The auditorium of the Ha Noi Opera House was truly warmed up on the 14th and 15th of July by three performances of the world-famous symphony orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker.
As for the people who got a ticket to enjoy one of these performances, they could afford to feel satisfied with their small good chance, since the tickets were not actually on sale. The tickets were reserved only for VIP customers of a major telecom operator.
At first, the concert went quite well. The orchestra played concertos composed by Chopin and Rachmaninov.
Then, the clapping trouble occurred in the second part of the performance. While the symphony “From The New World” by Antonín Dvorák was being played, the applause of the guests caused the hearts of the whole symphony orchestra, along with symphonic lovers, to miss a beat. Amazingly the Israeli conductor, Lior Shambadal, raised his hand amid deafening applause as soon as he and the 66 instrumentalists had finished performing the first chapter in the symphony. The conductor quietly made a hand gesture towards the audiences and turned back to his orchestra. He seemed to be a bit confused.
The second chapter, with the melodious sound of a violin that depicted the homesickness of an expatriate, had barely come to an end when the applause rang out again, more regularly and even louder. There was no doubt that it caused an awkward situation for both the world-famous orchestra and its conductor. Many students and lecturers from the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music sitting on the 3rd floor softly “shhed” the audience and shook their heads discouragedly.
Several audience members started to put their hands on their chest in expectation of the applause as the third chapter was about to finish with the sound of flutes and tubas fading away. Indeed, the applause continued to ring out thunderously. Whistles also appeared as its companion. Quyen, a young lecturer at the Ha Noi University Of Culture who had been watching this awkward situation, talked in whispers with her friend “ Oh, it is not necessary to be overenthusiastic ! “
After the last chaper in this series, the concert ended amid overzealous applause. The conductor gave his orchestra the signal to play a familiar overture (musical introduction) dedicated to the audience. Instantly, the VIP guests started to clap to the music as if they were in a group musical activity or at a pop music concert. Desperately, conductor Shambadal kindly requested that the spectators stop their applause by conducting his orchestra to slow down their performance, and the applause did indeed stop. Yet no sooner had the orchestra returned to the speed of an overture than the applause was also back to its thunderous roar.
Mr Dang Huu Phuc, the lecturer at the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music who penned works for famous Vietnamese films such as : “Mùa Ổi” (The Season of Guavas) and “Thời Xa Vắng” (A Far Time Past) expressed his thoughs on this series of overenthusiastic applause : “It is essential that any kind of arts needs the folks as well as their applause. For the last 20 years, symphonic music not been considered a regular genre of music for Vietnamese to enjoy. Somehow, I guess that we still need to spend a lot of time and effort training to have real symphonic audiences.”
He added : “ However, these concerts are regarded to be extremely important. These audiences will gradually understand when their applause is needed if they go to these symphony concerts several times. Until then, our hearts won’t be sent to miss a beat.”