Cell phones ringing in the Musikverein

20 Jan

This kind of interruption seems to be in the news at the moment. Someone’s cell phone brought a New York Philharmonic concert to its knees (so to speak), earned a mention in the International Herald Tribune, and triggered an orgy of angry blogging. The person responsible (in the front row, mind you) was identified and asked not to do it again. He also agreed to an (anonymous) interview in which he detailed the circumstances that led to the incident. I’ve become so cynical I’m not sure I believe him. I was at a song recital in the Brahms-Saal in Vienna’s Musikverein a few months ago when someone’s cell phone rang just as Angelika Kirchschlager was walking onto the stage. The person made no move to tend to the phone, seemingly hoping that it would simply stop ringing, which it did after a while. And then it started again, the caller apparently not willing to give up. Kirchschlager at that point did ask the person to take care of it, and it turned out to be a lady of about 70 in the fourth row, or so.

Now, Kirchschlager belongs to that select group of singers who are up to the Brahms-Saal (which has reduced some like Anne Sophie von Otter and Sylvia McNair to sweating, hand-wringing wrecks) and she has the stage presence to bring the audience back to the present, too. But it still isn’t fair to the performers or your fellow concert-goers.

I do realize it can happen. People can for various reasons forget to turn off their cell phones, or they may think they have and for some reason not succeeded. (I also realize, such are the ways of the universe, that my cell phone will now almost certainly ring when I am at the Mozart-Saal on Thursday evening.) Still, I think the least one can do in this situation is to take responsibility, pull out the phone, and turn it off, even if a few hundred pairs of eyes are watching.

The first story that appeared in the IHT:
And the follow up, with explanation:
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One Response to “Cell phones ringing in the Musikverein”

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