On the Town: Rock that [May] pole

May 2, 2013

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Ah, it's that time again. Exactly six months after Halloween, it's finally Walpurgisnacht. This festive spring holiday is traditionally celebrated with fire dancing and pole dancing—that is, prancing around giant bonfires and wrapping colorful ribbons around a maypole. This celebration is a common theme throughout the arts, and what better way to ring in spring than by taking Walpurgisnacht #OnTheTown?!


Choreographer Leonid Lavrovsky conceived a ballet called Walpurgisnacht for the Bolshoi Theatre. Speaking of ballet, our own resident dancers, the Boston Ballet, open one of their final programs of the season this weekend with Chroma, pairing two classic Balanchine ballets with a 2006 piece by Wayne McGregor set to the music of The White Stripes. I am personally very much looking forward to the anachronous pairing and how the choreographers' styles work with on another.

Chroma: At the Boston Opera House; 539 Washington Street, Boston; bostonballet.org. Through May 12. @bostonballet


Spanish band Fangoria mentions Walpurgisnacht in the title of a song on their 2009 album Absolutamente. Continuing with the theme of Spanish music, fabulous Spanish (and Middle Eastern and French and American jazz inspired) French group Paris Combo takes the Berklee Performance Center by storm this Friday evening. I've been a fan of these guys for years, and their sexy take on the chanson tradition is certainly one that is certain to delight!

Paris Combo: Presented by World Music/CRASHarts at the Berklee Performance Center; 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston; worldmusic.org. May 3 Only. @CRASHarts


Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn composed a dramatic oratorio, Die erste Walpurgisnacht, set on this very night. On the topic of oratorios, Handel and Haydn Society will close their season this weekend with a presentation of Handel's oratorio setting of the Biblical story of Jephtha, which is fresh off a week-long tour of the West Coast. Reprising their performances this weekend at Symphony Hall is the entire tour cast, which features some amazing soloists (including my British alto dream crush, the incredible fierce queen Catherine Wyn-Rogers) under the more-than-capable direction of Harry Christophers.

Handel Jephtha: Conducted by Harry Christophers. At Symphony Hall; 301 Massachusetts Aveune, Boston; handelandhaydn.org. Through May 5. @handelandhaydn