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La Scala’s Acclaimed Daniel Barenboim the Latest to Lash Out at Concertgoers

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Dec 28, 2014 02:30 PM EST

Acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has become the latest in a string of musicians to berate the audience from the stage. Angry at the audience for taking pictures, Barenboim slammed flash-happy fans at La Scala, Milan's prestigious opera house, as "badly educated.”

The outburst came during a performance of Franz Schubert’s "D845 Sonata" where Barenboim, who was in his final week at La Scala, warned audiences — and one woman in particular — that he had asked several times for people not to take photographs during his performance and was beginning to lose his temper.

"Madam, I am trying to give you my best, but you have no respect for it! Those who take photographs during concerts are badly educated,” he said. "I have asked at every concert. The first time nicely, but now it's serious.”

After a round of applause, the 72-year-old Argentinian conductor and pianist returned to the sonata.

Music fans are all too familiar with this behavior with a string of controversial lash-outs coming from musicians.

Recently, world-renowned violinist Kyung Wha Chung scolded a child’s parents after the child was coughing during her performance.

But some compare the scolding to a more restrained version of pianist Keith Jarrett’s 2007, notorious, on-stage rant at the Umbria Jazz festival, when he told "all these assholes with cameras" to "turn them fucking off right now."

Jarrett was banned for six years from the from the Umbria festival in Perugia after his outburst, returning to perform in 2013 but playing in the dark so no one could take photographs.

There were no interruptions when Barenboim ended nine years of service, the final three as musical director, at La Scala Tuesday night, Dec. 23, with a performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven's Fidelio. The maestro has conducted more than 200 operas, ballets and concerts since he first performed at La Scala 48 years ago and received a lengthy standing ovation from the audience at his final appearance.

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TagsLa Scala, Daniel Barenboim, Kyung Wha Chung, Keith Jarrett, Schubert, Umbria Jazz Festival

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