Riots in the aisles, chaos in the cheap seats

“Composers of [the early Nineteenth century] seldom saw their work published, royalties were rare, and copyright laws were nonexistent. Various middlemen prevented composers from knowing what their real box-office receipts were. What money they did earn had to be divided with hack librettists. Most impresarios viewed composers and librettists as quickly replaceable commodities—they were far more concerned with the digestion of the prima donna and the mood of the tenor than the quality of the opera. Audiences were usually unruly if not outrageous. Talking, eating, smoking, and screaming over high notes were all good sport. A night at the opera could be pandemonium.” – David Dubal, The Essential Canon of Classical Music

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