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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2011
CONTACT: Kathleen Fay, Executive Director
617-661-1812 | kathy@bemf.org

THE BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES THE FULL SCHEDULE FOR
THE 2011 FESTIVAL & EXHIBITION,
JUNE 12–JUNE 19 IN BOSTON

Cambridge, MA – May 2, 2011 – The Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2011 Festival and Exhibition entitled Metamorphoses: Change and Transformation and running from June 12 to June 19 in Boston, Massachusetts. Called “Heaven…for early music fans” by The New York Times, the 16th international Festival and Exhibition features two exciting opera productions, 15 concerts showcasing the finest artists in the field today, and the world-famous Exhibition. Ticket packages are available now from the BEMF Box Office atWWW.BEMF.ORG or 617-868-BEMF.

CENTERPIECE OPERA—Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe
The operatic centerpiece of the 2011 Festival will be the North American premire of Niobe, Regina di Tebe (Niobe, Queen of Thebes) by the Italian composer Agostino Steffani (1653–1728). Niobe will be led by three-time Grammy-nominated BEMF Artistic Co-Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs; along with Stage Director and Set Designer Gilbert Blin; Costume Designer Anna Watkins; Choreographers Caroline Copeland and Carlos Fittante; and Lighting Designer Lenore Doxsee. BEMF will offer five fully-staged performances of Steffani’s Niobe from June 12 to 19, 2011 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College (219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, USA), followed by two performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA, USA) on June 24 and 25, 2011.

 

The internationally acclaimed cast will be led by soprano Amanda Forsythe in the title role of Niobe. She has performed in numerous BEMF opera productions and is a rising international star who has garnered critical acclaim for her “lovely range of vocal colors, gorgeous top notes and terrific agility” (The Wall Street Journal). In the role of Anfione, Niobe’s husband, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky makes his North American stage début. He has established himself as one of the world's greatest countertenors with a 2008 Echo Award for Best Singer and a profile in The New York Times Magazine among the growing number of accolades for his virtuosic coloratura and compelling dramatic interpretations. Joining them will be the internationally-acclaimed 34-piece Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, the new BEMF Baroque Dance Ensemble, and members of the nationally-renowned PALS Children’s Chorus. Flying effects will be provided by ZFX, Inc.

Composed in 1688 while Steffani was employed by Maximilian Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria in Munich, Niobe, Regina di Tebe is composed to a libretto by Luigi Orlandi, inspired by the mythological tale in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. One of the more tragic figures of Greek mythology, Niobe ruled the city of Thebes with her husband Anfione. Niobe considered herself the gods’ equal, and in a moment of arrogance, mocked the god Leto for having a mere two children to her own brood of seven sons and seven daughters. Leto avenged this act of hubris by slaying all fourteen of Niobe’s children. Overwhelmed with grief, Anfione took his own life upon learning of the deaths. With her entire family gone, Niobe turned to stone, from which her tears now endlessly flow.

BEMF CHAMBER OPERA—Handel’s Acis and Galatea
In addition to the fully staged centerpiece opera, the 2011 Festival will feature an encore production of the BEMF Chamber Opera Series’ intimate staging of Handel’s original 1718 chamber version of Acis and Galatea. When BEMF first presented this opera in 2009, The Boston Globe hailed the production as “Musically impeccable.” Written as a courtly entertainment about the simplicity of rural life, Acis and Galatea depicts the love affair between the nymph Galatea (Teresa Wakim, soprano) and the shepherd Acis (Aaron Sheehan, tenor), who must endure a long separation. Their reunion is thwarted by the giant Polyphemus (Douglas Williams, baritone), who is himself in love with Galatea.  Polyphemus kills Acis, and as Galatea laments the loss of her lover, she uses her divine powers to transform Acis into an everlasting fountain. This semi-staged production features gorgeous costumes, exquisite staging, and outstanding performances by the BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles under the direction of Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and Stage Director Gilbert Blin. Also presented in a North American tour this past spring, the opera will be performed on Saturday, June 18 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston and June 26 and 27 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA.

 

FESTIVAL CONCERTS
Recognized as “the world’s leading festival of early music” by The Times of London, the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival features 15 official Concerts bringing together luminaries and emerging stars in the field. Early Music lovers can enjoy a wide array of programs spanning centuries of music performed by some of the world’s most dynamic and engaging artists.

