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Gergiev concert is disrupted at Carnegie Hall

If you were there, please share your impressions. Slipped Disc takes the view that concert and opera performances are not an appropriate forum for vocalising political protest.

Russian President Putin presents a Hero of Labour award to Mariinsky theatre director Gergiev during an awards ceremony in St. Petersburg

UPDATE: Here’s an eyewitness report from string player Kathleen Thomson:  ’I was in Carnegie Hall. The lights went down, the orchestra tuned, and the audience energy felt invigorating. I was so excited to hear this performance of Firebird, Petroushka AND Rite of Spring, all in one evening. Gergiev takes his bow, then readies the low voices for the murmuring opening of Firebird. At that point, before the actual downbeat, human voices filled the hall, protesters. Gergiev remained poised to start, the protesters continued. A few folks clapped a bit. Voices quieted, then a second round of protests breaks out, Gergiev still poised to begin. On the second round, many audience members boos or shushed. That was the end of protests. The concert was amazing. I am so glad that no protesters vandalized the actual music by interrupting once it began.’

 

Press release:

 

 

Queer Nation Disrupts Carnegie Hall Performance

LGBT Rights Group Demands Putin Supporter
Oppose Russian Anti-LGBT Laws

 

New York, NY (October 10, 2013) — Tonight, four members of the LGBT rights group Queer Nation disrupted the performance of the Mariinsky Orchestra, led by world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, demanding that Gergiev oppose the Russian government’s attacks on LGBT Russians and that Russia end its war on LGBT Russians.

Queer Nation members chanted, “Gergiev, Your Silence is Killing Russian Gays!” before the Carnegie Hall performance began. The protesters, who were met mostly with applause but also with some boos, were led away by security guards. There were no arrests.

Gergiev, the artistic and general director at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, is a longtime Putin friend and supporter. Gergiev has been honored by the Russian government and by the Russian Orthodox Church, both of which championed Russia’s anti-gay laws. Gergiev campaigned for Putin in 2012. The Mariinsky Theatre has received hundreds of millions of rubles from the Russian government.

“Valery Gergiev should not be able to perform without being called out for his vocal support of Russia’s anti-gay president,” said John Weir, one of the protesters. “Gergiev’s silence about Putin’s anti-gay laws is killing lesbian and gay Russians. We’re here to break that silence.”

Earlier in the evening, Queer Nation protested in front of Carnegie Hall. Demonstrators, including several Russian gay men and women, carried a 60-foot rainbow flag that read “Support Russian Gays” and held placards. Protestors also handed out informational flyers to arriving audience members and passersby.

On October 4, Queer Nation wrote to Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director, asking that Carnegie Hall condemn the Russian government’s attacks on LGBT Russians. He declined, adding that “musical events are not the appropriate setting for political statements.”

The protest at Carnegie Hall is the latest in a series of high-profile demonstrations against the Russian government’s anti-gay laws. On September 23, four protestors from Queer Nation delayed the start of the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala at Lincoln Center, where Gergiev conducted Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

In June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same-sex marriage took effect. Currently, the Russian parliament is considering legislation that would remove children from any Russian household that is headed by a gay or lesbian parent. There has been a sharp rise in anti-LGBT violence in Russia.

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Comments

  1. Disrupting concerts, opera and church services are not the places for any political protest. It is just disgraceful and infantile behaviour, insulting those in the audiences or congregations or those performing, be they singer, musician or priest, who are there for other and far more creative and aesthetic reasons.

    • I agree with you concerning arts events, but I can’t think of a better place to cry out for justice than a house dedicated to the worship of a man/god who commanded that we love our neighbor.

      • I think you’ll find that the audience, as they do here in London and where Gergiev conducts regularly, come to hear the music knowing that they might actually get a very good performance! They don’t come to get shouted at by a load of gay rights people. There is another platform for their just cause, but not in a concert hall – or indeed a church, as they are prone to do as well. It is just plain selfish, but we beg to differ, Jeffrey.

    • I was there. First, the concert performance was OUTSTANDING. Don’t expect to see Firebird (complete), Petroushka (complete), and Le Sacre together on a single program again for the rest of my life, let alone performed by an ensemble (Mariinsky under Gergiev) that totally “owned” these scores. BRAVO. As for the disruptions that preceded the opening work for a short while. The demonstrators made their statements, they were removed and the concert began. This was a small price to pay for continuing heightend awareness of the powerful civil/human rights issue.

      • There is nothing “powerful” about any of this, except possibly the attempt of a few to wrestle the attention from the stage onto their tacky little display. Get over yourselves.

  2. Carnegie Hall’s having an interesting month.

    • John Kelly says:

      You’ll be relieved to know that I didn’t boo the stagehands, though it was quite an effort not to I can tell you. They did move one music stand at one point but the Maryinsky Maitre D moved it back again on the downlow. The stagehands did seem OK with the offstage trumpets in Firebird opening and closing the door based on when they were supposed to be heard, however, I noticed that said doors were opened by Stagehands to allow the orchestra to enter before each concert segment. At one point all 5 of the Stagehands were on stage, quite exciting.

      • ..And how did the music stands — and the chairs get on stage to begi with? What were the stagehands doing for the eight hours before you got to the hall and during the 4 hours after you left?

        • John Kelly says:

          I was being sardonic I hope you realise. Yes, must’ve been a bit of a busy night as it was a very large orchestra, also a piano and two harps to get into place as well as lots of percussion and two sets of timps and two big tam tams. No platforms to build though. Also Gergiev conducted from the floor a la Rozhdestvensky, so no need to schlep out the conductor’s little plinth…………………

          No need to put anything away last night though, the orchestra is playing again tonight. Same seating I would imagine. Might be some overtime in there somewhere though…………..

          • Is it the same program? If not, the seating may well be different.

          • And while all the airline captains landing their planes in the NYC airports nearby, while making only half the salaries of the CH stage hands, didn’t get any sweat from the windy conditions, the CH stage hands in their full glory and unparalleled mastership aligned chairs and music stands in the correct order and numbers, so that every single member of the visiting orchestra had one chair to sit on, and only one, not two, and the chairs and stands also were facing in the right direction. Imagine that!

          • …And movie stars make more than the president. What’s your point?

            Never mind, we know what your point is — they’re “only” stage hands.

            Well, all Gergiev does is stand there and wave a stick around.

            WOW! Contemptuous dismissal really *is* easier than actually learning something about the subject! I see why you guys like it so much!

