Friday, August 16, 2013

Applause - Opera L

I am wondering after many years cogitation about the occurrence of applause after arias in opera performance.

It seems to be unique among stage presentations. It would never happen, for example, after a soliloquy in a Shakespeare play, or any other play either. I don't think it happens in ballet performances after a great technical feat either.

When did it start ? It seems to me rather obtrusive in many performances by destroying the dramatic impulse, sometimes even to the extent of the singer coming out of character to acknowledge the applause, and even giving an encore. I cannot imagine this happening in any other stage presentation.  

It's almost as if negotiating the aria or ensemble is needed to be rewarded by audience congratulation. 

Why is opera unique in this aspect ?

Any comments ?

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