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Subject: Re: applause habits (Was: Booing at the Met)
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:21:59 -0400

text/plain (50 lines)

While today we love to highbrow opera behavior to within an inch of its artificial life, it’s my 
strong belief many composers predicted (or hoped for) the effect their music would have on 
the audience.  As to Nessun Dorma, I don’t know when it began, but the applause at that 
spot began very early on, almost as though Puccini were saying, “I dare you NOT to 

There’s a 1960 recording of Corelli in a complete Turandot where the audience demands an 
encore of the aria, and the tenor (and conductor) oblige, and, yes, the audience applauds at 
that same spot again.  

Here’s the audio from a 1964 performance where the audience gets Franco Fever and the 
ovation gets so carried away, it continues through part of Ping, Pang and Pong’ music.

The older I get, the more forgiving I become of this behavior, and will admit, I wish I’d been 
there and cheered him to the rafters myself!

Then, there’s the case of that tremendous '55 Scala "Sonnambula" with Callas and 
Bernstein, where, during “Ah non giunge” the audience goes bananas while Callas is still holding the note that ushers in the chorus for the final cadential sequence and the house 
continues cheering through the rest of the finale.  Perhaps it’s not very dignified, but holy 
Moses, is it ever exciting and exactly the kick in the ass opera needs at least every once in a 


* * * * *

Mr. Weimar wrote, asking:
"I've often wondered if audiences have always burst loudly into ecstatic
applause at that invariable, inevitable moment during the reprise of the
melody at the end of "Nessun dorma," or if audiences were conditioned to do
so during the era when Pavarotti's televised stadium performances of the
aria were seemingly ubiquitous.  How far back does this audience timing go
in live performances?"

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