V.com weekend vote: Does a classical concert make for a good 'date night'?

April 13, 2018, 10:33 AM · When you are planning a date night with your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse or potential romantic partner -- what springs to mind? Does a classical concert make for a good date night? And what about if you are asking someone out, early in a relationship? Would you consider taking that person to a classical concert?

violin roses

A recent Violinist.com discussion thread (Have you ever invited your (future) girlfriend to a concert?) got me thinking about this issue.

I'm probably pretty biased, but it seems like an ideal date to me: an occasion to perhaps get a little dressed up, have dinner beforehand, watch something together, then talk about it over drinks or dessert.

But some people are a bit shy about asking a romantic partner to something like a classical concert. Is this their kind of music? Will they like it? Will they feel out of place? Will it go too long? And, even long-time partners and spouses have different ideas - maybe the classical concerts are simply something to do with another friend, because your partner likes baseball games better or doesn't like to go out, or simply just doesn't like classical music.

What have your experiences been, taking a date to a classical concert? Is it something you have done, and if so, did both parties enjoy it? Is it something you feel shy about doing? Please answer the vote and then tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

Replies

April 13, 2018 at 06:28 PM · In my opinion, only if the other person is into classical music. I had a very bad date a long time ago with a woman that was not interested in classical music and I remember she found it terrible to watch Salvatore Accardo performing the Beethoven Concerto and I really didn‘t know what to do. It was super awkward.

April 13, 2018 at 06:53 PM · So many different answers:

In the past...

As a filter to see if the potential partner was worth the investment of time. Absolutely.

With some of my ex -girlfriends...not so much (see above)

With my wife: Absolutely

April 13, 2018 at 06:59 PM · I just had went to a concert with my wife of the local orchestra. She is definitely not a classical music fan but welcome any date night amid our busy life with work and raising teenage girls.

April 13, 2018 at 08:08 PM · Non-shared non-work pursuits usually keep my husband and I from spending great amounts of leisure time together. Classical concerts near home are perfect for doing something fun together. (Too bad no time for dessert or drinks after :-() We're lucky that the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra offers concerts in our city (Berkeley, CA) twice a month.

April 13, 2018 at 08:35 PM · Going to an Orchestral or Chamber concert as a way to say: "Welcome to my world" seems like a good idea. Of course it is not common in todays culture. That being said, unless your date is already a fan of Orchestral/Chamber music make sure it is a "lightweight" concert - the heavyweight stuff might be a real turn-off.

Of course, from my perspective its all theoretical. Married for 43 (child-free) years, we're geezers and any activity that has the word "night" is pretty much avoided. Love those matinee performances though, not as dressy and we don't have to rush back to the cats if we decide to follow with an early dinner out. Occasionally we do see some non-grey hair at concerts we attend and we have to wonder, are they actual young people or just fellow geezers in disguise?

April 13, 2018 at 08:48 PM · We go out for the symphony, chamber music, a film series, or live theater at least once or twice a month (the film series is usually six weeks of Thursday nights, at the Seattle Art Museum). The music we hear is a mix of old and new (I remember Mary's surprise and delight at the Emerson Quartet's performance of Webern and my bafflement at the JACK Quartet). Drinks and dinner beforehand. Always a good time. We aren't part of the white-hair contingent, but we'll get there.

April 13, 2018 at 10:17 PM · If your date doesn't like classical music (and assuming that you do) they are to wrong person to date.

April 13, 2018 at 11:13 PM · I didn't expect the theme of this vote to be about whether you take your wife of 10 years to the symphony. I thought it was going to be about dating someone you've just met or have only dated maybe a few times. If the latter, then I think the Beethoven Violin Concerto or the Enigma Variations is too heavy-duty. If the former, then your wife has probably heard you practicing concertos and has acclimated to that (as long as you've reached at least, say, the Bruch Level). For a first or second or third date type of event, look maybe for a concert that is going to have some lighter fare. Or you can agree to stay through intermission and then if it's not to your date's liking then you can go out for cocktails at a jazz club. And if that doesn't work then you know you're dating a Republican.

April 13, 2018 at 11:28 PM · Show openings at the art museum often host chamber music concerts, along with some wine tasting. Best dates ever, as long as you know your date will be into it. The "filter" idea is a bad one . . .

April 13, 2018 at 11:45 PM · Well, Laurie did include spouses in her question, so it seems fair to answer by talking about my wife of 10 years!

I have gone on one first date that was a symphony date. It was a blind date, fixed up through a coworker, and the symphony tickets were what got me to say yes. There was no second date, but we both enjoyed the symphony. Mozart and Mahler. I'm of the opinion that it's never a bad idea to invite people you like to do things you enjoy, unless what you enjoy is really creepy and/or illegal.

April 13, 2018 at 11:58 PM · I'm married, but if I were single that would be a good opportunity to see if we were compatible in the type of music we liked (or would tolerate). So yes, I would take a date to a classical music concert. And, I am an amateur violinist, and love playing classical music CDs in my home, so any date would have to like (or learn to like) that type of music!

Louise

April 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM · There's another way to look at this. Would I be willing to go to a rock concert if my date asked? Hell no, it would be insufferable.

April 14, 2018 at 01:33 AM · First date? No. I want to get to know the person and talk to them in a quiet spot. Once I've gotten to know them a bit? Absolutely.

