Author Topic: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!  (Read 11499 times)

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mahlertitan

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2007, 02:50:07 PM »
And if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?   ;D

It does seem to be becoming the rule, rather than the exception.  I don't stand unless it's I think a truly exceptional performance.  The rest of the audience be damned!  >:D It doesn't bother me, except that they block my view of the artists.

bandwagon fallacies are hard to stop ;D

Offline Earthlight

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2007, 03:43:47 PM »
From what I've seen locally, an energetic and/or heartfelt performance with a few imperfections will get a standing O that many people on this board might think is undeserved, while a technically unimpeachable performance that has a walk-through feeling or otherwise doesn't "communicate" is apt not to. We here in Connecticut have been often described as "reserved," "quiet," "snotty," and/or "a bunch of bastards," and our crowd behavior probably isn't typical of anything. But I haven't suffered through very many instances of ludicrously undeserved accolades.

if you wish to stand and ovate, do it.  who gives a damn what anyone else does?

I'm down with that.

Offline Guido

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2007, 03:40:41 AM »
Not that I've been to that many concerts in London (but a fair few in the past few years), but I have only witnessed one standing ovation which was at an all Elliott Carter concert where he appeared in person afterwards on stage.
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Offline MishaK

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2007, 05:44:52 AM »
Not that I've been to that many concerts in London (but a fair few in the past few years), but I have only witnessed one standing ovation which was at an all Elliott Carter concert where he appeared in person afterwards on stage.

I've seen that at Carnegie as well. Though I do wonder whether the people are actually cheering his work or are merely reacting in amazement that he is still alive!

Choo Choo

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2007, 06:41:11 AM »
Not that I've been to that many concerts in London (but a fair few in the past few years), but I have only witnessed one standing ovation which was at an all Elliott Carter concert where he appeared in person afterwards on stage.

Yeah, London audiences tend to have more of a "heard-it-all-before" attitude.  A standing ovation takes more than a good band playing standard repertoire well.  That said, certain performers tend to be beloved of the audience - Pollini, for example, always gets a rapturous reception, and would get an ovation if he just played scales all night.

One ovation that sticks in the mind was for Maxim Shostakovich after conducting the LSO in DSCH #7.  The audience kept calling him back time after time - until finally he jumped on the podium, snatched up the score and brandished it in the air, facing the audience with head bowed - at which point the roof lifted off.

karlhenning

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2007, 06:45:04 AM »
One ovation that sticks in the mind was for Maxim Shostakovich after conducting the LSO in DSCH #7.

That must have been quite a performance!  The pair of recordings of his that I have heard are very good;  the orchestra though is the Prague Symphony, and they are good, but they are not quite the Czech Phil, nor quite the LSO.

DavidW

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2007, 09:57:31 AM »
Peer pressure is surely the name of the game most of the time!  Few people dare to be seen as "unmutual" and so some of the unwilling will wryly stand up and go along with the gag.

On your last comment: certainly if a standing ovation remained a rarity, I am positive that most musicians would indeed place that in the scales of judgment.  You can imagine a stereotypical temperamental soloist being dissatisfied in his/her performance, yet the audience was enraptured and stands up immediately in adulation.  Would that counterbalance the harsher personal judgment?  Or would the audience be seen as philistines who did not know any better?

Based on the fiasco a few years ago when Gatti blew up, I'm guessing performers will just view the audience as philistines for over the top applause, irregardless of quality. :-\

I wonder if the standing ovation is too common now, is there a new rarity for performers to look for?  Or now can they just not have an idea based on audience reaction how good their performance was?

Mozart

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2007, 10:01:14 AM »
The Wall Street Journal carried an article last week about the latest generation entering the workforce, the new 20-somethings who were - apparently, according to the article - über-praised as children, and now as employees need constant pampering and pats on the head.

Anyway, a letter to the editor mentioned this "praise-culture" leeching into concert halls.  As a regular at the Memphis Symphony, he said that every soloist gets a standing ovation and at least one curtain-call, even when "they don't deserve it."  The conclusion of course was obvious: this trend cheapens the standing ovation when it is really earned.

To quote the line from the cartoon The Incredibles: "When everyone is super, nobody is."

