"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Concert Etiquette in Hyderabad

Warning : this is a mood (mildly annoyed) piece, I believe the very first one, but I just HAVE to publish this post.

Two nights ago, I attended a concert in Hyderabad. This is a rare occurrence. First of all, baby-sitting is often an issue. Second, cultural events are often organized at the most inconvenient times for a mother of small children (read weekday, 6.30 or 7 pm, etc). The last reason is that Hyderabad cannot exactly boast of having a very happening and exciting cultural life. But this is changing, along with so many other things.

On Sunday night, the Duo Rosario was here, from France, and I decided I would not miss this. As an opera lover who used to live in New York, London and Paris, I have been starved for this type of performance. As luck would have it, our car decided to break down on Sunday, the taxi supposed to come and fetch us couldn’t find its way (the new taxi companies created after the new airport opened often hire drivers who come straight from their village; some speak English, others not a word, and some know their way around Hyderabad, and others have absolutely no clue as to where they are, or where they’re supposed to be going), but we still managed to arrive... two minutes late, but a few minutes before the concert began.

The first part of the evening saw diverse musicians, some professionals, others amateurs, before the main performance by the Duo Rosario.

There was no reason for me to be so stressed out at the thought that we were late...

As Aleksandra Mikolajczyk, who happens to be my daughter’s piano teacher, started playing an Etude by Chopin, I was amazed to see that people continued to come in and go as if they were entering a supermarket or a restaurant. Even more incredible: a swarm of photographers started taking pictures of the pianist from all possible angles, their noisy flashes blinding her! I couldn’t believe it. Later on, when Celine Laly from the Duo Rosario sang (beautifully!) a cell phone rang, and a few minutes later, another one. I could see her eyes zeroing in on the person whose phone was ringing, even though she did manage to finish her song flawlessly. 

Question: Is this really cultural? The lack of punctuality is a fact of life, here. I know it, I’ve lived with it for the past few years, and I’ll never get used to it, but I also understand that there isn’t much I can do about it. Still, how difficult would it be to address such issues, at least when being late becomes downright discourteous, not to say blatantly disrespectful - then again, isn’t it always discourteous and disrespectful to be late? Seems to me a few simple rules would do the trick:


1. Latecomers will not be allowed to enter while the artist is performing.

2. Cellphones must be switched off during the performance.

3. Photographers are to wait until the performer is done to take pictures, or at least do it in the most unobtrusive way.


Janet Brown said...

Or BYOB--(bring your own bouncer)--this is so disheartening--nobody would behave that way in a movie theater because they could be thrown out--why be allowed to spoil what others have waited so long to enjoy and what the performers work so hard to make beautiful?

Aasim said...

YES! I'm with you on those points.
The cell phone was a real suck up. I mean seriously, you should put up signs saying "Please switch your cell phone to silent" or something.

And yes, Aleksandra's first piece was amazing but then the second one went out of tone because of the swarrmmm of photographers. Give her a break seriously. Have something like Red Carpet photographers, not while performing with all the flashes, how could one possibly concentrate? jeez.

As annoyed as you,

Katia said...

Hello Aasim,
Thanks for expressing your views with so much passion :)

Janet, I actually believe that the movie theater experience, in India, is also quite different from what we know (including in Thailand. I remember going to see a movie in Bangkok, and except for having to stand up and listen to the national anthem, with the King's picture on the screen at the beginning, the rest of the experience was similar to what I'm used to.) I have not yet been to see a movie here in India (I know, crazy, but again, screenings in English often last very little, baby sitting, etc, and since we can see any movie a few weeks or months later on DVD, well...) but I'm told people also come and go, and I've even heard that you can have food served to your seat? I need to check on that again. Or better, get myself to a movie theater. Soon...

ACE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aasim said...

Hey, are you still in Hyderabad? There is this event coming up on Sunday the 22nd.

"Performed by Broadway Musicals, UK and produced by Colin Francis and Marie Adele, this show will relive the biggest hits from the biggest movies and musicals viz., Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Grease, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever, etc"

Read it here

(copy paste the url :P)

I don't know about you but its something I like and I'm going to, so I just figured Id drop you a line about it.

Check out the poster here.
Hope to see you there if you could make it :)


Katia said...

Thank you, Aasim. Unfortunately, Sunday evenings are a difficult time to go out, as I mentioned before. I really made an exception for Duo Rosario. Wish it were on the Saturday, as we might have taken the kids, but they have to be up very early on Monday morning to go to school, so I'll have to pass. Enjoy it :)

Aasim said...

Well, The show was GREAT GREAT GREAT no doubt! Too bad you missed it though :( Hey if your ever making any exception again, do mention it to me :) maybe we might catch up at one of these events lol
Next one im up for its a Jazz Concert by rock band Ozma, again, organized by Alliance Française. lets hope I dont do bad on my upcoming exams though!