The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on June 18, 2011 · G4
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · G4

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 18, 2011
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arts 'Thrones' is a fantasy that has been a real surprise By Matthew Gilbert GLOBE STAFF A s "Game of Thrones" finishes its first season, I've learned a lesson .a lesson I've learned too many times already. There's no use in saying you dislike an entire genre, such as mysteries, or cop dramas, or laugh-track sitcoms. Because inevitably, a "Game of Thrones" comes along and pokes holes in your easy generalization. Like many other HBO viewers, I've become addicted to this fantasy series, despite my years of claiming to be a fantasy-phobe. "Game of Thrones," which wraps Sunday at 9 p.m., is a unique TV show that even with the lurking presence of the horrifying White Walkers feels more real than many "realistic" stories on TV. It has the well-drawn characters you find on top-notch dramas, it has the ugly power struggles and shifts of great political series such as "Rome," and it has the spectacle and costuming of lush historical pieces. It's fantasy brought down to earth. Based on the novels of George R.R. Martin, "Game of Thrones" proved its own power to shock last week, with the public beheading of Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, who has been played with world-weary grace by Sean Bean. A satirical, irreverent tale from By David Weininger GLOBE CORRESPONDENT Anyone who thinks that early music concerts are an occasion for sober, reverent visits to the distant past would have been shocked, in the best way, by the Boston Camerata's superb performance of "Le Roman de Fau-vel" on Wednesday. The program, presented by the Boston Early Music Festival at Jordan Hall, was irreverent, cynical, scatological, and vastly entertaining. "Le Roman de Fauvel" is a satirical tale of the corrupting influence of power in French society, written by a government bureaucrat early in the 14th century. Fauvel is a horse who has managed to earn the devotion of both political and reli TELEVISION REVIEW GAME OF THRONES Starring: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Jason Momoa, Michelle Fairley, lain Glen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kit Harington, Richard Madden On HBO Time: Sunday night, 9-10 The sequence wasn't just a tense moment, as his daughter Arya (Maisie Williams) watched from the crowd; it was a head-on collision of one of the show's best themes honor vs. love. Ned was a man of honor, but he chose to betray himself to protect his family. With each word nauseating him, he expressed support for Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), the boy-king with the pointy chin and the explosive temper. Alas, Ned's submission was for naught, as the nihilistic Joffrey killed him anyway to prove his own will. A fantasy series, yes, but not a fantasy plot twist. Ned's death came as a surprise partly because Bean appeared to be the lead of the series. But it was a smart move, and not just because it sends viewers a signal that anything can happen on this drama. It was smart because his death, along with that of King Robert, gious leaders. He is a symbol of moral rot, and his story is told in a manuscript that fuses poetry, illustration, and music into an early version of multimedia entertainment. Former Camerata music director Joel Cohen created the Camerata's version of the Fauvel story 20 years ago, adapting the poetic language for a contemporary audience. He served as narrator, while manuscript illuminations were projected over the stage. The tone of the piece emerged at the beginning, when his five Camerata colleagues walked on stage intoning a solemn chant on a text whose translation reads: "I would rather be a swineherd than rub down Fauvel." Those clashes between high Peter Dinklage stars as Tyrion Lannister the witty, wily "half man" in HBO's "Game of Thrones." leaves both the show and the kingdom without its grounding figures, its anchors. Now, the next generation will fight to take over, and the show will move forward into the excitement of uncertainty. Anything can happen at this point, as the game belongs to the likes of Joffrey, the emerging Robb Stark, the loyal MUSIC REVIEW THE BOSTON CAMERATA "Le Roman de Fauvel" Presented by Boston Early Music Festival At Jordan Hall, Wednesday art and vernacular language, between edgy social critique and appeals to divinity run all through "Le Roman de Fauvel." There is plenty of farce and references to bodily functions, but the political commentary is almost painfully earnest. The music runs a stylistic gamut from popular ballads and a drinking song to courtly numbers and starkly beautiful motets in what was then the new art of polyphony. Jon Snow, the fighting Arya Stark, and the driven Daenerys Targaryen. Next season, open season. I'd be a lot less willing to justify the Ned plot turn if it had been Tyrion Lannister's head underneath that sword. Peter Dinklage has found the role of a lifetime on "Game of Thrones," Boston Camerata The piece wasn't fully staged but it was acted out in a kind of pantomime. Countertenor Michael Collver was outstanding as Fauvel, availing himself of an almost infinite variety of vocal inflections to convey the absurdity of the horseplay. Music director Anne Azema was commanding in the role of Fortune, who haughtily rejects Fauvel's marriage entreaties. Instead he marries Vain Glory, ably portrayed by tenor Michael Barrett. Shira Kammen on medieval fiddle and harp and Steven Lundahl on winds and brass artfully supplied the needed instrumental backing. Cohen played his role to demonic perfection. "Fauvel" ends with the horse running amok atop French society, while its citizens plead for as the witty, wily "half man" a role even more suited to his range of talents than his memorable turn in "The Station Agent." As Tyrion, he has been amusing but also quite poignant, particularly in last week's confession about the deceptions of his first love. He is charming, noble, manipulative, cowardly, hedonistic, and able to steal any scene at will. I'm hoping that he will get a nod from the Emmys when the nominations are announced next month. Also worthy of Emmy notice: Emilia Clarke, who has been stunning as Daenerys, the princess of the house of Targaryen. Her arc, like that of young Arya, has shown a woman finding self-realization and power in a primitive world of men. Daenerys has made her way to the top of the nomadic tribe of warriors known as the Dothraki, bravely turning around her fear of her husband and his people to lead them to war. Clarke has been both visually riveting, with her white-blond hair, and striking in her coming of age. I don't doubt that she and the other would-be rulers will more than fill the Ned gap. Matthew Gilbert can be reached at For more on TV, tvblog. divine intervention to bring him down. In a case of almost-too-perfect timing, the Camerata's performance came just hours after former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi had been found guilty of seven corruption-related federal charges. As the author of "Fauvel" writes: "High rank, destined to fall, is a fragile shadow, neither stable nor secure." True then, true now. The concert opened with a short brace of love songs with an animal theme, performed by Kammen and Azema. They were beautiful but a lack of texts and translations subtracted from the enjoyment. David Weininger can be reached at globeclassicalnotes 4 G THE BOSTON GLOBE JUNE 18, 2011

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