At the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, the tenor James Gilchrist suffered an alarming loss of sight in one eye during Bach’s St Matthew Passion and was rushed off to hospital.
The performance continued, with much of the second half cut as no substitute tenor had been rehearsed. It was a messy option but the best in the circumstances and the audience seemed to respond sympathetically.
What astonished the performers when they emerged into fresh air was that all their friends, lovers, neighbours and tradesmen knew about Gilchrist’s mishap as members of the audience had tweeted about it enthusiastically during the actual concert.
One singer who contacted me seemed a little discomposed by the notion that what he was doing in the privacy of a concert hall was instant public knowledge.
This set me wondering about the etiquette – not to say netiquette – of tweeting during a
concert. My view is that so long as the clicks can’t be heard and the motions are discfeet there is no reason why a ticket holder should not share the experience with others.
But what’s your opinion? To tweet, or not to tweet? I’m at Maazel’s Mahler 1 tonight. Should I?
LATE ADD: James Gilchrist is fine. Here’s what he posted on his website:
I had a bit of a problem during this concert. Unfortunately, I became ill during the performance and had to leave the stage. I am glad to say that about half an hour or so later things were back to normal but it was, as you can imagine, not a pleasant experience. I would like to apologise enormously to all my colleagues on stage – the Bach Choir, Florilegium, the other soloists and David Hill – and also to the audience whose St Matthew became shortened because of my absence. And I would also like to thank people for their hugely kind messages of support.