          • Yes, they are only stage hands. Being a stage hand does not require a 20+ years education and experience, like Gergiev has to have it. Probably a major share of the NYC population could after some vocational training and on the job training do the job of a stage hand. Only a handful might have the chops to replace Gergiev. You do the math. (Well we know you don’t.)

          • They may not have formal education, although many do, but if they’re working high-profile concerts at Carnegie, they’re had many years of on-the-job training.

            The fact that you’ve never heard of it — and never bothered to learn — doesn’t mean it’s not there.

            …But I do thank you for admitting your elitism. You’re the only one on your side of this discussion who’s been honest enough to do so.

          • …And there may be one or more other ensembles rehearsing during the day,in which case the whole thing must be struck and reset.

          • LOL so now it’s “elitist” to point out that stagehands don’t require a lot of training to do their job?

          • No, it’s elitist to *assume* they don’t.

          • Wow. How many of you people are actually professional musicians or have any idea what it is to work as one? What orchestral stagehands do to create seamless rehearsal and performance settings for 100-plus individuals at a time and a conductor and, frequently, soloists is remarkable even for a hometown orchestra playing in its own hall. What they do on domestic and international tours is breathtaking. And I doubt that there is one person here who could contribute anything to what they do at Carnegie Hall — 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. six or seven days a week — with different ensembles and types of performers and genres and set-ups throughout the week and even in the same day. Talk to some actual musicians who play in major halls about stage hands. Or spend a 13-hour day or a two-week tour watching them work. I have and do. Sheesh!

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Andrew Patner says:
            October 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

            “Wow. How many of you people are actually professional musicians or have any idea what it is to work as one? What orchestral stagehands do to create seamless rehearsal and performance settings for 100-plus individuals at a time and a conductor and, frequently, soloists is remarkable even for a hometown orchestra playing in its own hall. What they do on domestic and international tours is breathtaking.”

            As someone who used to be a professional musician and who organized concerts and tours, I could agree more. Even on the relatively smaller scale on which my concerts and tours happened (ensemble sizes of about 20-40 musicians), the contributions of the stagehands and people taking care of tour logistics and transport were extremely valuable, and the work done by people handling 100+ size symphony orchestras is even more critical and valuable.
            But not $500k/year valuable. Not even in a place like NYC. That’s a gravy train. No – that’s a gravy aircraft carrier.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            I meant…”As someone who used to be a professional musician and who organized concerts and tours, I couldn’t agree more”!

        • And how did the light bulbs get into the lamps? How was it managed to turn the lights on at the right time? How did the hall reach room temperature just before the concert? How did Maestro Gergiev get his mineral water in the intermission served? What did the Taxi driver driving Gergiev to his hotel do during the 4 hours after he dropped off Maestro? And what did he do the 8 hours before? Questions over questions…

        • Four years ago, when some of the stagehands’ salaries were published (via the release of Carnegie hall basic tax filings), The New York Times published this reported article putting the issues into a number of contexts. The matter is not simple and the job is both unusual and not at all easy: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/arts/music/28hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          • I was struck by this:

            “Ms. Hall-Tompkins said she begrudged the stagehands nothing. ‘Musicians should be so lucky to have a strong union like that,’ she said.”

            …Musicians have far greater protection than any other performers — especially dancers — and I find it ironic that done of the anti-union diatribes here have addressed this.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            “Their compensation includes vacation pay (few take much time off) and a large amount connected to recordings made in the hall.”

            Can somebody explain why they get royalties for performances recorded in the hall? They get paid to create the performance environment, but they don’t perform themselves.

            “Why so much overtime? It is available, and the stagehands simply choose to take it.”
            “They sacrifice their family life, their time. By the time their careers are over, they’re broken, with all that lifting.”

            I thought the whole union thing was about guaranteeing good, safe and healthy work conditions. Jeffrey said so. Right, Jeffrey? Shouldn’t there be rules against them working so much overtime then? Right, Jeffrey?

            “The stagehands, Mr. Gillinson pointed out, have huge and varied jobs to carry out, far more so than at halls like the Met or Avery Fisher, where the fare is more predictable.”

            Really? “More predictable?” They can’t predict what is happening during the season at Carnegie Hall? They don’t plan the whole season ahead? They don’t have a performance calendar which lists every performance of the whole season? And they don’t move huge and complex sets around at the Met, much more complex stuff than they have going on in most events at CH?

            “…the main reason to let the stagehands pile on the overtime was to provide continuity during the day. It makes no sense to have one set of workers set up for a morning rehearsal and a different set do it at the evening performance.”

            Nonsense. At the Philharmonie in Berlin, the stagehands often work in shifts, some during the morning and afternoon, some during the afternoon and the evening. And that hall is just as busy as Carnegie Hall, with several major orchestras in residence there and lots of guest orchestras coming through all the time. It seems to be pretty simple: they have charts for which sections of the stage need to be raised to what height for what setup (as the podium of the Philharmonie can be raised and lowered hydraulically for anything from a flat stage to a complex amphitheater like landscape), where the sections of the orchestra are set up, what other instruments and equipment is needed, which piano the soloist has chosen for the night. They come in, refer to the charts (which also list extra requests, of course), set up.

          • “Why so much overtime? It is available, and the stagehands simply choose to take it.”

            Well, as has been explained several times, no.

            It’s the hall’s option to ask the employees to work overtime or bring in fresh people (the employees have the option of refusing, I think). Because the hall management actually understand what stagehands do, as opposed to people here who just assume that whatever they’re *sure* is so, is so, they realize that the continuity of having the same people is worth the money.

            You should call them and tell them they’re wrong.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:
            October 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

            ““Why so much overtime? It is available, and the stagehands simply choose to take it.”

            Well, as has been explained several times, no.

            It’s the hall’s option to ask the employees to work overtime or bring in fresh people (the employees have the option of refusing, I think).”

            So they *do choose* to take it. Nobody can *force* them to work *that much* overtime, correct? You said yourself that that was what unions are all about – guaranteeing a safe and healthy 40h work week, with the occasional overtime, as required, of course. You can’t just drop the hammer at any moment in this kind of business. Makes sense. I think everybody understands that.

