like myself, was even inspired to write about you. Epic!
Let me spell it out for you, “Bravi Guy“, we just don’t vocalize approval until the conductor and musicians start breathing again. It’s what we musicians strive for all our lives, that explosive shriek that signifies a loss of self control, but it isn’t something that people “in the know” actually do! Perhaps you had a gal, or guy, sitting next to you that you wanted to impress. Perhaps you have ADD and a small bladder like me and can’t sit still or shut your mouth for 90 minutes without a pee break. Either way, I love you. I get you. Just don’t be the first one to breath next time, OK? We’re Cool.
Dear Readers, Allow me to elaborate…..
Having “retired” from performing and teaching violin professionally about 10 years ago, I’ve been out of the trenches for quite some time but my love, involvement and understanding of the value music lends to communities has grown infinitely. I work in marketing and pr now and my focus on music and fine arts has been incredibly rewarding. The fact is, though, I was an elitist classical music snob until my senior year in college when my teacher Connie and her husband, Edgar Meyer, opened my eyes to how my own insecurities had cheated me of an entire world of different types of music and music lovers. Recently, via Facebook, I reconnected with a former conductor/professor that had more influence on my life than he is probably even aware of, John Morris Russell. Observing Maestro Russel’s incredible community involvement and audience engagement (just as it always was as a conductor, professor, and arts advocate at Vandy) has had me thinking more and more about the role of audience engagement in the future of our greater musical community…..
Yes, if you had yelled “Bravi” at the end of Mahler 3…. I’d have been pissed. Twenty years ago I would have had a good pow-wow with my fellow music pals and rehashed what an uneducated, unenlightened jerk you were for destroying such a perfect moment. I would have agreed that it was “musical hooliganism that’s psychopathic, narcissistic and destructive.” as Tom Service stated. However, today, if I’d been there, I still might call you a narcissistic ass, but because you care and you obviously dig the concert hall, I’d court you, I’d thank you for supporting the orchestra and suggest that perhaps your enthusiasm for Mahler and box seats could translate into a major donation to the orchestra to support outreach programs that will someday inspire others to be vocally overwhelmed at inappropriate times, while simultaneously funding programs and employing musicians, or better yet educating future audiences so that they might also be entranced, or at the very least be aware of the etiquette called for in the moments following romantic bliss, when listeners are reveling in the musical orgasm… er moment.
At the end of the day, who am I to judge whether this gentleman is a “wanker” or someone who truly lost his senses and couldn’t contain his enthusiasm? Let me tell you, “Bravi Guy” is not likely to show his face, or his patronage, in London again anytime soon, and if you think his ecstatic outburst means he loved it enough to look past the haters and fly to Berlin anytime soon, then you might want to take a look in the mirror and remember the last note you biffed in front of hundreds of people. Remember the red hot burning sensation of self conscious mortification you felt, even although 80% of your audience thought your performance was flawless? Take that feeling and publish it on The Guardian for people all over the world to see and debate. It doesn’t matter what your name is or who you are, you are the “Bravi Guy” and your suspect love of music has just been reduced to blog fodder. The comments say that people like you aren’t worthy of sitting in our audience. People like you should stay home and never be let out again; you evil, box holding, season ticket patron who yells “Bravi“, YOU should be FINED!!…… is this really the message we want to be sending to our patrons?
So many of us have been blessed with amazing experiences and relationships with incredible musicians who have changed our lives, but why do we think that this makes us more deserving than anyone else? If anything, it is our debt to pay it forward and to enrich our audiences no matter who they are. I’m not suggesting compromising artistic values or expectations, I’m simply saying that Bravi Guy is out there and these things happen, so move on. If you are really that irked then get some balls and take Bravi Guy out for a beer and find out what makes him tick.
Why does someone who can’t/won’t/doesn’t take the time to revel in the reverb spend A LOT of money to come listen to you perform?
Ask him. He’ll tell you because he likes you and admires you and supports you. This is your “Bravi Guy”, get to know him and he just might stop spoiling your moments and start bringing his buddies-and advising them to lay off the “Bravi”.
What do you think? Should Bravi Guy just stay home?*disclaimer: my opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my clients, or for that matter, former teachers/conductors or professors.