The crown jewel
The Majestic Theatre, Boston
Surely the crown jewel of the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival was the opera production of “Niobe, Regina di Tebe (Niobe, Queen of Thebes)” by Agostino Steffani (1654-1728). This four-hour Baroque opera was absolutely fantastic in every possible way — the music, EVERY SINGLE singer, the period orchestra, the costumes, the sets, the acting, the dancing! We both agreed that it was the best production of all the operas ever presented at the Festival, and so we saved the best for last. This was our 25th and last concert this week. You realize, though, that no one could possibly attend every single event — there were over 100 concerts — so attending 25 was just a drop in the bucket for all the music presented this week.
Interior of the Majestic Theatre
The biggest star (in my humble opinion) was Philippe Jaroussky, a fabulous countertenor like we’ve NEVER heard before. His bio read “His technique allows him the most audacious nuances and impressive pyrotechnics” and we heard that if castratos were still around, his voice would be comparable.
The opera was held at the Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, a jewel in itself. The only somewhat unfortunate thing was that we were sitting in the 2nd row downstairs and got very stiff necks looking way up at the supertitles.
A review of the opera appeared in the New York Times, which you can read here. You can also see a review in the Boston Globe here.
The cast of "Niobe" takes its bows.