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John R. Pierce

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100 Essential Classical Recordings
I attended a very pleasant performance of Handelís oratorio Theodora by the Boston Baroque conducted by Martin Pearlman at Jordan Hall in Boston on the evening of Friday May 2, 2003.  Before the performance began, Pearlman announced that the countertenor David Walker had a sinus infection but had agreed to sing nonetheless.  At times Walker seemed to be singing carefully, and at times he left the stage during stretches when he had nothing to sing, but on the whole he had a very interesting and appealing voice.  Except for the tenor Glenn Siebert who was somewhat boring and not quite up to the demands of the music, especially in fast passages, the other soloists were very good.  Michael Dean, bass-baritone, was the most interesting singer as the baddie Valens who favored punishing the Christians who would not participate in the Romansí rites.  His enunciation was especially clear.  Both Sharon Baker as Theodora and Mary Phillips as Irene also had pleasant voices.  Sharon Baker also had very clear enunciation. 

I enjoyed the performance, but it could have been a little more dramatic.  The soloists sat behind the orchestra, in front of the chorus, and soloists had to walk through or around the orchestra to get to the front of the stage to sing.  There were three chairs in front of the orchestra where singers who had recently sung and were going to be singing again soon could park themselves temporarily.  Sometimes there were minor traffic jams with singers returning too slowly to their seats behind the orchestra, and other singers waiting for them to arrive before departing toward the front.  Sometimes a character was supposed to be singing to another character who was not near by.  A better seating arrangement for the soloists could have been arranged.  The performance did not flow, but had a pause after almost every aria.  I was very happy with the orchestra and chorus.