April 14, 2018 at 03:40 AM · My now-hubby took me to Gershwin in the park on one of our first dates--win! There's a middle ground to start from that's more accessible than a full-on 2 hr "traditional classical" performance :) Ten years and three kids later he's gotten me to latin music and video game concerts and I've gotten him to the symphony and even the opera, and we both enjoyed it, so I'd say it came out well!

April 14, 2018 at 05:49 AM · I met my wife backstage at a concert and it's been like that ever since, as we are both musicians. We even did concerts together (viola/violin and piano). We still play together but not in concerts for me anymore. We do go to good concerts together. Both of us have a deep interest in music and the arts. One way I was able to hook her was to suggest we did a charity concert together, and that settled her fate for good, or bad! After a few weeks she moved in with me and I persuaded her to get a Steinway - which has just been re-built by Steinway at great cost, after 33 plus years ...

April 14, 2018 at 05:56 AM · My partner is as much of a classical music nut as I am, and we even like the same styles of classical, so it's a no-brainer for us, and we never argue about which programs to see.

April 14, 2018 at 06:17 AM · I was at the Metropolitan Opera for a performance of Alban Berg's Wozzeck. Sitting behind me were a young couple, very dressed up. She in a long dress, he in a tuxedo. Of course, my seat mates and I were all wondering about them, so we engaged them in conversation at intermission. This was there first date...What an opera to see on your first date.

April 14, 2018 at 06:28 AM · Not as an icebreaker. With a spouse or someone you are already involved with yes, but not if you're trying to get to know someone.

April 14, 2018 at 02:14 PM · Actually I think opera can be a fun date, or a ballet - there is that visual element to along.

Paul I disagree about the Enigma Variations - there is that connection to the new movie Dunkirk, after all!

April 14, 2018 at 04:29 PM · I remember falling in love with a man on our first date at a symphony. He loved it, too, and kept the ticket stub as a memento for years. We had fun together for years, going to each other's rehearsals and performances, going to professional performances, buying CDs late at night during sales, and listening to music all the time. A cruel trick of fate took him from me, but I still have fond memories of sharing our love of music.

April 14, 2018 at 10:28 PM · Imo, if that's going to be a deal-breaker, going to a classical concert, you don't need that person in your life. It almost sounds like high school, worrying whether the cool kids will like you if they find out about your love of classical music.

After all they never worry about us, do they? I've been dragged to NASCAR, rock and roll shows, you name it. And no one ever worried about my preferences. So now, I don't worry about theirs. What's the worst that could happen? Someone accidentally gets some culture thrown at them for a couple of hours. Trust me, they'll live

April 15, 2018 at 03:46 AM · It’s a good way to find out if the two of you will make it as a couple, that’s for sure. Back in the 70’s I received 2 free Cleveland Orchestra tickets from my teacher who played in the first violin section. I asked a young lady from college whom I barely knew if she would care to join me. She agreed to go and it was her first classical concert. Her main topic of conversation was “Women’s Lib” as feminism was known back in those days. So as we sat there waiting for the concert to begin I received a long drawn out lecture on the lack of women in the orchestra and how how all those men were chauvinist pigs. Then Lorin Maazel came out with the soloist, Alicia de Larrocha to play Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto. OK so they may not really be that bad but there was probably a pig or two in there somewhere. The young woman never went out with me again but I’m left with lasting memories of the thunder of that little Spanish woman blasting out the Emperor Concerto, one of the worlds great pianists, with one of the worlds great orchestras and conductors.

April 15, 2018 at 01:00 PM · Scott yes that's true but honestly, if you don't know whether your spouse of 10 years would enjoy a symphony concert, what the hell have you been talking about all this time? Sports?

April 15, 2018 at 04:55 PM · Ah, rock concerts! My grad school housemates had their favorite bands and I enjoyed listening to their records (which dates me!). Finally the Grateful Dead came into town and I went with one of them. After that concert I probably attended 12 Dead concerts/year for many years. But one of these housemates proposed that we all get season tickets to the chamber music series on campus and that's how I got exposed to chamber music. So I can echo the admonishment of the anonymous poster above: don't dismiss a rock concert out of hand, and realize that if the relationship is solid, you never know where it may lead. I did end up marrying one of those housemates and he tolerates my playing, even if it isn't at the level of Bruch!

April 16, 2018 at 05:50 PM · 2nd date was in the Pavilion at Ravinia ( outdoor venue in Chicago). The concert was Roger Norrington conducting the London classical players in Beethoven 6 and 8. We were married 15 months later. 29 years after that concert we are still together. Can’t imagine a better date night.

April 16, 2018 at 06:40 PM · Paul, we seem to be reading Laurie's question differently. I see it as a general question of a concert being a good date night, not if (as in the question on the discussion forum) a concert is a good first date.

Ma femme and I knew each other a long time before we were romantically involved, and we did go to rock concerts and baseball games long before we went to a symphony together. She'd been to see Hahn and hear "Carmina Burana" and occasional things like that, but there was no guarantee that going to hear art music was going to be a regular thing as a couple, or that we'd end up being perennial subscribers to Seattle Shakespeare and stuff like that. So yes, we talked about sports. And books. A lot of talk about books.

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