We went to Symphony Hall last night to see a performance of Handel's La Resurrezione. We took a bit of a chance as neither of us had heard it before, but we really enjoyed the performance. They used an authentic Baroque orchestra with wonderful instruments like a Viola da Gamba, a couple of lutes and a pair of recorders. If you've only ever heard the dreadful honking, squeaking sound that happens when you mix small children and recorders, then it's a bit of a revelation when you hear them played properly. In keeping with the period feel, they didn't use any amplification (as far as I could tell) for either the orchestra or the singers.
The human voice never ceases to amaze me. Emma Bell — who sang the part of Mary Magdalene — managed to make the steel balustrades on the balcony ring at times with the power of her voice. The acoustics are pretty good in Symphony Hall, but even so, it's amazing that one fairly small person can fill a huge auditorium like that, using only about 5 litres of air, some vibrating tissue, and muscular contraction. I realise that the last sentence makes me sound like a total philistine, so I'll attempt to recover by saying that she wasn't all about amplitude1, and her interpretation and phrasing was wonderful too.
1 Oops, I'm just digging myself a hole here.