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Just in: Concert disrupted by vomiting… in the middle of La Mer

We hear reports of discomfort during the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance last night of Debussy’s masterpiece, la Mer.

During the final pages of the work, as the waves thrashed higher and higher, a man began volubly vomiting up the contents of his stomach. All very nasty for those around him, who edged away as far as they could.

The music continued uninterrupted to the end… We have been sent a picture of the final applause, which looks a tiny bit whiffy.

We hope the poor audience members have fully recovered.  Realistic as the music is, it has never been known before to provoke mal de mer.

sydney symphony

photo courtesy The Violin Channel.

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  1. I remember this happened once many years ago to an unfortunate treble during the solo in RVW’s “O Taste And See”…

  2. As a teacher, I can say that it’s truly amazing what a treble’s stomach can hold!

    • …another reason I am so glad I never became a teacher! (Huge respect to all those who are!)

      It must have been a fantastic performance if someone got seasick…

  3. Luigi Carbonare says:

    Hopefully that wasn’t Peter Czornyj who vomitted

  4. That reminds me of a story the composer Buxton Orr once told me. he was at Covent Garden, listening to a performance of Britten’s Billy Budd, when he suddenly felt very ill. Fearing that he might very soon decorate his neighbours, he had to make a sudden dash for the exit, battling his way through the forest of legs between his seat and the exit. “And do you know what the sailors on stage were singing?”, he asked me. “‘ Heave, oh, heave!’”

    I remember a conversation over dinner at the home of Hans and Milein Keller, where Buxton was the only other guest that evening. He and Hans argued for half an hour, and passionately, over the structural significance of a semitonal shift in the slow movement of a Mozart piano concerto. I felt like a blind man at a tennis match.

    • That must have been some evening! – I love sitting in on conversations like this one must have been! – Buxton taught me harmony and counterpoint at RCM and was very strict (but also a lot of fun) – and a very good composer too -

  5. This brings to mind the historic discharge by the venerable George H W Bush on the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister- some say it, like the pesky H. Ross Perot, contributed to his presidential defeat in 1992. He was supposedly eating shell fish, so like the “La Mer” incident, one might attribute it all to seasickness.
    (Anna, who commented so insightfully and wittily on oil prices, where are you when we need your input on this one?)

  6. Alberto Martinez says:

    Thanks goodness they did not perfom in a fast ferry .

  7. Wasn’t it Adele Marcus, a much-esteemed and redoubtable pedagogue, who played the opening solo in the Schumann Piano Concerto, and promptly vomited at the conductor’s feet? I love that story in spite of its apocryphal-ness…

    • Michael Hurshell says:

      I have heard this reported by an eye-witness,,, only they said it was the keyboard she vomited on, precisely on the orchestra’s downbeat in its first full bar.

      • Imagine if Henry Cowell’s The Tides of Manaunaun with its tone clusters had followed- a performer’s delight,
        palms down.

    • I think that story goes that she played the opening downward run on the Schumann and then fell off the bench at the end of the keyboard – whether she fainted, or had hit her head on the piano or was inebriated always depends on who is telling it (and why.) Vomiting, however, is a variation I had not yet heard.

  8. Tim Chung says:

    Projectile vomiting from a treble during a carol service is gold. Luckily he had choir robes on to help catch some of it but yes, there was a lot of it!

  9. harold braun says:

    I witnessed the same three years ago in Cologne,this time happening to an orchestra player.The La Phil played Mahler9 under Dudamel on tour there.During the last dying away bars of the piece,a young doublebass substitute player left suddenly the stage and rushed out offstage.Sitting in the 5th row,very near to the stage and
    the stage exit door and with the orchestra having a long pause between those ppp bars,everybody could hear what happened to this young poor lady just behind that door she did not even manage to fully close before it
    happened.Anyway ,it was a fantastic performance greeted with rapturous applause,and it was a particularly nice
    gesture from the Dude turning towards the door applauding and blowing a kiss!

  10. Seasickness?

  11. Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:

    While I’ve never seen any vomiting in Symphony Hall, I do remember a brawl breaking out in the balcony at Opening Night Pops in 2007. Lockhart actually stopped the orchestra for a minute or so.

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