Pianist Stephen Hough suggests $2,000 fine for cell phones going off at concerts; let's double that in Baltimore
Tuesday night at the Lyric, in the final act of Puccini's Turandot, while soprano Sabina Cvilak, as Liu, was in the midst of her final, ravishing scene, a cell phone went off in the hand bag of a woman sitting behind me (why are they always sitting right behind me?) and she proceeded to fumble noisily for it, muttering as she did so. As the incident marred an otherwise rewarding performance, I was reminded of a suggestion posted the other day by Stephen Hough, the fabulous British pianist and engaging blogger:
I don't mind the odd rasp of a cough, or rustle of a programme; but a jingle from the depths of someone's pocket or pocket-book is about as annoying as anything can be. Perhaps an instant fine of $2,000 would be the incentive needed for people simply to check and make sure the wretched things are switched off.
Personally, I'd say ...
Not long after that rude ring finally stopped behind me at Turandot, another went off elsewhere in the theater. What part of "Please turn off all cell phones and pagers" don't people understand?
Last week, I attended four concerts over the course of four nights in four different venues in Dresden and heard exactly zero cell phones. On these shores, I'm more likely to encounter four cell phones at a single performance. It's downright criminal. I say, bring on the Hough Fines.