            Can you respond to my other points, too? How is work at Carnegie Hall “less predictable” than at Avery Fisher Hall or the Met? And why does handing off the work with a clear system in place work so well at the Philharmonie in Berlin, but it can not work at CH? The people who work at the Philharmonie have decent pay and full workers’ rights, too, BTW, with secure full time employment, paid vacations, full health benefits, retirement and all that. Their work is also highly valued and indeed critical for the operation of that very busy venue. But they don’t have to log 40h overtime every week to keep the place running smoothly.

            And if OT pay at CH is, according to the article quoted by Patner, time-and-a-half, double or even triple (depending on how far they go above 40h, I guess), and that is not the exception, but the norm, that means they could actually have about two full-time employees *in addition to each* stagehand they have, at union wages. They could easily overlap shifts and make handing off duties very efficient.

          • Yet they seem to believe that it’s more valuable to have the continuity of one person. Once again, I suggest that you give Carnegie Hall the benefit of your far greater experience and call them to tell them that they’re wrong.

          • Michael, you have, as each of us does, your opinions about what *should* be done. Even for exchanging work rules between Germany and the U.S., a topic so enormous and with so many facets that I am certainly not going to come anywhere near it. I think everyone’s perspectives are laid out here. All that remains is to print out the page and forward it to the management at Carnegie Hall! Tchüß!

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            I don’t think the work rules are all that different between Germany and the US. They probably are in many small details, but we are talking about the very basic MO here.

            I don’t really have an opinion about what *should* be done either. I am merely observing that the reasons given here for all that enormous – and constant – OT aren’t all that convincing. Why does the practice which works so well at the Philharmonie allegedly not work at Carnegie Hall? Or, we don’t even have to go that far geographically – what makes CH allegedly so very different and “less predictable” than Avery Fisher Hall or the Met? Nobody has answered that question yet.

            Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:
            October 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm

            “Yet they seem to believe that it’s more valuable to have the continuity of one person. Once again, I suggest that you give Carnegie Hall the benefit of your far greater experience and call them to tell them that they’re wrong.”

            I don’t think they are wrong. I think they have no choice. Why else wouldn’t they have two or even more times as many people for the same money? Continuity? What “continuity”? We aren’t talking a venue here which runs the same highly complex show for several weeks, sometimes several times each day, like some musical theaters do. We are talking about concerts most of which are one-offs. OK, sometimes a guest orchestra is in town for several concerts, add to that several morning rehearsals, changing the setup in the afternoon for other events – fine. If you want that kind of continuity, you may have to have the same people there for very long hours – for several days in a row. Maybe a whole week. But not the same people every single week. They could then switch over to another team for the next set of events.

  3. Ronald Bergan says:

    The arts should not be isolated from society. The voice of human rights should be expressed loudly wherever it can. In this case, it was perfectly acceptable before the concert not during.

  4. You are right. “Concert and opera performances are not an appropriate forum for vocalising political protest”. Pots and kettles belong in the kitchen, not in the concert-hall.

    It is not acceptable for protesters to obstruct Russian performers because of protesters’ feelings about the treatment of gays by politicians in Russia. By the same token it is not acceptable for example for protesters to obstruct Israeli performers because of protesters’ feelings about how the Palestinian situation is handled by politicians in Israel. We cannot be choosy over what political protests we reject or endorse unless we are ready to be accused of hypocrisy and to manage protests on those grounds as well.

    Once interference and disruption like this are accepted, most of us in the business know that just about every concert could be disrupted for some reason or another. Someone does not like the gender ratio, nationality, ethnic or religious mix in an orchestra or ensemble; someone does not like a conductor or soloist because of something in his/her past; someone does not approve of the ethics of a major sponsor of an event. The list could go on for many pages.

    In this context the performance of music must stay a long way from becoming a platform for uninvited visitors to express their personal political protests on a daily basis. Making music is an opportunity to bring people together with politics off the agenda for the duration of the music-making if not (hopefully) longer.

    Putin-bashing is very much in fashion in the USA. Putin remains a major obstruction in the way of US ambitions to pursue its policy of military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere. In my opinion the timing of the increase in militant activism of these anti-Russia protests is no coincidence.

  5. alexanderstrauch says:

    Theatres and concert halls ARE institutions of education in the best Schillerian sense of the german classic. Ergo, if you go in a concert where a man conducts who is one of the most important cultural representants of this russian anti-LGBT-regime, so he has to be educated, also in fact that a lot of his colleagues are gay/lesbian itself. And that for example that the russian symphony-god was also gay – named Tchaikovsky. Art and music is no wellness for the brain – it is political!

  6. i agree, but yet, protestors or femen screaming by any means their rage against outrageous injustice, condemning atrocities or begging for freedom and independance in crowded venues isn’t a crime itself.
    remember Belgium or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Revolution, remember Viva VERDI… or this… http://liveweb.arte.tv/de/video/To_Russia_With_Love/

  7. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

    I had long believed what the media was telling us about the Russian anti-gay law until I looked it up. It really is only banning the propaganda among MINORS. They are not preventing people from actually being gay, … or can someone post some proof of what the protest groups are claiming? Is anyone being locked up or killed simply for being gay or is it because they are broadcast propaganda accessible to minors?

    Here is what Article 6.21 actually says:
    “Propaganda is the act of distributing information among minors that 1) is aimed at the creating nontraditional sexual attitudes, 2) makes nontraditional sexual relations attractive, 3) equates the social value of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations, or 4) creates an interest in nontraditional sexual relations.”

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/58649/russia-s-anti-gay-law-spelled-out-in-plain-english

    • Daniel Jaffe says:

      The trouble with that law – leaving aside the question of whether it is such a bad thing to teach minors about “nontraditional sexual atitudes” – is that it leaves a huge amount of leeway about how it might be interpreted, not least the clause “creates an interest in nontraditional sexual relations” which clearly can be imputed to *anything* which represents or mentions “nontraditional sexual relations”. And where does that leaves those teenage “minors” whose budding sexuality – if “nontraditional” – is not to be recognized or allowed to be accepted by either their peers or even by those in authority? That’s not even to mention the ridiculous business of the Tchaikovsky bio-pic (see for example http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/25/russia-anti-gay-law-tchaikovsky-sexuality), or the increased violence against LGBT people mentioned by Norman.

  8. Daniel Farber says:

    How, exactly, is a protest of this kind going to help the lives of homosexuals who live in Russia? I mean with the bus boycott in Montgomery Alabama, say, the cause and effect relationship was readily apparent. Ditto: marches/protests against various US military adventures. But let’s see. Gergiev’s conscience will be awakened, then stricken? He will have a serious conversation with Putin? Putin will see the error of his ways and then change his policies? Or perhaps the musicians of the Orchestra, persuaded by the protests, will get together refuse to perform: a Gergiev downbeat but no sound? Gergiev will tell Putin? “Enlightened” nations will then stop doing business with Russia? Is there any PRACTICAL purpose to these demonstrations?

