excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 364-368 (294 words)

excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 364-368 (294 words)

part of

Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

364-368

type

text excerpt

encoded value

Nearly twenty years ago, when I sojourned in the fairest of European lands, [Italy] I was an inveterate theatre-goer ; moreover, it was the fashion in Italian society at that time to spend some portion of every evening at the theatre — not necessarily to attend to the piece, but to exchange the news of the day, pay visits to one's friends in their boxes, and, above all, to talk scandal — and I did as everybody else did...I observed that applause, as well as its converse, was almost invariably led and insisted upon by dilettanti of this class ; while society in the boxes, as a rule, only gave expression to its approval in sotto voce murmurs, and rarely vented its displeasure in sibilation or whistling.All the box-people seemed to know one another, and to pass their time in animated conversation, instead of listening to the opera. The pittites and gods, on the other hand, were eagerly attentive and audibly critical; no flaw in the accompaniments, no false note in the singing, no hitch in the stage business escaped their notice, or failed to elicit from them some appropriate utterance...It never seemed to strike any native member of an Italian audience that he might possibly be marring his neighbour's enjoyment by ventilating his own feelings viva voce. I have frequently sate between able-bodied fanatici to whom every well or ill-sung phrase suggested a sonorous cry of " Bene!" or an ireful growl of "Male!" all through an opera; and have remembered how savagely I had been snubbed in Berlin, by fanatics of another variety, for daring to whisper a word or two in the ear of my companion for the time being, while some popular cantatrice was singing stead fastly out of tune.

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excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 364-368 (294 words)

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