Student or Learner
"He put up a scintillating performance."
What would be a synonym for "put up"? I'd say "deliver" or "turn in," but those meanings aren't listed in the dictionary for "put up." "Engage in" or "carry on" are, though. Is that what "put up" really means in the above sentence?
This is where I first saw "put up" in connection with "performance":
"With the series on the line, the Lakers need Kobe Bryant to put up a Jordanesque performance."
That sentence was written on nba.com
put on = organize or present a play, exhibition or event
So you could say 'put on a performance' in certain cases where the performance means the actual event ('They put on a great [performance = show]'). I wouldn't say the actor 'put on a great performance'. I might say the actor 'put in a great performance', where:
put in = devote time or effort to (something)
'They put on a play in which the lead actor put in a great performance.'
I think in 'Kobe Bryant putting up a Jordanesque performance', the meaning is similar to 'put in' above. In fact, given the definition:
put up = offer or show (a particular degree of resistance, effort or skill) in a fight or competitive situation, eg 'he put up a brave fight'.
I'd sooner say 'putting in' in this example, as I would in the case of 'he put up a scintillating performance' although the difference in meaning is slight.
Going back to 'put on' - as regards people, I would understand 'put on a performance' as relating to another meaning of 'put on'
put on = assume a particular expression, accent, etc; behave deceptively
'My son might put on a performance if I don't allow him sweets on a Saturday.'
And to combine 'put in' and 'put on':
'Didier Drogba has put in some great performances for Chelsea this season. There's no doubt he's a great player, although sometimes his displays are tainted by charges of gamesmanship, particularly when he's tackled in the penalty area - he has regularly been accused of diving or putting on a performance to try and get a penalty.'