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I just saw at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/the-big-question/9922375/An-etiquette-guide-to-ballet-and-opera-for-beginners.html :

 

3. If you are tempted to join in the chorus of praise remember that opera and ballet lovers like getting their Italian gender endings correct. So: “brava!” for a woman, “bravo!” for man and “bravi!” for everyone....

and I read elsewhere that the feminine plural form is "brave."

 

A balletcoforum.com search gave several result for Bravi...   I very rarely get to see live performances but I don't recall hearing anything except 'Bravo' in the UK... or was I not listening properly?

 

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10 minutes ago, Don Q Fan said:

Oh you do hear Bravi, I was watching ballet last week with a fellow bco-er who used Bravi but it is less common to hear it than Bravo. 

 

Interesting -  Do you think she would have used 'Brava' for a female solo... and 'Brave' for Beatriz Stix-Brunell's and Yasmine Naghdi's duet?

 

I only recall using the term myself when I was babysitting for a (female) toddler who was making her first steps.  I'm afraid she got a 'Bravo' from me. 

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I hear much more in the way of generalised cheering now than any sort of bravo-ing (I can only speak for ballet, not opera). But I personally find it easier to use a word! And I use bravo unless it's a sole woman in which case I usually use brava. (Not logical, but there you go.) I think that 'bravo' (where used) has become a general expression of congratulation, regardless of the gender or number involved.

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I remember during the 80s when I used to sit in the Amphitheatre and there was always one ostentatious, not to say pretentious, man who made a point of shouting out all the variations of Bravo depending on the number and gender of the artists he was applauding.  A number of us used to call him 'The Bravo Man'.  We found out not long afterwards that he was an aspiring critic who was doing everything he could to muscle in to that prestigious circle.

 

His name was Alastair Macauley  (I wonder whatever happened to him) and his actions have put me off yelling bravo in any of its variations ever since.

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I seem to hear wooo-hooo a lot these days.

On the whole I' m a bit tame with the vocal cheering really but usually if particularly excited just shout hooray! 

One of the few occasions got a bit carried away in this last year was in St Petersburg cheering on CeliB's son ( now with the Bolshoi) at one of his student performances. There was a group of us and including an American family whose son was dancing as well and we went a bit mad!! Well, made a right show of ourselves I suppose.....but was a special occasion is my excuse!

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Haven’t shouted for a number of years. How sad! Must get back to responding when it is really deserved. I think it got a bit habitual at one point and should be kept for really special performances. Anyone else remember when we used to drum our feet on amphi floor? That was for special performances, I expect health and safety preclude it now!

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I'm seeing Cecilia Bartoli at the end of the month, if her performance matches all her others I'll certainly yell Brava.  Of course she is Italian, but shouting out ' Extremely well sung Madam', doesn't really sit that well,  suppose I must be pretentious.

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3 hours ago, Jillykins said:

Anyone else remember when we used to drum our feet on amphi floor? That was for special performalnces, I expect health and safety preclude it now!

 

That still happens now, though probably not as loudly as the past (fewer people probably know of its significance)

 

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4 hours ago, Josephine said:

Evidence of an all-purpose Bravo being used by dancers!!

 

That may partly just reflect the difference between the written and spoken word, though.  After all, if you see "brave" written you interpret it as "courageous" if you're a native English speaker.  Possibly also it's a question of how familiar you are with Italian and its declensions as to whether you bother using them or not.  I don't think a native Italian speaker would find it easy to use "bravo" about a female?

 

I personally have never been one for shouting out "Bravo" in the first place (and indeed I think I've probably commented before that I've found that in about 50% of cases where I've encountered it it's been in response to something which I didn't really think merited it :) ).  However, I have said, or at least muttered, it on a few occasions, and I have been known to use the various declensions ... tactically, so to speak.  For example: "brava!" in response to a pas de deux might translate as "ballerina, you were marvellous, but your partner was rubbish" :)

 

 

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This may well be peculiar to me, but the one thing that I can't stand is when someone near me has a particularly loud and piercing way of clapping. I always have to exit before the curtain calls are done - it hurts my ears too much!

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7 minutes ago, Yaffa said:

What is the norm in Russia? From watching Russian ballet performances online, I don't recall hearing anything other than 'Bravo.' The fascinating/spooky 2013 NY Times article on claquers  (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/arts/dance/designated-cheering-spectators-thrive-at-the-bolshoi-theater.html) mentions them shouting 'Bravo' after a pas de deux. 

 

I *think* it's just "bravo", but for most Russians the rules of pronunciation mean that the -o becomes an unstressed -a anyway!  My memory may be at fault however - others will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.

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19 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I *think* it's just "bravo", but for most Russians the rules of pronunciation mean that the -o becomes an unstressed -a anyway!  My memory may be at fault however - others will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Yes, an example would be names ending in O, e.g. Matvienko, the O changes to A, making the name sound Matvienka, however as bravo is a foreign word the rule shouldn't apply. 

 

Perhaps Amelia would be kind enough to give a definitive judgement on this.

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3 minutes ago, MAB said:

...however as bravo is a foreign word the rule shouldn't apply. 

 

Perhaps Amelia would be kind enough to give a definitive judgement on this.

 

Unless it's been sufficiently assimilated?

 

It occurs to me that the question might have been about the different endings to the word, in which case I'd say that the Russians aren't generally very fussy about getting that kind of thing right when it comes to imported words.

 

Anyway, this is definitely one for a native!

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23 hours ago, Two Pigeons said:

I remember during the 80s when I used to sit in the Amphitheatre and there was always one ostentatious, not to say pretentious, man who made a point of shouting out all the variations of Bravo depending on the number and gender of the artists he was applauding.  A number of us used to call him 'The Bravo Man'.  We found out not long afterwards that he was an aspiring critic who was doing everything he could to muscle in to that prestigious circle.

 

His name was Alastair Macauley  (I wonder whatever happened to him) and his actions have put me off yelling bravo in any of its variations ever since.

 

If it is the same man he taught dance history at Laban before becoming the drama critic to the Financial Times in the late 90s up until about ten years ago when I believe he moved to the US to take up a post as dance critic.  He has also authored books on ballet from what I recall.  He created controversy a few years back when commenting on the weight of a certain Sugar Plum Fairy.

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3 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

I don't really mind what people shout in adulation, so long as they don't whistle! 

 

Yes, it can be really painful if someone lets out an eardrum-piercing whistle right close to you!

 

Seriously, though, I'm quite surprised that, given all the discussion there is these days about not using masculines to refer to feminines, people haven't started demanding that we use "brava" for women.  Perhaps I'm just ahead of the game for once ...

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9 minutes ago, alison said:

Seriously, though, I'm quite surprised that, given all the discussion there is these days about not using masculines to refer to feminines, people haven't started demanding that we use "brava" for women.  Perhaps I'm just ahead of the game for once ...

 

I think the game has moved on to non-gender-specific terms - I'm not sure how Italian will adapt to that.

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2 hours ago, Fiz said:

Yes, Junedancer! I googled him as his name rang a bell and revealed what you have said. 

 

In a life pre-DD I used to read the FT at work and his name rang a bell - I particularly remembered him for his comments on the Sugar Plum Fairy having taken the role to heart and eaten too many sweets which I thought particularly cruel.

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