Wagner

Weedon’s Wanderings: 13th May 2019

The Laughing Audience by Edward Matthew Ward (1816-1879) from an etching by William Hogarth (1697-1764) made in 1733, watercolour, pen and ink

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

We have just watched Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain, presented by Lucy Worsley. She explained that, when the young princess first attended the opera, it was customary for the audience to talk loudly throughout the performance. Not only that, they wandered around and enjoyed noisy and boozy picnics in the auditorium. Apparently the young Victoria was the first one to watch and listen in silence. Happily, as it was ‘trendy’ to do as she did, we have to thank her for the development of silent audiences. 

Mozart would have been startled by modern attentive audiences. His works were performed in a total hubbub. The first composer to get really stroppy about noise was Wagner. When you consider the duration of his operas (Die Meistersinger lasts five and a quarter hours) he was asking a lot. Even ardent fans would start shuffling about after a couple of...

RSS feed Subscribe to RSS - Wagner