    • John Hames says:

      I rather agree with Daniel Farber. The only motivations seem to be the getting of publicity (almost all in the West) and the venting of the protestors’ outrage, which presumably makes them at least feel better. I am outraged at all sorts of things, including most of my own country’s government’s policies, but I am not smug enough or rude enough to think it’s OK to disrupt artistic performances here. I see someone on the Facebook page saying : “As Gore Vidal said, politics is everything. It is my view – obviously not shared by others here – that anything and anyplace (as long as it does not endanger lives) is fine for a protest. What is more important? A concert or awareness of rights abuses?” I don’t agree with that — Vidal would not be my preferred arbiter of these things anyway — and moreover I don’t think it’s a proper question. It’s loaded. One concert may be dispensable or relatively unimportant, but who is to say that? Is Art less important than “awareness” (i.e. you will damn well listen to my point of view or I will seriously inconvenience you) of “rights abuses” (i.e. failure of everyone to conform to what I believe) ? As I’ve said here before, I find a lot of what Putin’s Russia is up to to be pretty disturbing, but I’m pretty sure that puerile disruption of concerts is not going to put things right. Politics is *not* everything, except to those determined that it should be.

      • ‘Is Art less important than “awareness”[...] of “rights abuses” [....] ?’

        Yes it is. And if you treat a situation which engenders violence against LGBT people, including children, and their ostracisation as ‘failure of everyone to conform to what I believe’, then I think your whole moral sense is seriously skewered.

        • “And if you treat a situation which engenders violence against LGBT people, including children, and their ostracisation as ‘failure of everyone to conform to what I believe’, then I think your whole moral sense is seriously skewered.”

          I agree. I’d extend it to those who think art justifies any and all transgressions.

        • Are you so sure that the Russian law against proselytizing minors on the issue of homosexuality does engender violence against LGBT people when the law and its legislative history, and Russia’s leaders who administer the law have made clear that it is not intended to criminalize homosexuals or the homosexual lifestyle? Perhaps there is a connection. Apart from that, the notion of censoring communications may, though not always, be abhorrent, but it happens all the time and in many different ways in our political and social discourse. This censorship however is directed at the persuading of a child, and while I may believe it is not enlightened, shouldn’t the claim of “engendering violence” first be backed up with evidence, statistical or otherwise?

          For over ten years, the U.S. has employed every means in its possession to assault countries it has disagreed with, or wanted to control or contain, and at the top of the list have been Russia and China. Its concept of soft power today is the exertion of pressure via provocations and interventions under the pretext of protecting human rights, rather than the promotion and offer of something better in one’s own shop as an alternative.
          So, it’s no wonder that Russians and others resent our NGOs trying to stir the pot in their country. Better first to argue the point by proving the contradictions in the opposition’s policies and showing how ours works better. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do at home on these issues and our own contradictions.

          • Yes, I am 100% sure that in a country like Russia where majority of population is historically homophobic, a discriminatory law such as this one is certain to embolden and encourage their most vicious groups to act violently against a minority that is singled out by government as being less worthy of protection than others.

  9. “Slipped Disc takes the view that concert and opera performances are not an appropriate forum for vocalising political protest.” – so, you’d be against Verdi’s nationalistic operas having ever been premiered, then? Any of Cardew’s “People’s Liberation Music” songs? Any, in fact, music that made a political point that was not the consensus?
    Your sweeping generalisation implies protest only comes from the amphitheatre, and never from the stage.

    • John Rizek says:

      I don’t believe Mr. Lebrecth is referring to “concert and opera performances” per se, that is, the actual music playing or staging. He’s referring to the events that disrupt the performance of the music. Nothing to do with the music on stage. Mr. Lebrecht has two books on Mahler. One call him everything but conservative when it comes to linking music with politics.

      If the protest comes from the stage, that is fine. What is inappropriate, in my understanding, is to disrespect the music that is being playing. Also disrespecting that way those who payed to listen or watch it.

  10. Michael Haslam says:

    Ethnic make-up of orchestras? I have an LP recording of a jew-free Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing Brahms 4 under de Sabata recorded in 1939. I would like to think that had that orchestra played New York in 1939 there would have been protests disruptive enough to cancel the concert.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      I understand why you would like to think that, but the historical reality is that the western allies (or future allies) didn’t really care much about the plight of the Jews in Germany. They did next to nothing to help them or at least make immigration for Jews trying to get out of Germany easier. When WWII broke out, the British even interned and then deported Germans and Austrians of Jewish background – because they now were “enemy aliens” – right back to Germany. And please don’t forget that at that time, as I also pointed out in another post, millions of Americans suffered legal racial discrimination and the vast majority didn’t care about that either.
      History is, unfortunately, very rarely what we would like to think it is.

  11. R. James Tobin says:

    Picketing on 57th Street in front of Carnegie Hall would have been a proper place to protest. Loud protest inside the hall surely will have disrupted the calm anticipation of the audience as the music was about to begin. I know I would have been jangled well into the first piece.
    John Weir’s statement, “Gergiev’s silence about Putin’s anti-gay laws is killing lesbian and gay Russians. We’re here to break that silence.” seems to make it just about Gergiev. It put the focus on him rather than on the cause of acceptance of gays. How about the audience’s need for silence? Or is anyone going to claim that they were all complicit just by attending?

  12. John Kelly says:

    Norman, the report you posted is accurate based on my own experience last evening at Carnegie. Prior to the concert there were picketers outside the Hall chanting to anyone going in “While you sit in your Carnegie Seat, Russian gays are getting beat.” This is Bronx grammar for those unfamiliar with the vernacular of New York City. They were polite and relatively restrained. While this may make New Yorkers somewhat uncomfortable, I doubt Mr. Putin (the guy George W thought he could do business with) is losing any kip.

    The orchestra played a very long and complex programme with considerable accomplishment and, even after almost three hours on stage, Gergiev played the overture to Forza as an encore since it was Verdi’s 200th birthday. This was the best playing of the evening, and at a lovely brisk tempo. Generous program. Not too many orchestras are up for Firebird, Petrushka and Sacre AND an encore. Miraculously, they seemed to be able to follow Mr. Gergiev’s strange finger shaking semaphore…………….

