Down, people, down: Too many standing ovations


Maybe my standards are too high.

Lately it seems audiences at shows I attend are quick with the standing ovation. Nothing wrong with a public display of affection, but the show tonight had a standing O after the first movement of a concerto. Heck, you’re not even supposed to applaud at that point.

Let’s save the standing ovation for the end, when we want to …

  • recognize a truly excellent performance, from beginning to end
  • show our love to the performers
  • and maybe entice them for an encore.

Not everything is excellent, the best ever, the supreme maximum level of human achievement. Good merits applause. Great merits loud applause and a “bravo.” Only the truly exceptional merits my butt leaving the seat. The rest is irrational exuberance.

standing ovation

Photo by pokpok / CC BY-SA 2.0


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