A Philharmonic Farce

Their seats were in the first row — the $10 section. Ethel's diamonds glittered brilliantly, in stark contrast with the chinchilla stole which guarded her shoulders. Estelle as well cut a beautiful figure with her emeralds and the mink (with the N-M label still intact).

"There she is," remarked Ethel to her companion. "That's Mabel, all right, right in the $8.50 section. Well, I never!" she added in disgust, as a hush set over the audience, making the word "never" embarrassingly prominent. "Y'know," said Ethel, now whispering, "I know almost everyone in this band!" As if to prove her statement, she winked at a young violinist on the fourth stand. When he acknowledged her wink with a smile, Ethel simply bubbled with pride. Estelle was impressed, and felt obliged to even the score. "Look here," she said, indicating a name in the "Patrons — Over $25" section of the printed program. "You only have to give twenty-five to get in this section, but I," she said in a gradual crescendo, "gave thirty."

The concertmaster, who was just then coming on stage, cast a tentative glance in the direction of the noise. Estelle smiled. "That was me he looked at," she said. "He is such a cutie."

The orchestra fell silent, and the slight buzz in the audience subsided. "The Marriage of Figaro*," said Ethel in the softest whisper she could (which was nevertheless audible to the first couple of rows).
* pronounce fī ' gə rō

The piece began with a single note, apparently a clarinet or something. The other musicians listened intently to the note. Some repeated it, others played other notes. The hall became full of various notes in what seemed to be incredibly complex rhythms. After some twenty seconds, the music ceased.

Ethel and Estelle applauded in true admiration, oblivious to the fact that no one else in the hall was doing so. "They play so divinely," said Estelle. Now the ladies prepared to hear "Symphony #4" by Anton Bruckner.

Meanwhile, ninety-three musicians on stage prepared to play "The Marriage of Figaro" overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.