    • I don’t think any Russian orchestra under Gergiev’s artistic leadership has much choice about being ‘up for’ anything. They undertake workloads that would be illegal in the west, and players who protest quickly find themselves redundant. They’re a wonderful ensemble, but Gergiev thrashes them into the ground. Some nights they are transcendent; on others, particularly on long tours, they look and play as if exhausted and broken. With good reason.

  13. I first encountered this kind of protest in (I think) the 1980s in the RFH London, when someone suddenly stood up behind me and bellowed “Free Shcharansky” at the Russian performers playing on stage. It was a shocking interruption, repeated by a couple of others after a few moments. However, the protesters were soon enough ejected, and it was memorable and somehow added to the general entertainment and interest of the evening.

    • John Kelly says:

      Just before Lazar Berman’s recital if I remember correctly. Similar protest during a visit by a Moscow based orchestra during their performance of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony. They just kept on playing. Mr. Sharansky is free however.

    • John Riley says:

      I remember going to the RFH and seeing a large crowd chanting in support of Ho Chi-Minh. Oh, hang on – it was a performance of The Raft of the Medusa!

  14. An extraordinary and inspirational concert performed with exemplary precision and elan. Gergiev’s dedication to the Marinsky has developed this Orchestra into a wonderful Ensemble that is always a delight to hear in the Russian Repertoire. I thought that we were going to hear one of the Firebird Suites but no we got the whole Ballet – what a fantastic chronological journey through these masterpieces.
    Talking to the musicians in one of the intervals they had been warned to expect some heckling and seemed unfazed, as did Gergiev.
    A night to remember for a long time.

    • John Kelly says:

      Agree that this was a very fine concert. Not going to agree with “exemplary precision.” I thought some textures muddy and some tuttis not exactly together. Mind you, very impressive for their first concert off the plane from the other side of the world, basically a concert on the nightshift. This is a good but not great ensemble. Maestro Gergiev seems not to seek Mutian togetherness. Stellar principal bassoon.

      • Well, from experience it’s also up to the orchestral players to listen to each other, and not just blast away on their own. That’s what makes a good orchestra, whatever about the conductor. Sounds like a fabulous concert regardless – apart from the protesters and their bad manners.

        • John Kelly says:

          Yes, the concert was “full value” as we say back in Yorkshire.

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          Una says:
          October 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

          “Well, from experience it’s also up to the orchestral players to listen to each other, and not just blast away on their own. That’s what makes a good orchestra, whatever about the conductor.”

          Completely agree. Just playing the right notes at the right time is easy. Any well trained youth orchestra can do that. Being able to listen to each other, react to each other and the conductor flexibly – especially when it comes to a conductor who is as spontaneous and sometimes unpredictable as Gergiev – is what great orchestral playing is about, not mechanical reproduction of the printed music. Real live music making means taking risks, and that doesn’t always result in “Mutian togetherness”. And this orchestra is really good at that. That’s why this is a great, not just a good orchestra, better than any of the American duracell bunny orchestras, and with a deep and rich string sound American orchestras simply can not produce. Because that is also a result of that listening-to-and-playing-flexibly-with-each-other culture that is so far away from simply mechanically playing through the parts, together only in the metronomic sense.

  15. Worldwide protest could not possibly have contributed to the demise of apartheid…yet it did.

    • This reminds me of the protests against anti-antisemitism in the Soviet Union during the 1960′s and 70′s – disruptions during concerts by Russian orchestras and artists, releasingsrats in the hall during a recital by Elena Obratsova. This type of behavior is disgraceful. Music should be a force to bring us together. (i Know, try to tell that to the crazy, clueless Republicans in the U.S. Congress.) On the other hand, peaceful picketing and handing out literature outside a concert is thoroughly honorable. As the protests against apartheid proved, public pressure can lead to pressure by governments; then things change. The protesters are right to bring public attention to the bigoted laws in Russia. Disrupting the concert is wrong and undoes the good they are attempting to accomplish.

    • These anti-worker comments trouble me. If you want a job as a stage hand at Carnegie I suggest you apply. Walk in a worker’s shoes before you demean what they do and question what they make. I attended tonight’s sold out all Shostakovich program at Carnegie and there were no problems whatsoever. The audience waited to applaud at the end of the 8th symphony which I give them great credit for. The audience at the Metropolitan Opera,is considered to be sophisticated yet they insist on applauding as soon as they see the curtain start to come down which is very frustrating. The delay in applause tonight was very refreshing.

      • I know! That was a long pause. I so loved it, this silence was the continuation of the work. I personally can’t applaud for the first few moments after the piece is finished and have to force myself to shift gears and start applauding.
        And I love Gergiev so much.

      • “Walk in a worker’s shoes before you demean what they do and question what they make”

        No, it’s much less time-consuming to be contemptuously dismissive. These are busy people, y’know.

  16. A. Penner says:

    A protest…to force one to protest? Hrm…
    After all said and done the people protesting paid to get in, so they actually contributed to the one(s) they are against. Didn’t seem too thought out.

  17. Disgraceful, infantile, narcissistic, look-at-poor-me behavior. I’m going to tonight’s performance – and be sure I will boo again louder than I did yesterday. I’m going on Tuesday too – and I will boo. How dare you to interfere with something so magnificent, beautiful, transcendental as Gergiev’s conducting of Stravinskiy?! I’m enraged by this totally inappropriate, inconsiderate action that – rest assured – will not win gay people any fans. In the end you lost: you let your self-centeredness prevent you from witnessing an extraordinary work of art that the rest of the audience had the privilege to enjoy. Shame on you.

  18. Orin O'Brien says:

    I remember a protest at Carnegie Hall in 1956: when von Karajan conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, a dozen white doves were smuggled inside and released during the concert to protest the conductor’ s Nazi party membership, and American Veterans Association
    picketed outside. Some of the ushers did not want to usher those concerts, but were told they would be fired if they did not work those dates. (It was then a non-union house for the ushers, who were mostly music and dance students.)

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      In 1956, WWII had been over for 11 years. There were no racist laws in Germany anymore. But in 1956, millions of Americans were still subject to racial segregation laws because they were “black”. Were there also protests against that at Carnegie Hall in 1956?

