The Los Angeles Philharmonic was in the middle of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 on Friday when attendees at the Walt Disney Concert Hall heard a loud moan from the audience that was widely described as a woman having an orgasm ― though there is some debate about what people heard.
Music producer and composer Magnus Fiennes, the brother of actor Ralph Fiennes, witnessed the bizarre moment.
“Went to see [the LA Philharmonic] play [composer Thomas Adès] and Tchaikovsky 5 last night,” he tweeted Saturday. “A woman in the audience had loud and full body orgasm during the 5th’s second movement… Band politely carried on. Props to LAPhil (and Pytor Ilyich) for bringing it on.”
Another Twitter user who said he was in attendance claimed “this is not what happened” and that “the poor woman had a breakdown of some sort,” urging Fiennes to “have more respect.” Fiennes said he “ran all possible scenarios.”
“Was in close proximity and had no less than 8 other friends coincidentally attending ― all had reached a similar conclusion,” he added. “She remained for the rest of the show, Her demeanour was in evidence. My corroborated take is merely an observation. Respect maintained.”
The native Brit, who has worked with talents like Shakira, Tom Jones and Lenny Kravitz, wasn’t the only one to reach this conclusion. Molly Grant, who said she sat near the woman, echoed his sentiments while speaking to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
“Everyone kind of turned to see what was happening,” Grant told the newspaper. “I saw the girl after it happened, and I assume that she … had an orgasm because she was heavily breathing, and her partner was smiling and looking at her — like in an effort to not shame her. It was quite beautiful.”
While journalist Jocelyn Silver tweeted that her friends heard the “SCREAMING orgasm” and that it stopped “the whole orchestra” in its tracks, classical pianist Sharon Su tweeted that someone who works at the LA Philharmonic confirmed that “the orchestra did not stop playing.”
Some were unconvinced that it was an orgasm, however, and urged Fiennes to consider that the woman “was asleep and suddenly woke up from a nightmare” before letting out her moan. Fiennes accepted the theory as “plausible” — as did others.
“Pretty quickly, she sort of fell onto her partner’s shoulders, and then onto his lap,” an anonymous attendee told the LA Times. “And then her body went limp. Maybe like five seconds later, she kind of awoke, and that’s when she let out a scream.”
Whether mortified or ecstatic, the unnamed woman certainly seemed to have experienced a “little death.”