I have noticed this as well: I am not a regular concert-goer by any means, but standing ovations seem to have gotten out of hand throughout the years.  Some years ago I heard a soloist of some fame struggle with her fiddle rather dreadfully with the Kalamazoo Symphony: the struggle earned her a standing ovation!   Last month I was taken to a tepid concert by the Vienna Boys' Choir in California (only a portion of them: 16 total), but the audience rose for a standing ovation at the end!  (As a card-carrying curmudgeon I stayed in my seat in both cases!)   ;D

So have any of you noticed this trend?  Especially those of you in larger cities.  Does the Podunk Philharmonic get a standing ovation at every concert?

I never clap at concerts. Its annoying! The opera is worse they clap after every recitative.

DavidW

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2007, 10:15:21 AM »
The title of this thread made me think of Oprah: "everybody gets an ovation!" ;D

karlhenning

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2007, 10:15:50 AM »
. . . and the children, all above average.

Mozart

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2007, 10:16:44 AM »
And it makes me think of

 Oprah: "everybody who watches this show  gets an ovulation!"

George

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2007, 10:41:10 AM »
And it makes me think of
Oprah: "everybody who watches this show  gets an ovulation!"

6/10  :-\

Offline Expresso

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2007, 11:25:50 AM »
Standing oviations are like ***holes, everybody gets one  >:D

Offline Bunny

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2007, 04:57:56 PM »
Piers Maxim who conducted the La Monnaie production of Zauberflöte at the BAM. The guy doesn't seem to understand that singers and wind players occasionally need to breathe. Conducted everything straight through without ever letting anyone come up for a breath. Actually, "conducted" is the wrong term. His technique would be better characterized as "rowing imaginary boats" for I never saw his left arm move independently of the right save to turn the page. Ensemble coordination was a mess. I was not surprised to hear that in one of the earlier performances one scene had to be stopped and restarted since it had completely fallen apart. Really too bad. If the musical direction had matched Kentridge's staging in quality, it would have made my trip to NY worthwhile. Life is too short to put up with dilettantes like Maxim.

But that was only a few weeks ago!  I read Bernard Holland's review in the NY Times of that production -- he seems not to have shared your opinion.

I admired the conducting of Piers Maxim, whose swift tempos resisted even the sentimental pull of “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” or “Ach, Ich fühl’s.” Jeremy Ovenden (Tamino) and Sophie Karthäuser (Pamina) were a splendid pair of lovers. Hardly less good were Stephan Loges and Céline Scheen as Papageno and Papagena. Two commanding basses were at work: Kaiser N’Kosi as Sarastro and Zelotes Edmund Toliver as the Speaker. Mr. Kentridge showed his mistrust of Sarastro’s political pontifications by accompanying “In diesen heil’gen Hallen” with old footage of a white rhino shot to death at close range.

Unfortunately, I have been at concerts reviewed in the Times and often wondered if the critic was at the same concert as I.  I'll bet your impressions were accurate.  The review did not lead me to believe that I would have enjoyed the production -- closeups of a rhinoceros being shot to death aren't my idea of background for Mozart.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2007, 09:11:30 AM »
But that was only a few weeks ago!  I read Bernard Holland's review in the NY Times of that production -- he seems not to have shared your opinion.

Bernard Holland does not always know what he's talking about. There was a review in the Wall Street Journal that mentioned one scene completely coming apart and having to be repeated. I have literally sat through countless performances and rehearsals of this opera in my youth. My sister and I even staged toy productions of the whole opera when we were kids and sang all parts between the two of us with her taking the female parts and I the male parts. I can comfortably claim that I know it by heart and know when something isn't together.

Returning to Holland, this I find a revealing quote:

I admired the conducting of Piers Maxim, whose swift tempos resisted even the sentimental pull of “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” or “Ach, Ich fühl’s.”

What it really was, was Maxim not making any room for rubato or breathing. It was indeed unsentimental to the point of being entirely without feeling. There is a happy medium that needs to be struck between mushy heart-on-sleeve romanticism which is out of place in Mozart and mechanical runthroughs. Maxim produced the latter.

