Huun Huur Tu

Throat singers from Tuva, who have been touring for several decades now, performed at the Rockwell to a sold-out crowd (produced by World Music/Crash Arts, which added a second concert on the 16th). Quite amazing to watch singers produce these amazing sounds. More than most concerts, I found myself most interested in watching the musicians.

The Rockwell is a small basement venue in Davis Square with a small stage in an alcove. There are definitely seats with bad sight-lines. It was my third new-to-me venue in three concerts this week.


Advertised as “an evening with Tyminski,” I didn’t know quite what to expect.  Tyminski is fronted by Dan Tyminski, famous for bluegrass band Alison Kraus and Union Station and for the hit “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Tyminski performed almost entirely music from his new solo album, Southern Gothic, which was pretty straightforward country rock. They did do “Man of Constant Sorrow” as their penultimate number.

City Winery is a new venue in Boston (open for two months, a server said), and it’s a nice space. The tables in the back are high-tops, so even there the view would be fine.

Slocan Ramblers and the Last Revel

Fun, high-energy concert in the Burren Back Room in Davis Square. Seats were at a table right at the stage. It’s fun to be five-six feet away from a musician. It was my first time there, and now I know there aren’t any really bad seats. It was nice to be at a table and have dinner and drinks, though.

Mozart + Beethoven

Handel & Haydn Society.

  • Overture to L’amant anonyme by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
  • Symphony No. 40 in G Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Concerto in C Major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, by Ludwig van Beethoven

No conductor. Aisslinn Nosky directed.

I’ve never heard of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges before, but he certainly led an interesting life. It’s the overture to an opera, and I quite enjoyed it.

The Mozart I heard just over a week ago, paired with the Requiem, by Boston Baroque. I enjoyed this performance, but the difference between the first row of Jordan Hall and nearly the back row (on the orchestra floor) of Symphony Hall is marked.

I liked the tune introduced in the first movement of the Beethoven, and the interplay between the soloists was fun, but on the whole I didn’t enjoy this piece.

L’assedio di Calais

The Siege of Calais, by Gaetano Donizetti, performed by Odyssey Opera.

The second in their season of works focused on the Hundred Years’ War. L’assedio di Calais was written in 1836, but this was its Boston premiere. Parts of it were very fine (the male choral parts, notably), but on the whole it had very uneven mood. The story is of the six burghers of Calais, who agree to sacrifice themselves to lift the siege of Calais by King Edward III. Yet the music kept turning to light themes, including a bit of incidental music between the second act (which ends with the burghers placing nooses around their necks and going off to submit to the English) and the third act that sounded like a bit of John Philip Sousa. (My friend Chris referred to it as “Italian martial music.”)

I did not enjoy the mezzo who sang Aurelio, the mayor’s son, although the rest of the audience seemed to like her and she received good reviews. I disliked her (single) facial grimace, and felt the romantic dynamics would have been better served by a male alto. (The soprano who sings Aurelio’s wife and the baritone who sings his father the mayor spend a great deal of time in the first act singing duets; the contrast with the pants role didn’t sit well with me.) Interestingly, the program notes say Donizetti hoped to have a male alto sing the role but had to hire a female mezzo soprano for the premiere.

Die Zauberflöte

Metropolitan Opera production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte designed by Julie Taymor. Really wanted to see Taymor’s puppets, etc., and couldn’t swing a trip to New York, so I saw a High Def “broadcast” (it was a recording, but originally was a live broadcast) at a local theater. One highlight was the interval interview with Kathryn Lewek, who sang the Queen of the Night.