LETTER : Bravo, banzai, encore, more!

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From Mr Michael D. Varcoe- Cocks

Sir: It is not only between the movements of symphonies that applause for music can break out (Letters; 30 July, 4 August). A few years ago at the ultra-conservative Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the audience stopped the third act of Wagner's Lohengrin in mid-stream to applaud the sensational delivery by Eva Marton of Otrud's curse,

I imagine Wagner and most composers would be delighted at such spontaneous reaction, especially where the music has come to a halt and there is nothing more natural than accompanying the release of tension (not to mention coughing and the orchestra's re-tuning) with appreciative applause.

I was much struck at a kabuki performance in Tokyo by a lone spectator who cried out "Banzai!" at what seemed to me a most inopportune moment: this was a marvellous example of a genuine individual response as opposed to the (Western) convention of waiting until everyone has been given permission to applaud together.

It is the ill-natured tut-tutting and shushing of those who object to such responses that should be banned.

Yours faithfully,

M. D. Varcoe-Cocks

London, W6

4 August