We are seasoned symphony attenders. And when you get into the habit of going to performances such as these, you can start to get a little, um, uppity about some things. There are several faux pas that can be made during a performance such as talking, not using cough drops or water to keep a cough under control, fidgeting too much, singing/humming along with the music, etc. But the two biggies are arriving late and leaving early.
Of course, getting a little too “high and mighty” about such things has a way of coming back to bite you in the proverbial arse! We had a symphony date this past Friday night. Our normal symphony nights are Saturdays but we had switched tickets with some friends. We also had a gift card to a nice steakhouse in town. We got the babysitter lined up, we got reservations for dinner and we headed out. Unfortunately for me, allergies had been getting the better of me all day. Up until Friday, I’d shown no signs of being affected by this Spring’s allergies. I took some medicine and figured everything would be alright. Well…
Dinner was so good. So good, in fact, it went a little longer than we’d expected even with an early evening reservation. By the time we left the restaurant, the performance was starting. We weren’t far away from the symphony hall so we got over there as quickly as we could, parked and went in. They have a late seating policy and we were escorted into the back of the hall even though our seats were further up. Now we had violated the first big faux pas by arriving late.
Unfortunately my head had begun to pound and my throat was getting scratchy and the allergy medicine I had taken combined with the very good dinner we had just consumed was making me rather sleepy. The first half finished, we found our ticketed seats for the second half and settled in. Then I looked at the program. Oh good, just one symphony in the second half. Um…one symphony with four movements that would last approximately 50 minutes!
The music was so beautiful! I can’t even begin to describe it. The conductor had taken some time before starting the symphony to give some background about the composer, Erich Korngold, his work history, the inspiration for the symphony, the composer he’d been influenced by (Strauss) and the composer who in turn was inspired by Korngold (John Williams). The music was utterly indescribable yet it was putting me to sleep! I was fidgeting, not coughing but having to tend to my nose every couple minutes, trying not to yawn and completely unable to enjoy the performance.
Which brings us to big faux pas number two. We left during the break between the third movement and fourth movements. I know! It was the last movement but I can not even begin to describe how awful I was feeling and DB said he couldn’t watch me suffer anymore. Thankfully we only had to slide past two other people and there was an exit close by.
Which just goes to teach me that sometimes there are reasons to arrive late and leave early, even in the same evening!