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2 November, 2017

What’s a standing ovation? 

The show is over, the cast is taking a bow, and all around you the audience have leapt to their feet and are cheering.  What’s happening is called a standing ovation, a form of applause where audiences stand to clap, hoot and holler their appreciation of a performance.

Considered the greatest compliment in the performing arts, standing ovations first became popular in the 17th century, when opera fans began standing for exceptional performances. Now a widespread phenomenon, standing ovations take place at classical music concerts, the ballet and sports games and have evolved to include appreciative fans flicking cigarette lighters at rock concerts to rhythmic clapping of hands and stomping of feet in stadiums.

In recent years theatre-goers have complained that standing ovations have become overused and meaningless. But whatever your preference for showing your enjoyment after a show, most performers would agree a standing ovation feels pretty good!


Spanish tenor Placido Domingo holds the record for the world’s longest standing ovation with 101 curtain calls lasting more than 80 minutes after a performance of Otello, in Vienna in 1991.


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