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Bittersweet symphony as fight erupts at concert

The audience at a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra had an unprogrammed addition to their night’s entertainment — a fight between two concert-goers in a private box.

Maestro Riccardo Muti was nearly through the second movement of Brahms Symphony Number Two at the normally staid venue when the trouble started.

Concert-goers at Orchestra Hall were all the more stunned because the two men were fighting in one of the boxes where the well-to-do normally sit in decorous self-restraint.

The ruck began when a man in his 30s started punching a 67-year-old man in one of the boxes.

“We heard a rather loud thump,” said Steve Robinson, general manager of Chicago’s classical and folk music station 98.7 WFMT.

The older man had a cut on his forehead; the other left before police arrived.

All the while, the concert went on. Conductor Muti gave the two men a sharp, irritated look before continuing on with the third movement.

“Mind you, he never stopped conducting,” Mr Robinson said. “He very gracefully, without missing a beat — literally — he brought (the second movement) to a very quiet and subdued close, while still looking over his shoulder.”


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