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Are Standing Ovations Out of Control?

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Ha, just saw this.

My answer: YES.

I find this ritual (and I feel it has become this in America and less actual appreciation of a performance) annoying when I'm at a show.

Of course, it must be said, that I'm not a clapping-type person anyway.

Edit: Grammar

Edited by Chashab

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Ha, just saw this.

My answer: YES.

I find this ritual (and I feel it has become this and less actuall appreciation of a performances) annoying when I'm at a show.

Of course, it must be said, that I'm not a clapping-type person anyway.

I forgot all about this thread. As a performing company, we love SOs. We don't always get them. I really hate what we call "Walking ovations" where people are leaving while they are clapping during the bows.

But we were REALLY freaked out when we toured Switzerland and the audience was going nuts, but would not stand up! One local technician said "Here, if they are standing, they are leaving." What we also found was that instead of an SO, they stopmed their feet. That took some getting used to, too.

Joe

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When's the last time you went to a music concert where either (1) there wasn't a standing ovation or (2) there wasn't an encore?

Hm. Well, I don't remember an SO at my last concert, and we sure as heck didn't play an encore.

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I rarely go to live concerts. So I can't speak much to this. But it has been my experience that it only happens at classical and/or symphonic performances, not at rock or folk. It seems to have become an obligatory ritual among the American intelligentsia, whether or not the collective audience has truly been moved.

I recall reading that during the very first performance of Handel's Messiah, the King was so moved by the Hallelujah Chorus that he jumped to his feet and applauded--and the rest of the audience was thus obliged to do so as well (if the King is standing, you have no business sitting). And then it became tradition --still honored to this day--for all audiences everywhere to ALWAYS give an SO for the Hallelujah Chorus.

::EDIT::

Logged back in to say: you music people already know about Handel's Messiah and the traditional SO for the Hallelujah Chorus.

Sorry for insulting your inteligences. ::blushing::

Edited by Plot Device

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Yeah, the standing O's are out of control. It seems to me they are not so much a reflection of the quality of performance as they are a reflection of the size of the crowd. (Which might account for some of the previous comments that A+Fers aren't plagued with this problem. Perhaps their crowds are not big enough.) Standing Ovations are an exercise in mob mentality and peer pressure. It is very difficult to stay sitting when the person next to you stands because it makes you feel like you are actually insulting the performer(s) by not standing, even though by simply clapping you are expressing commensurate appreciation.

As for encores, these are even more ridiculous. At a big enough concert, encores are so routine it just seems like a joke when the band walks off stage fully knowing, and knowing that the crowd knows, they will be walking back on in a minute or two. It seems especially ridiculous when a band saves their most popular song for the encore.

Actually, what bugs me more than undeserved standing O's and meaningless encores is raucous clapping after a quiet, tender song. It seems like such an unfortunate incongruity when, after an artist sings a profoundly quiet/sad song that should inspire reflection or tears or brooding, the crowd instead show their total lack of empathy by banging their hands together as loud as they can. Are people more caught up in the hype of minor idol worship than in the art of the song? Maybe the beatniks were on to something with their snapping. Silence might be an even better show of appreciation in some cases.

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I recall reading that during the very first performance of Handel's Messiah, the King was so moved by the Hallelujah Chorus that he jumped to his feet and applauded--and the rest of the audience was thus obliged to do so as well (if the King is standing, you have no business sitting). And then it became tradition --still honored to this day--for all audiences everywhere to ALWAYS give an SO for the Hallelujah Chorus.

The tradition is to stand up during the chorus, but any clapping should of course be reserved until the end of the oratorio. The last time I saw the whole Messiah performed live was at a suburban megachurch, and I'm sorry to say the audience unnecessarily lengthened the proceedings by clapping after EVERY SINGLE MOVEMENT. Argh!

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It's the same principle as uneducated audiences clapping in between movements at a classical performance. There's always that one ill-informed guy who claps a couple times, and then slowly sinks into his chair, as he gets hundreds of poisonous looks from the regulars. I've even been to classical performances where the entire audience would applaud between each movement. Albeit it was a free event open to the public, but it does make one wonder: what happened to etiquette in the arts? Wasn't that at some point in history common knowledge?

What we also found was that instead of an SO, they stopmed their feet. That took some getting used to, too.

Of course this depends on whether or not a SO is synonymous with an encore, but at a local coffee house where I sometimes perform, the locals will stomp specifically for an encore. I've never seen a SO there.

Edited by Joel C

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This is a problem that is most egregious with comedy. Back in the good old days, a comic was awarded with laughter, the louder the better. It appears now that audiences seem to run on the "should rule". If something is profound, or just outrageous, the audience responds with cheers, fists, and whatever. It's worse with "Christian comedians", or christian "comedians" it would seem, judging from Pelosi's daughter's doc on evangelicals. I was appalled at a guy, billed as a comedian, giving a stemwinder performance where he wasn't even trying to be funny. WOW, what a response.

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In my experience, Europeans--especially in music-saturated cities like Prague--are far more laid back about such things.

Well, I attended a performance of a Moliere play in Paris, and received icy glares from fellow theatregoers because I happened to laugh out loud at one point. Guess the French take their comedy seriously.

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