I’m sitting in the Berlin Philharmonie last night listening to Ravel’s Mother Goose, a piece that does not engage all of the brain cells, when I feel an urgent need to check who’s playing second flute.
I turn the booklet page with barely a whisper.
The guy next to me goes ‘shhh’ and touches me on the arm.
He’s young, white-shirted, stone-faced.
Overcoming my natural instinct to realign his nose 30 degrees to the right, I swallow the rebuke and reflect that Berlin has its fair share of jerks and I was unlucky to find one in an adjacent seat.
Later, while Joyce DiDonato is lustrously dying on stage as Cleopatra (hey, Berlioz – she brought her own asp), the guy next to me yawns. Audibly.
After the interval he does not return, missing the chance to see Berlin Phil swagger through Stravinsky’s Firebird. Ludovic Morlot was making his debut, a decent effort. My shusher missed it.
What kind of inadequacy does it take in a person to feel a need to maintain concert silence, even when that silence has not been perceptibly broken? I could have made a call this morning and found out the offender’s name, but why bother? What perplexes me is why jerks like this go to concerts, or half-concerts. Is it only for the dubious satisfaction of shushing others who are actually enjoying themselves?
Your thoughts, please.