command performance

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command performance

1. A performance, such as a play, ballet, opera, etc., that is presented at the behest of royalty or a head of government. The theater troupe was always at the ready to give a command performance, should the queen so desire it.
2. By extension, any task or activity (typically outside of normal work duties) that one undertakes or performs at the request of someone in a position of authority. When I was an intern, I always had to give command performances for visiting businessmen, such as taking them out to dinner or arranging entertainment for them during their stay.
3. Any obligatory occasion or situation that one is required or expected to attend, as at the behest of an employer or person of authority. These fundraising dinners, though technically "optional," are really command performances for the members of staff.
See also: command
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

command performance

An occasion that one is obliged to attend, as in My boss's invitations to dinner are always a command performance. This term originally (late 1800s) denoted a theatrical or musical performance presented at the behest of a sovereign or head of state. By the 1930s it was also used figuratively for any more or less obligatory occasion or performance.
See also: command
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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