In the meantime, some advice when attending concerts, plays, and operas etc. at the National Arts Centre: standing ovations are for special occasions, not every night. A standing ovation is appropriate when an artist has exceeded all expectations, when a performance is extraordinary, or when you have a very, very special guest. Or perhaps for the wonderful evening (I hope to be there) when the carpet on the NAC staircase stops smelling permanently of mould.
Witness the magnificent a capella encore ("Were you there when they crucified my Lord") given by the American soprano Kathleen Battle at her NAC performance this year. That, my friends, was well worth a standing ovation. In my dozen or so trips to the NAC in the past four years, that is the only performance I have truly felt was worth a standing ovation (but then, I missed the Kirov's performance of Swan Lake; I'll hazard a guess that that was probably worth a standing ovation, also).
If you give a standing ovation at every performance, you risk the following, in my opinion:
- Devaluing an excellent performance
- Forcing the tired musicians back on the stage for a third encore (oh yes, it's happened. And it makes us seem greedy and cheap!)
- Looking like hicks
P.S. It's kind of not your fault. Standing ovations in general seem to be devalued these days, from the political sphere down to the professional conference setting.