      • No protests against racial segregation, our American brothers and sisters were concerned with other much more pressing issues, they always had a big interest in Russia.
        [IMG]http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/27/2779/6JNTD00Z/posters/george-silk-protestors-with-sign-shostakovich-jump-thru-the-window-outside-hotel-for-world-peace.jpg[/IMG]

  19. harold braun says:

    Bullshit!!!

  20. At least the protest was fairly short. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that protests of this sort are rather presumptuous exercises in self-importance. The audience “should” be exposed to “my” thoughts, because the “cause” is self-evidently worthy, therefore “I” am justified in breaking into this experience to “teach” others. There are so many other ways to register one’s opinion. Yet a certain slice of people feel entitled to override social custom and force their views on others in a way that is not welcomed.

    This works the other way around as well. Krystian Zimerman has been known to make his views known to a paying audiences that really don’t want a political lecture from the performer. Again, what better way to “educate” than to impose oneself on a captive community. Presumptuous narcissism.

  21. Actually, there’s a long history of political protest at the opera. The Belgian revolution famously began with a riot at a performance of Auber’s Muette de Portici; also think of Verdi’s role in the Risorgimento; the popularity of Va, pensiero as a song of protest; etc. It was a popular art form, so of course it was the site of popular political expression. It’s only in more recent years that opera, and art in general, has been sanitized by aesthetes and snobs.

  22. One could also blame the Administration itself for encouraging NGO’s and protest groups to pressure the Russians on this and other Russian domestic human rights issues in these venues, as part of the Administration’s new version of ‘soft power’. While I may not agree with the Russian law or may think it is misplaced, the law itself has also been misrepresented and demonized here and in Great Britain by its opponents as something it is not. It is directed only at the proselytizing of minors, not the banning of homosexuality per se, nor of encouraging or allowing discrimination- e.g., in housing or employment, or public assistance- against those who practice homosexuality, and Putin himself has publicly reiterated that more than once. And let’s face it, there are some states in the U.S. that are positively medieval in their treatment of lesbians and gays that should get a good dose of protest, but where the LGBT rights movement is quiet.

    Demonstrating against the Russian law is fine outside the hall, but why disrupt a concert by a Russian ensemble because of this issue, especially when we hear of no one at, say, the Kennedy Center, disrupting a concert for our war policy or our killing of hundreds of thousands of people and dispossession of millions more, or for our military procurements that fuel these wars and are instrumental in, if not primarily responsible for, our budget crisis and increasing poverty among the 99%? In fact, were there an antiwar or Occupy street protest held outside these halls, I would not be surprised to see the NYPD or DC police in force and in riot gear ready to bust heads.

  23. I was fortunate enough to be at the concert, sitting only a couple rows in front of two hecklers. The orchestra and Gergiev took the stage, just before the downbeat of Firebird, a heckler right behind me stood up and began screaming “Gergiev, your silence is killing Russian gays!” over and over. After he was escorted out, another one promptly began screaming the same thing. The audience then erupted into a combination of enthusiastic screams and angry boos before he too was taken out. What followed was one of the must stunning orchestral concerts I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, there were no more disruptions in the course of the concert.

    • No Russian gay is killed in Russia, not with and not without Gergiev’s silence. But women and children are killed elsewhere with US support and funding, e.g. now in Syria. Where are the protesters? It’s a strange world we live in…

      • Greg Hlatky says:

        I have occasionally wondered about the various “wanderers” and “Fabio Fabricis” and “David H.’s”, always there to leap to Putin’s defense. Then I came across this article:

        http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/russias-online-comment-propaganda-army/280432/

        • Chill out and take off the tin foil hat. My position (david, don’t know about the others) is pretty mainstream in Europe. We can see why Putin’s Russia is under attack from the interests of the transatlantic alliance and the global financial and corporate elites. I’m not defending Putin, rather commenting on the ignorant onesided world view the propaganda spoon fed American audience mostly has.
          One aspect is the great media attention the gay issue in Russia gets – due to the propaganda spin doctors – and other much more pressing issues are completely ignored.

  24. For such a tiny minority of the world’s population, the homosexual lobby certainly makes a lot of noise and takes itself very seriously. It may come as a shock, but not everyone on the planet – or in that concert hall – has any interest in this. Hecklers of all sorts usually try to call attention to themselves – so tiresome – and merely alienate everyone else around them. And, I promise you, Mr Putin is not going to change his position on this. Whatever “rights” you think should be extended to people in a country not your own, keep your politics out of the concert hall, classroom and other places where people gather for completely unpolitical events. Enough, already.

  25. In the English speaking world (most of us at this web site) music and religion are not highly political in the sense of national politics (politics within the music world is something else.) In Russia big institutions like the Marinsky and the Russian Orthodox Church are, sadly, very political. I doubt Giergiev could keep his position if he came out against Putin. (I don’t think we can say he’s doing a “Furtwangler” yet.) It might be trite to protest the current Republican Party idiocy at the Metropolitan Opera because the Koch Bros fund the MET but the Putin regime is a real blight on the world, human rights are fundamental and Putin’s persecution of gays is killing people. I don’t think we are on the right side of this issue when we go out of our way to scold political protest in the concert hall as “inappropriate.”

    Music shouldn’t be political, but it is in Russia. Russian politics shouldn’t be our concern but the situation is too egregious to ignore. When the concert hall and opera house are no longer important enough venues for controversy be concerned. No, The MET should not have cancelled Onegin but the the disinterested statements from the MET and Carnegie Hall on the issue were lamentable. (…and a bad PR move that shows how out of touch the elite running these institutions really are.)

    • Arts in France are political, too. One of the first things the ‘Socialist’ Hollande’s new Arts Minister did was to announce that Nicolas Joel would not get a second term at the head of the Paris Opera. NJ, slated to start in 2009, was delighted that Sarkozy beat the left’s Ségolène Royal to become French president in 2007…

      • Well, give me Lissner any time. Oh wait! That’s what they did!

        Frankly, you may be as right wing as it gets, but you must acknowledge that Joel’s directorship was not quite memorable (except for the appointment of P. Jordan as music director).

  26. Michael Schaffer says:

    David J Gill says:
    October 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    “I doubt Giergiev could keep his position if he came out against Putin. (I don’t think we can say he’s doing a “Furtwangler” yet.)”

    Depends on what you mean by that. Furtwängler protested against the treatment of Jews and also non-Jewish artists like Hindemith very publicly, and at a time when it was already abundantly clear that the Nazis really weren’t kidding, and lost all his positions. Is that what you mean by doing “a Furtwangler”?