The review did not lead me to believe that I would have enjoyed the production -- closeups of a rhinoceros being shot to death aren't my idea of background for Mozart.

The production was actually visually very beautiful. What didn't quite work and what was exmplified by that scene was Kentridge's use of the moralism in the piece as a basis for staging it as an anti-colonial spoof. I will write a more extended review at some point.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2007, 10:09:51 AM »

Unfortunately, I have been at concerts reviewed in the Times and often wondered if the critic was at the same concert as I.  I'll bet your impressions were accurate. The review did not lead me to believe that I would have enjoyed the production -- closeups of a rhinoceros being shot to death aren't my idea of background for Mozart.

Don't worry, as I said earlier, I trust your impressions more than the critics'.   Although visually beautiful, with the music so botched I'm glad I didn't get tickets. 8)

If you haven't seen the review before or wish a copy, I'll be happy to send you a copy via PM.  I think there's some sort of copyright issue that prevents others from posting Times reviews on the web.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 10:11:42 AM by Bunny »

Heather Harrison

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2007, 05:20:53 PM »
I have noticed this too; the standing ovation is the rule in the U.S. (at least in places where I have been).  In a way, I am surprised at this.  In their daily lives, people tend to be rather unfriendly and rude (at least where I live and many of the places in the U.S. I have visited); it is funny that they suddenly become overly nice in the concert hall.  Given the general level of incivility in the culture, I might expect the opposite.

However, there are noticeable differences.  Even though just about every concert gets a standing ovation at the end, the level of enthusiasm varies considerably.  For example, an "average" Utah Symphony concert gets polite applause and a gradual standing ovation, with maybe two curtain calls.  But sometimes when a performance really resonates with the audience, such as the performance of Mahler's Seventh a few weeks ago, the crowd's enthusiasm is palpable; there are more shouts of "Bravo", and the crowd jumps to its feet immediately.  I also saw this after an especially moving and powerful performance (by a student) of the final scene from Suor Angelica at the gala concert of the University of Utah School of Music.  So one can tell the difference between the obligatory (and somewhat reluctant) standing ovation and the real thing.  It's obvious, and I am sure the musicians understand it well.

Heather

Offline Bunny

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2007, 06:24:38 PM »
I have noticed this too; the standing ovation is the rule in the U.S. (at least in places where I have been).  In a way, I am surprised at this.  In their daily lives, people tend to be rather unfriendly and rude (at least where I live and many of the places in the U.S. I have visited); it is funny that they suddenly become overly nice in the concert hall.  Given the general level of incivility in the culture, I might expect the opposite.

However, there are noticeable differences.  Even though just about every concert gets a standing ovation at the end, the level of enthusiasm varies considerably.  For example, an "average" Utah Symphony concert gets polite applause and a gradual standing ovation, with maybe two curtain calls.  But sometimes when a performance really resonates with the audience, such as the performance of Mahler's Seventh a few weeks ago, the crowd's enthusiasm is palpable; there are more shouts of "Bravo", and the crowd jumps to its feet immediately.  I also saw this after an especially moving and powerful performance (by a student) of the final scene from Suor Angelica at the gala concert of the University of Utah School of Music.  So one can tell the difference between the obligatory (and somewhat reluctant) standing ovation and the real thing.  It's obvious, and I am sure the musicians understand it well.

Heather

In everyday life, most of the people you meet are only pop music fans.  At a classical music concert you find classical musical fans, and we are a far better, more polite crowd. ;)

mahlertitan

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2007, 06:38:54 PM »
it's generally difficult to perform in front of an live audience, so why not show some encouragement?

Online Cato

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2007, 03:06:00 AM »
In everyday life, most of the people you meet are only pop music fans.  At a classical music concert you find classical musical fans, and we are a far better, more polite crowd. ;)

Amen!   0:)

I am surprised that Heather has found rudeness and impolite behavior as a general experience: you would think the Mormon state especially would be better behaved!  I have not noticed that in the cities along I-75 where I have been traveling this last year (Detroit to Atlanta), although solipsistic driving behavior - especially with Michigan license plates - does occur too often. 

Anyway, I do wonder if the standing ovation phenomenon is not a result of people being almost "too polite" !
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