- a performance of a play, opera, ballet, or the like, given at the request of a sovereign or head of state.
Origin of command performance
- a performance of a play, opera, etc, at the request of a ruler or of royalty
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.