    “It might be trite to protest the current Republican Party idiocy at the Metropolitan Opera because the Koch Bros fund the MET”

    Why? Many Republicans are just as openly anti-gay as Putin’s regime is, and they work very hard to influence politics through religious fundamentalism, so where is the big difference?

  27. @Jeffrey, above – What has been explained is the fact that Carnegie Hall seems to require several hundred stagehand man hours per week of which the lion’s share is hoovered up by the five incumbent employees. Naturally, many of these hours are overtime and incur a higher hourly rate. Rick provided figures showing how someone could earn that amount in a normal week. How am I doing so far? Right, next. Aside from whether one feels all this overtime should go to the regulars (I don’t personally give a toss, but there you go), the issue which I think a lot of people have problems grasping is why this comparatively menial task attracts such a handsome hourly rate. Because yes, compared to the expertise required in many tasks similarly remunerated the task is unskilled and menial. You’ve often said the job is ‘highly skilled’. Well, I’ve often asked you to explain how, but you’ve never answered, you’ve always run off and hid. If you want your claim to be taken seriously, now’s your chance to muzzle the dissenters.

    • No. What people don’t understand is why you seem so desperate, while rejecting all comment to the contrary, to dismiss it as “menial”.

      Interestingly, the hall and the musicians — who are in much better positions than you to understand the value of the stagehands’ contribution — disagree with you. This has already been called to your attention many times, but each time, you dismiss it based solely on what you’re sure *must* be so.

      • Your first paragraph is nonsense; you’re the only one who seems to have taken issue with my wording. So what justifies that hourly rate then, Jeff? You’re entitled to hide behind the CH status quo and dismiss any naysayers as ignorant, but all I would like to know is what YOU, Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer, understand by ‘highly skilled’. Simple question. Give me a simple answer and I’ll leave you alone.

        • Uh, no.

          I’ll give you an answer and you’ll deny that I gave you an answer.

        • This person is really just playing a game here, one in which only he makes and regularly changes the rules. To explain to him or her what “highly skilled,” or even skilled, means would be a fool’s errand as he/she controls the definition of each word and, Monty Python-like, can just respond, “*That’s* not *skilled*!” And what would professional and experiences performing arts lighting designers, orchestral musicians, conductors, mangers, or critics know anyway about the role of stage hands?

    • I’m not going to get anywhere near the personal side of this “debate,” but certainly I and others here have laid out what professional stage hands do and how this is multiplied several times and made more intricate at Carnegie Hall due to its packed calendar and all of its presentation being by guests. If there are people here who are hostile to those in occupations other than their own being paid for hard and specialized work, it’s not the job of others here to do their research for them. The New York Times 2009 article has been posted and others are readily available. There is also the option of attending a concert, although this might involve observing what actually happens on stage, arriving early, staying late, and giving up one’s interval. Afterwards, one might ask some members of the performing orchestra what they think about the field and how it affects their work. They do not tend to be a shy lot. Menial, what an unpleasant word.

      • ‘Highly skilled’?

        • Yes. Highly skilled. Your insisting that they must *not* be doesn’t change that.

          • Highly skilled in negotiating their renumeration obviously. Not highly skilled regarding their duties. A pilot in the rank of a Captain with a major Airline makes best case about half of what the CH stage hands make. I don’t think any sane person would even try to compare the skills and qualifications necessary for being a licensed airliner captain vs a CH stage hand. Or take a surgeon… etc. etc. This whole discussion is insane.

      • I’m not at all hostile to other people earning good money for work different from my own. I just object to being told that it’s worth that amount because it’s ‘highly skilled’ which it is, if one is to believe the descriptions cited by yourself and others, manifestly not. Requiring some on-site training and benefitting from years of repetition maybe, but I think many would reserve the epithet ‘highly skilled’ for other professions requiring years of training. Signing off.

        • I once knew a symphony percussionist who would only let one prop man handle his instruments. No one else was allowed to touch them. When the prop man retired, so did the percussionist.

          This was an extreme case, to be sure, but the basic premise is common. The musicians themselves consider the stagehands to be highly skilled, so if you were not ignoring this so as to later claim, once again, that i never answered you, I’d suggest that you should, too.

          Or, as I’ve suggested before, call the musicians and tell them they’re wrong.

          • As I said. As Jeffrey E. says. Ciao!

          • The story is about a Philly musician cocerning Muti. So what did the (alleged) musician do when the orchestra was on tour? Stay at home? What a load of crap. Bye, bye.

          • Wasn’t Philly, although I’m sure similar situations exist there. As I said, it’s common.

            I know you’ll have trouble believing this, based solely on the fact that you don’t want it to be true, but major orchestras take their crews — at least the department heads — on the road with them.

          • Again, too many people know nothing about this subject and at least one person does not seem to *want* to know anything about it. Regardless of whether the “percussionist story” is true, *a crew of home hall stagehands *travels with* a touring orchestra and works in coördination with crews from host halls.* As has been stated above *that is how orchestras are able to tour and to do so almost seamlessly, around a region, country, and the world.* Mr Lebrecht is very tolerant of some of the behaviours here.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            I was going to ask about that. So what happens if a major orchestra shows up at Carnegie Hall, with their own crew – which, I am sure are the only ones the members of that particular orchestra want to handle *their* instruments and equipment. Do the CH people all go home except for one guy who holds the position, takes care of hall-specific tasks that the guest crew are not familiar with?

          • I’m not sure what the contract at CH says, but a typical model would be for the Local 1 hands to do the setup under the direction of the touring department heads.

            A large, world-class (or even national-class) orchestra tours with its own chairs and stands, and the setup can be more complicated than it looks from the audience. The musicians’ contract, for a major orchestra, can be the size of a small telephone book (for those who remember what those are), and specifies what types of chair each instrument gets (and some musicians, of course, have their own favorite chairs).

            The contract also specifies the acceptable temperature range, and the limits within which the lighting must fall (Note: Don’t *ever* light a harpist with colored light), although the touring hands are not necessary for the enforcement of those sections..

          • Michael, Most halls and theates are members of the same North American union, IATSE (easy to look up on line). Their locals and crews are in close contact with each other throughout the year as are the operations people from the managements of major orchestras and halls. Depending upon the contracts with each orchestra or venue there is a set number of people who travel with a touring ensemble and set number of people at the presenting hall. In 30 years of observation, I have never seen an extra person with nothing to do during a load-in, breakdown, or performance. Most stage doors give out to the public way, I recommend watching the process in person and asking any questions.

