Vienna Phil plays in Japan without bravos

Vienna Phil plays in Japan without bravos


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2020

The orchestra has begun its first tour outside Austria since March.

It is travelling around Japan on chartered buses and closed train carriages. Players are tested for Covid every four days. There is no distancing on stage. The conductor is Valery Gergiev, the soloist Denis Matsuev.

Concertgoers have been ordered not to shout ‘bravo!’ for fear of spreading infection.

First report here.


  • Papageno says:

    japanese audiences are the best in the world… polite, quiet, dedicated, and knowledgeable.

  • Jessica Pastrami says:

    No distancing on stage? Outrageous! Time to start practicing – methinks soon they will have many openings… Gergiev is a fitting conductor to oversee this plague tour!

  • Gustavo says:

    I’m beginning to like Mr Kurz.

  • Stop the Vienna-bashing says:

    Following a long tradition of misleading clickbait headlines, we now get the suggestion that the Vienna Phil is not well-received in Japan. Why not simply say upfront that not shouting “bravo” is a reasonable health-related precaution, not evidence of a lack of enthusiasm?

    • yujafan says:

      simple answer: accuracy is sometimes boring, and the clickbiat copy gets people reading – including you!

      • Stop the Vienna-bashing says:

        I read this post because of an interest in the Vienna Philharmonic, not because I was hoping to join in on the xenophobic condemnation of a major international cultural institution. Sometimes a small bit of reporting is actually hidden within the dominant, presumptuous display of attitude.

  • Rudiger says:

    Really bizarre that they’re doing an international tour during a pandemic, regardless of whatever precautions are being followed. Surreal…

    • MezzoLover says:

      Let me give you two pieces of information so you can draw your own conclusion:

      – In the past The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra usually made its annual pilgrimage to Japan in November, and the Asian country’s musical faithful always flocked to these much sought-after performances at prices many times higher than they would pay to hear their own excellent orchestras.

      – According to Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, Japan approved the entry by members of the VPO “in light of a strong request from the Austrian government…although the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the globe.”

      And as a side note – Suntory Hall, the Tokyo concert hall where four VPO performances will be held starting Monday, has cancelled all performances until February but is making an exception for Vienna.

    • SVM says:

      Everything is “really bizarre” right now.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “Concertgoers have been ordered not to shout ‘bravo!’ for fear of spreading infection.”
    That shouldn’t be too difficult to enforce with the toothpick-waving Gergiev on the podium.

  • papageno says:

    can we also stop the obligatory standing ovations as well especially in the U.S.?

  • microview says:

    And wiyh Matsuev bashing away the audience will probably feel too deaf to think about cheering anything.

  • JoshW says:

    What an irresponsible example they’re setting for the rest of the world. This is nothing to be proud of.