Boston Baroque puts on a good Messiah: historically informed ensemble and toboggan-on-ice tempos. The soloists this year were a bit hit-and-not-such-a-hit. From the fifth row of the balcony in Jordan Hall, the soloists were hard to hear, especially later in the concert, drowned out by the violins. Too bad. The acoustics in Jordan Hall are great, and typically there is not a bad seat in the house. But, the sound balance was not ideal this time.
A couple of observations about Boston Baroque. Almost the entire orchestra is female. Seems odd. The Pearlman Harem. Plus, Pearlman seems to favor using young singers for soloists, perhaps because Baroque is associated with Boston University. I have no problem with lack of age, but often the voices do not seem very mature – a bit thin and light. Or perhaps that is the sound he prefers – if so, I don’t agree. Especially when I have a less than ideal seat.
I don’t go to a Messiah every year, and I might try one of those giant-wall-of-sound performances like the Handel and Haydn Society does next time – or just crank up the sound on my sound system at home. My bottom is not happy with the seats in Jordan Hall for such a long concert – especially when you get the Full Monty Easter and Christmas version of the Messiah the way Boston Baroque does it. We’ll see.