Besides the comic antics of composers (of which there are many), what I was most struck with in Nilson's article was his commentary on how we--as modern audiences--expect our classical music to be very serious affairs. I often wish that classical concerts weren't so deadly serious. In fact, a bit of light-heartedness would go a long way towards winning over new listeners.
I love that in Haydn's time audiences would show their enthusiasm between movements of a composition by clapping and cheering, sometimes even asking for the movement to be repeated. I wish we had that much liberty in today's concerts. I like little bits of humor and jokes to show up in my music--I wouldn't mind it if the orchestra wore striped socks one day or if the conductor told a joke between pieces. (Anyone who's been to any of my concerts will know that I'm fond of this). Victor Borge was one of the earliest classical musicians that I could identify by name and sight, and it's arguable that he stuck in my memory as a small boy not because he was a fantastic pianist (which he was) but because he was so charming and funny.
Consider this an addendum to my previous post on etiquette, because I don't think that any of these thoughts change my attitude towards appropriate decorum and demonstrations of respect and appreciation from the audience. One can dress nicely for a concert and still have a hearty and healthy laugh. In fact, as I just finished telling someone else in a completely different context, I think we all need more laughter in our lives.