The sound is alive

Roy Haynes may be wearing shades, but it's tough to ignore that the dude is totally looking at us.

MARCH

Agrippina
March 11 through 20
Citi Center:?Shubert Theatre
265 Tremont St., Boston
$34-$195, 866-348-9738
www.blo.org
You know how legend has it that Nero played the fiddle as Rome burned? Makes you wonder how anybody could raise a nut like this. Enter Handel, who did this opera about Nero’s mom.

KODO Drummers
March 13
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$42-55, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org
“Kodo” is the Japanese word for heartbeat, an appropriate name for this style of drumming which seeks to root us in our deepest, most primary feeling — the heartbeat, the signal that we’re even alive at all. The beats these guys pump out are simultaneously entrancing and invigorating.

Beethoven’s Fifth
March 18 through 20
Symphony Hall
301 Mass.Ave., Boston
$18-75, 617-266-3605
www.handelandhaydn.org
This is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works, containing in its first movement the most recognizable riff in classical music: “Da da da daaaaa… da da da daaaaa…” OK, it might not translate well into writing, but you totally know the tune.

Roy Haynes
March 18 and 19
Scullers Jazz Club
400 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston
$35, 617-562-4111
www.scullersjazz.com
Veteran jazz drummer Roy Haynes needs no boost from us, so we’ll share a story: After one show, after not talking to the audience the entire time, all he said was “Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace. Good night.” What else is there to say anyway? 

Igudesman and Joo: A Little Nightmare Music
March 26
Berklee Performance Center
136 Mass. Ave., Boston
$37-67, 800-745-3000
www.berkleepc.com
This show will set straight anyone who thinks classical musicians have no sense of humor. These guys, virtuosos on violin and piano respectively, are also comedians — and will present an evening of the lighter side of classical music, full of visual gags and sketches that are so silly they’re brilliant. Hey, Mozart was a goofball, right?

APRIL

The Shelly Neill Group
April 1
Cambridge Multicultural
Arts Center
41 Second St., Cambridge
$15-20, 617-577-1400
www.cmacusa.org
As if aiming to be the Stevie Nicks of jazz, Shelly Neill has created a mystical persona best summed up by her album title: “Irish Eyes Gypsy Soul.” It works because jazz is already mystical — in its purest form, it’s from the heart, no thought, just notes trying to document the indescribable.

Leif Ove Andsnes
April 1
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$45-65, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org
This Norwegian pianist is as concerned with the spiritual dimension of music as the technical — the idea that one must not just play the notes but, in a deeper, more intuitive way, make them live. He spent six months as a hermit. What happened during those months is known to him and his piano alone, and the piano’s not talking.

Harry Connick, Jr.
April 26 through 30
Colonial Theatre
106 Boylston St., Boston
$70-163, 800-982-2787
www.broadwayacrossamerica.com
Harry Connick Jr. is one of America’s highest-profile wedding singers, though in recent years he’s had his turf threatened by a young Canadian interloper named Michael Bublé. The only way to solve this issue is to have a wedding singer competition. Which would of course take the form of a drinking contest. Followed by a boxing match.

Mozart’s Requiem
April 29 through May 1
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$25-87, 617-266-3605
www.handelandhaydn.org
This unfinished piece has the creepy significance of being Mozart’s last. Standing in contrast to Mozart’s usual precocious, nonstop excitement, it’s a dark, complicated and mysterious piece, as a brilliant bulb begins to flicker.

MAY

Tracing the Roots of Portuguese Song
May 5
Emmanuel Church
15 Newbury St., Boston
Free, 617-536-8740
www.bostonportuguesefestival.org
Tenor Zachary Wilder, Mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo and guitarist Daniel Acsadi perform Portuguese music. Fun fact: One of Portugal’s native song traditions is known as fado, consisting, like the American blues, of songs informed by the poverty of the lower classes, created for airing life’s inevitable suffering.

Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes
May 6 and 7
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$29-73, 617-484-9200
www.bostonbaroque.org
This French baroque opera, performed with period instruments, tells four love stories, each from a different culture totally alien to the average 17th Century European. Rameau includes Ottoman Turkey, Persia, Inca Peru and Native North America.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
May 6
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$42-55, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org
Sweet Honey in the Rock performs the full gamut of African American styles — blues, gospel, reggae and hip-hop all are present and accounted for. Promoters describe their repertoire and performance as “songs of hope, justice, love and peace with a pure, smooth, fabulous sound.” Sounds like a good antidote to that Mozart Requiem.

Deborah Henson-Conant Mother’s Day Weekend Concert
May 7
Regent Theatre
7 Medford St., Arlington
$22, 781-646-4849
www.regenttheatre.com
Henson-Conant is an electric harpist, playing this instrument like a rock star — but according to the synopsis, the talents of this “composer, performer, singer, songwriter, author, cartoonist, entertainer, [and] comedian” hardly end there. What does this have to do with Mother’s Day? Well, this woman is a human dynamo, just like any endlessly busy mother.

The Big Bonanza
May 13 and 14
Hope Central Church
85-87 Seaverns Ave.,
Jamaica Plain, $10
www.bostonmetroopera.com
An opera about Dan DeQuille, a 19th-century American author known for his use of wit interspersed with journalism, and most famous for his writings on the Comstock Lode. He was in Nevada at the same time that Mark Twain, whom he knew, and he shared much of that great writer’s sense of humor. 



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