It is frustrating.....

I'm an audiophile because I'm a music lover. Like most of the people on this site, I try cables, equipment, spikes, etc with one goal : to get the best out of 'canned' music, make it as close to life performance as possible. Knowing that 'perfect' reproduction is impossible, I go to live concerts as much as I can - on the average 10 classical music concerts, 2 ~ 3 operas, some jazz concerts per year.

Than it starts to become frustrating. Third time this year, I have left a concert at the break in Lincoln centre (NYC).

The acoustics : great, individual instruments : very palatable (!), no coloration, yadi yada yada...

Performance : miserable. No soul, no urge, no involvement from the orchestra... No pride in their work ?

Give me my 'miserable' listening room, 'coloring' cables, 'imperfect' equipment ... even a 'mono' CD - but a good, involving performance !

I'm not even talking about 'technical / mechanical' performance of the musicians - for me, technical brilliance is important, but secondary. It is the feel, interpretation, the 'soul' which is more important.

And the audience - horrible (see the thread 'cough vigilante). It is actually worse ... May be someday they will sell popcorn in the concert halls...

I have decided that I can save that $50/$60 per person / per concert, plus the trimmings, to buy 'canned' performances.

No wonder that the industry is complaining about less and less concert goers - they've just lost two.

Sorry for the rumblings.... I had to let some steam out...
"the typical person going to the symphony to be seen"....I think I might throw up! While there seem to be many different suggestions for excellent music in the NYC area, is there a consensus on which symphony or venue is most likely to attract the person who is going "to be seen"? I want to make sure I stay as far away as possible. I don't know enough about the ballet to know if the American Ballet Theatre programs and performances are good or bad, but I can warn readers that is has recently been hijacked by lah di dah socialites who may be "tirelessly devoted to charity" (read: wearing expensive clothes, drinking champagne and being photographed) but wouldn't know the difference between Tchaikovsky and Riverdance.
Yes, they do go to be seen, especially in this area. Go to the Kennedy Center sometime. See all the fur coats and fancy dresses. See them all hang out in the same area and gossip. Every performance gets a standing ovation no matter if it is good or bad. This is is a Friday and Saturday night I will confess, but interesting to watch from a distance. Baltimore is not as bad but very similar on Saturday. I am out of place not being in a suit, especially in the box seats.
Gentlemen, who cares if some go to be seen. The arts have always attracted some who go "to be seen". Look at it as a compliment to your good taste. Not much different than the audiophile who buys the most expensive gear while being clueless as to what good sound is all about; in fact they are probably the same folks. I frankly don't understand the preoccupation with this, or are we looking for excuses to not support the arts. I assure you that most arts organizations (and high end audio for that matter) can use every single ticket sale. So if some attend for less than noble reasons; again, who cares. Maybe the experience will educate them on some level. By the way, a fur coat does not necessarily brand an attendee a clueless snob. Enjoy the music!

I think Ikarus is onto something, but it seems there's a point here no has touched upon: this rude behavior is symptomatic of a general debasing of our culture, from the mosh pit devotees to the concertgoers. You could debate for hours they whys and wherefores, but the pattern seems obvious to me. I share some of Ikarus' frustrations - the coughing, late arrivals, chatterers, the cell phone addicts, and uninspired readings of great music. Doubly annoying since we have a superb orchestra in our city, but it at times ain't easy to hear it for the noise in one form or another. Civility is indeed a dying art.

Re the point on the mechanical nature of the performances - it can't be easy for the musicians to be on fire for every performance. That is not to excuse a run through of a Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, what have you. But we all have our flat days. One poster here mentioned a conductor who chose Baltimore, citing its collective desire to improve. That strikes me as an extremely astute observation by this gentleman. Complacency, whether manifest in the Cleveland, New York, or the Frog Creek Lower Symphonic Orchestra and volunteer fire department, is not conducive to inspired musical production. I guess the trick is to pick your concerts on the days when the musicians are "up" :>). (Don't know how you'd do that, of course.)

That's why I go to few concerts these days; it's also why I've made a substantial investment in home theater. Can't take the Philistines in the concert halls or the theaters.

Diatribe is over.