Re: Standing O a little too standard (Comment, Sept. 30)
I share your view of standing ovations for unexceptional performances and fully understand that artists feel the same way. In a strange way it diminishes the performance.
Unfortunately standing Os are commonplace at school concerts and shows, so we teach the habit at an early age. Simple applause would be ample and appropriate reward for effort and participation even for our nearest and dearest. It is highly unlikely that young performers can make the spine tingle or cause the neck hairs to bristle.
We toss the word excellence about so freely these days that it has become mundane, even common. Surely excellence should be better than very good and virtually unobtainable. On the very rare occasions when it occurs, it is right that we all stand and clap and cheer.
Like you, I have attended concerts, plays and shows overseas –- mainly in London’s West End and around the U.K. Even though the performers, whether ballet, music or theatre, were acknowledged to be among, if not the best in the world, I rarely experienced a standing ovation. Long and sustained applause, yes; standing O, no.
Ovations should be for the truly exceptional, not the mundane. I hope your article goes some way towards curbing this silly and annoying habit.