V.com weekend vote: How late should a concert last?

April 20, 2018, 11:15 AM · When you go to a concert, how late would you like it to last?

clock at night

Some of us are night owls who are happy to be up well into the night, and even happier if we can be at an event quite late. In fact, some cities, such as Berlin, actually schedule late-night classical concerts. But sometimes, when it comes to a symphony concert or recital, "less is more." A well-planned and well-performed that is less than two hours can be satisfying without being exhausting. At the same time, we do want enough of a concert to feel that our time and money have been well-spent! And if a night-time concert is simply past your bed time, you might be the kind of person who prefers an afternoon show.

In your view, when is the best time for a concert, and how late would you like to be out at the symphony or another kind of classical concert? Please answer the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments.


April 20, 2018 at 07:23 PM · With the presence of mulitiple devices in our high energy society, I dont believe people can focus on a concert of classical music for more than 2 hours max. It is simply the sign of our times!

April 20, 2018 at 08:21 PM · People who for some reason can't take all of it can always leave early. But very late concerts should not be keeping the "best" bit to the end, for that reason.

April 20, 2018 at 08:58 PM · I think that concerts should be available at a variety of times, to accommodate both morning people, and those who work graveyard shifts.

April 20, 2018 at 09:29 PM · There is a trend in my area to begin concerts earlier, in other words, 7:30 or sometimes even 7:00PM. I know this puts a burden on people who work or commute, but I certainly enjoy the earlier starting time (and, correspondingly earlier ending time)!

April 20, 2018 at 09:33 PM · I'm an early riser, around 0400 every day since I started to work and still there in retirement. Late nights don't work for me. I did manage to play in a community orchestra that held early evening rehearsals largely because we had adults and children so they had to end early. Our concerts were on Sunday afternoons.

As a concert goer, it is always afternoons - never evenings.

I have to wonder how the professionals manage their lives with late performances, the obligatory post concert meet-and-greet with the big donors, their own family life, their own coaching sessions, their teaching schedules, performance and travel schedules,... Do you live in perpetual state of jet-lag?

April 20, 2018 at 10:11 PM · I very much prefer late night concerts, but rarely attend them. 11 is my ideal concert end-time since I can still go sit down at a coffee shop for espresso and cheesecake afterwards.

April 20, 2018 at 10:21 PM · My big problem is when concerts start earlier and earlier. I teach privately, and often past 7 or even 8. If a concert starts at 7:30, there's no way I can make it--and if I'm playing, it's even worse.

April 20, 2018 at 11:52 PM · I'm really a morning person. When the light of day starts to fade, I prefer to be home and wind down. In my student days, I was more into evening performances but didn't go often. I prefer afternoon -- although current demands on my time keep me away. Thanks to modern technology -- Internet, YouTube, radio -- I can keep up, to some extent, with who's doing what on the concert scene.

What can really involve some long evenings -- typically far longer than symphony concerts -- is opera. Case in point: Wagner's Ring tetralogy. I saw installments 2, 3, 4. They started at 7:30, 7:00, and 6:30 PM, respectively, each musical drama being longer than the one preceding it.

Fortunately, these weren't on consecutive evenings. Each one, with two intermissions, meant 4+ plus hours in theater. Side note: I don't recommend Siegfried for the tired business traveler. The factors that kept me engaged -- and wide awake at a late hour: 1) I was into opera. 2) I'd already studied these works, knew what they sounded like, and knew, although I don't speak German, what the characters were saying. 3) You can't stop these shows for applause -- each act is a continuous tissue of musical drama till the curtain comes down at the end.

For this reason, I actually found 4 hours of Mozart in theater, with frequent stops for applause, more tiring than 4 hours of Wagner.

April 20, 2018 at 11:55 PM · As a long time orchestral player my considered view is that concerts should finish in good time so that the musicians can get to the pub and enjoy a drink or two before it closes.

April 21, 2018 at 01:45 AM · I like afternoon concerts. Partly, they fit into my schedule better and partly I'm more attentive. After an afternoon concert then I can have dinner, relax, and think about what I've heard. And if truly inspired, I can blog about it on violinist.com! I also like the fact that my kids are of the right age to appreciate concerts, and afternoons certainly work better for them.

April 21, 2018 at 02:56 AM · Never been to concerts lasting past 10 pm. Concerts should not go past 10 pm to accomodate a wide variety of people. Afternoon concerts are great. No real personal preference.

April 21, 2018 at 04:50 AM · I prefer later... ideally, I'd prefer for concerts to start no earlier than 8 pm and preferably 8:30 pm or so. I'd like them to be done by 11 pm so I have time for a drink or a late night bite afterward. It it wasn't for restaurants and bars closing, my preferred start time would be around 11 pm.

I don't mind attending afternoon concerts, but it's not ideal... and I hate playing any time before 8 pm, because I feel I'm most alert between 9 pm and 1 am.

But then, if I didn't have to work during the day, my sleep cycle would gravitate toward being almost completely nocturnal and sleeping 7 am to 3 pm.

April 21, 2018 at 02:39 PM · No later than 10pm for me even though I am a night owl. I think it's also harder for the musicians to regularly perform past 10pm. They usually need time to unwind after each performance. They might have another concert ir rehearsal next day so I like to think our musicians can get enough rest between gigs, which is often not the case.

April 21, 2018 at 02:42 PM · I always leave the wigmore hall at 9:30pm, then 10pm train from waterloo to guildford and 10:45 last bus, if they have not finished by 9:30 I don't care it is too far to walk....

April 21, 2018 at 03:48 PM · The reply here will depend on the cultural norms of your Country. Most of North America seems to die after dark. In much of N. America, outside of the great Metropoli, when you leave a Concert at 10pm often the streets are empty and cold, the restaurants are closing and only the late night bars and the pulsating night clubs are open. You scurry home, avoiding eye contact with the few people you may pass in the street.

In contrast in most of Southern Europe the cities wake up at about 8pm, and are full of children and families enjoying the night. Leaving a concert at 11pm you are likely to find the streets still filled with families and the ice cream parlours, cafes and restaurants filled with people just beginning their evening meals.

So for me. 10pm for N. America and N. Europe. 11pm S.Europe

April 21, 2018 at 10:32 PM · Ideally, I would stay forever.

April 22, 2018 at 02:42 AM · For me it shouldn't last much ore than 2 hours: that determines more for me than the end time... Atention span and "sit-time" limit my pleasure after 120 minutes.

I have become a lover of dawn light, so playing later concerts has grown more challenging--welcome challenge, but still...

April 22, 2018 at 06:11 PM · Shouldn't that be "until how late does it last" instead of "how late does it last"? English is not my native language.

April 22, 2018 at 11:14 PM · It’s also seems heavily dependent on genre. Some rock concerts don’t even start until 10pm, and then the headliner will go on at 11:00, or 11:30. The choice is ultimately arbitrary.

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