While a National Symphony Orchestra concert on the weekend opened with Rossini’s Thieving Magpie, it was a rodent that stole the show. A baby mouse had audience members squealing and moving their coats and bags as it scurried around under seats in the concert hall at the Kennedy Centre in Washington.
“There were several gasps and squeals and lots of neck craning, and at least one man left, although it’s only speculation that the mouse figured in his decision,” The Washington Post reported. “Those in the front rows bolted as soon as the final notes were played.”
The concert, conducted by Yutaka Sado, was part of the National Symphony’s year-long Bernstein celebrations and featured – perhaps appropriately for those whom rodents make uneasy – the composer’s Second Symphony, titled The Age of Anxiety.
A spokesperson for the National Symphony Orchestra told The Washington Post that the Kennedy Center is an old building and is treated regularly for pests, but suggested that recent cold weather may have played a role in the mouse’s appearance at the concert.
The mouse isn’t the first animal to create a stir during a classical music concert. Last year a dog made headlines when it planted itself next to the concertmaster during a performance of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony in Turkey.