  28. I know that’s the case, but the wording was too redolent of the famous story in Philly. Thanks for the joust, I’ve enjoyed it. We’ll never be of one mind on the matter, but that’s OK. Good luck with everything.

  29. As a musician in a major orchestra, I can agree that stagehands do a very important job, that they are essential to successful functioning of an orchestra, and that they spend many hours at work. They are nice people and we like them. Our orchestra usually takes on tour our main stage manager only, together with a couple of helpers; the full-time stagehands remain “home” because they are needed for other events in our hall. Their skill set is substantial but nowhere near that of other professions that are compensated in six-figure range. The intensity and concentration required of them during their working hours can’t possibly be compared to those that are consistently expected of us orchestral musicians during rehearsals and concerts. That is why, in my opinion and in relation to musicians’ wages, paying stagehands over $100 per hour and over $400K a year is preposterously excessive. Or, if you prefer, most of everybody else are woefully underpaid.

    • With all due respect, are you there several hours before the bulk of the musicians arrive, and do you stay for several hours after most have left?

      If not, then you have seen only a small (and tyhe easiest) part of what they do.

      Those who make $100/hour do so because they work massive amounts of overtime. How much would the orchestra pay union musicians if they were consistently working 80-hour weeks?

      • My opinion is based on comparing educational levels and, most important, on many years of working side by side and observing. Of course we musicians can’t stay around all day every day and watch what our stagehands are doing during some of those long hours for which they are paid very handsomely, because we need to spend that time practicing our parts by ourselves for which we are not getting paid at all. But we do know how much they do even if we don’t always see how they do it, just like they are smart enough to know very well that we practice in our “non-working” hours even though they don’t actually see us doing that. The fact that these seemingly normal mortal human beings can work over 70 hours a week consistently for many years, yet stay not only alive but usually quite healthy, says a lot to us about intensity of their work and concentration that it requires, because we know that after just one 70-hour week of doing what we do most of us, including our youngest and strongest, would collapse and probably require hospitalization.

        • So you feel comfortable commenting on their worth though you’ve seen only a very small part of what they do.

          • Anonymous and pseudonymous comments should always be discounted but “m2n2k”‘s most recent post is just absurd for reasons Jeffrey E. Salzberg offers and others.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            What m2n2k says makes total sense. With most things other people do, we only see the before and after situations. When you add a known time frame to that, you can get an idea of what they did even if you weren’t there. Especially if you have seen the work before and you know what it is normally like. If you ask people you work with to do something that you know how it’s done, you know what they do even when you aren’t there to observe every single step. For instance, if you ask someone to set up 20 chairs on a stage which are sitting right next to it, and you come back after 4 hours and he is just putting the 19th chair on the stage, you know he hasn’t done much in those past 4h because you know how long that normally takes. So if he tells you “you don’t know what I did, you weren’t here”, do you just say “yes, you are right, I wasn’t here so I can’t judge what you did in the meantime”?

          • Please stop this. You are insulting any rational sane intellect with this hyperbole about the CH stage hand “high skills”.
            That they can work 80 hours weeks, is due to the fact that many of those hours are done on idle standby too. Fact.

          • And before you accuse me of not knowing what they do. I’m intimately familiar with the duties of stage hands on many of the major European concert venues and opera houses, have collaborated with them closely. Their work is precious and important, good people are a gem. But their skill set is not particularly high in comparison to all the professions present in a concert hall or in the whole society. This discussion is a joke.

          • To AP: you may discount anything you want, but the substance of my comments will not change regardless of how they are signed.
            To JS: the amount of what I have seen on a daily basis over several decades is much more than “very small”, and in any case my comfort level is irrelevant here.
            To MS: very well said. Since we are not talking of rocket science, seeing the results of such work is sufficient for figuring out how they were achieved.

          • No one is saying that masked commenters would or would not change their comments if they signed them. Just that, especially in a discussion of evaluation, one cannot fully evaluate a comment when one has no idea who is making it.

          • I have no doubt that you have many times seen the stagehands at the least demanding part of their jobs.

            By your own admission, you are not there during the many hours in which they do the hard part.

            Using your logic, when the orchestra is playing the “Siegfried Idyll”, the trumpet player is grossly overpaid; after all, s/he just sits around for 20 minutes and then plays a small bit at the very end.

          • Jeffrey, what would that “hard part” you assume I hadn’t seen, be? I’ve seen it all…
            And your “logic” about the trumpet player is flawed. Nobody is taking issue with the stage hands also having idle time while on duty. The issue is only, why they have to be paid like a neurosurgeon on duty for it.

          • You’ve been there — consistently — 8 hours before the musicians show up, and 4 hours after they’ve left?

          • I’ve been there, yes. So don’t evade the question. What is that *hard part* you are talking about?

          • Answered several times, by me and others. The fact that you didn’t like the answer is irrelevant.

        • @m2n2k and David H., above. Bravo. Nothing else to be said.

  30. To AP: after many years of being a professional orchestral musician, I know that not signing my full name allows me sometimes to be more honest and truthful in my comments than I would have been otherwise. This may or may not be one of those cases, but the blog’s host does not like when the same person uses different signatures which is why I choose to stay with mine for the time being.
    To JS: comparing a few minutes of listening to one piece with decades of observing while working together, practically side by side, is rather desperate and utterly unconvincing. Since you know so well what I do and don’t see, I can’t wait to read your detailed explanation of that “hard part” that I have been allegedly managing to be missing all these years.

    • Well, you don’t know how many years I’ve spent listening to Siegfried Idyll.

      Your decades of being around stagehands during only the easiest part of their job gives you no insight into the difficult parts, for which you admit you’re never around (Nor should you be; you just shouldn’t assume that only the things you see exist).

  31. @AP, above. Regarding pseudonymity: Many of us are not in the business of self-promotion and choose to express our views while protecting not only ourselves but also our employers. If m2n2k or David H. had decided to call themselves Stephen Johnson or Hilary Davis (without providing links to their own websites) would their contributions have suddenly been valid, even though they are not these people? Let’s judge the posts by their content and nothing else. After all, providing a real name and a link to one’s own website is no guarantee of high content quality…

  32. Thanks to our Host for ending this “game”. When the “score” becomes so lopsided, it is not much fun “playing” anymore.

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