Good manners are not a thing of the past and apply to all aspects of modern life, including concerts. We’ve all been at one where the person behind you starts explaining loudly what’s going on to their friend, or continually rustles their programme. Here are some important tips to remember to ensure you behave correctly and respect other concertgoers.
In the Auditorium
If other audience members arrive to take their seat, which is beyond yours, the polite thing for gentlemen to do is stand up to let them have a clearer passage. Women should turn their legs in the direction the person is travelling. People sitting at the end of aisles should get out and stand in the aisle until passage is clear.
Coughs, sneezes and sniffles should be ‘caught’: make sure your wardrobe on the evening includes a handkerchief. If the ailment persists, leave the auditorium until it subsides.
Share your programme (American’s call it ‘Playbill’) with others if they ask. There’s no need to be possessive.
During operas, it is usual to applause after the overture, an impressive aria, the end of a scene or act, but never whilst someone is singing. At concerts, it is expected for you to clap between different compositions but never between movements. ‘Whooping’ is never correct. We’re at Mozart not McFly.
At the End of the Evening
Do not leave during the encore or whilst the orchestra is bowing. Wait until the house lights have been taken up before you move.
At the end of the concert or during the interval, save your elaborate critique until you’re behind you own closed doors. Don’t try to impress others by shouting loudly about technical aspects of the music or performance. Others may have enjoyed the night even if you didn’t; there’s also a chance one of the ‘star’s’ family or friends could be around you.
Tutor, The English Manner