Letter: Polite applause
Monday 08 March 1999
Sir: I read with great amusement Philip Hensher's piece on acceptable behaviour at Parsifal ("It's all over when the fat bloke snores", 5 March). He mentions that one isn't supposed to applaud at the end of the first act.
I can remember the days when applause was not permitted even at the end of the performance. Then, about 30 years ago, Convent Garden decided that applause at the end would be permissible and I was present at the first night of this great innovation. At the end of the performance the cast came before the curtain looking duly solemn and bowing very slightly at our decorous clapping (no shouts of "Bravo" or anything so shocking).
The following morning in The Times there was a furious piece by their then critic William Mann and I was astonished to read that we, the audience, had behaved "like teenagers at a Beatles concert".
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