Vocal programs include: Les Voix Baroques performing settings of the sensual and poetic texts of The Song of Songs; the Grammy Award-winning voices of The King’s Singers in a program of Renaissance madrigals; Boston Camerata presenting the medieval drama Le Roman de Fauvel; beloved vocal ensemble The Tallis Scholars in a celebration of the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria; and the all-star instrumentalists of Tragicomedia joining a quintet of esteemed singers to present vocal chamber duets of Steffani and Handel.

Instrumental ensembles performing Festival Concerts will include: the energetic players of Ensemble Lucidarium exploring music from the Middle Ages; chamber ensemble Quicksilver performing music from 17th-century Italy; the always popular Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra concert in a dazzling program of Bach, Handel, Corelli, and Vivaldi and featuring harpsichord soloist Kristian Bezuidenhout; violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s Trio Settecento presenting virtuosic Baroque masterpieces; Solamente Naturali in a program exploring the fusion of Baroque music and the folk traditions of European fiddlers; and the gifted recorder consort Mezzaluna presenting music from 16th-century Venice.

The 2011 Festival concerts will also feature four accomplished instrumental soloists: Luca Guglielmi makes his North American harpsichord recital début exploring themes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis; Early Music superstar and viola da gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall presents gorgeous Irish and Scottish viol music; world-renowned lutenist Paul O’Dette performs a program of remarkable and moving works by Italian composer Marco dall’Aquila; and Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano, is joined by members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s dazzling and lyrical Piano Quartets.


In addition to the schedule of Festival Concerts, BEMF will offer two Mini-Festivals during the week. William Porter directs the Organ Mini-Festival on June 16 with performances by James David Christie, Luca Guglielmi, and William Porter. On June 17, Peter Sykes directs the Keyboard Mini-Festival with presentations from six exceptional artists on the harpsichord, the fortepiano, and the clavichord.

EXHIBITION AND CONCURRENT EVENTS
The world famous Exhibition, “one of the largest showcases for early instruments in the country” (The Boston Globe) is host to tradespeople from across the globe, with top makers of period instruments joined by schools of music, performers, publishers, and more. From June 15 to June 18, these specialists will be on hand at the Radisson Hotel in Boston to give demonstration recitals, host workshops and panel discussions, and share details of their work with Festival attendees. The one-of-a-kind BEMF CD Store returns for the 2011 Exhibition with over 400 titles and 5,000 CDs from the field’s most distinguished labels all in one place. Also returning will be the Exhibition’s Family Day on Saturday, June 18 where children and parents alike can enjoy an engaging and interactive presentation by BEMF Director of Education, David Coffin. Festival Week Passes are available now at WWW.BEMF.ORG or 617-868-BEMF; Day Passes will be sold at the Exhibition from June 15 to June 18.  Other concurrent events for the 2011 Festival include performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians, a Gala Opening Night Reception on Sunday, June 12, Dance Workshops hosted by the Festival opera choreographers, Pre-Opera Talks featuring BEMF Directors, and a remarkable array of nearly 100 Fringe Concerts throughout the Festival week.

ABOUT THE BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL

Recognized as the preeminent early music presenting organization in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe).  Founded in 1981, the Boston Early Music Festival offers diverse programs and activities, including three Grammy-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). 

The 2011 Boston Early Music Festival is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation, the U. S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Viola da Gamba Society of America, and the American Recorder Society. Dates, times, venues, artists, and programs are subject to change.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email kathy@bemf.org.

RESOURCES
2011 Festival Press Ticket Policy

Press Images

Video of the 2009 Production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea

2011 BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL CALENDAR

OPERA

Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe (Niobe, Queen of Thebes)
Fully staged operatic centerpiece of the Festival
Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 3:30pm
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 7pm
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7pm
Friday, June 17, 2011 at 7pm
Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 3:30pm

Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College (219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA)
Friday, June 24, 2011 at 7pm
Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 7pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA)
Amanda Forsythe, Niobe
Philippe Jaroussky, Anfione
Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc.
Tickets: $30 - $60 - $80 - $110 - $145 - $250

Handel’s Acis and Galatea
BEMF Chamber Opera Series
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 8pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 3:30pm
Monday, June 27, 2011 at 7pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA)
Teresa Wakim, Galatea
Aaron Sheehan, Acis
Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Tickets: $25 - $45 - $69 - $105

FESTIVAL CONCERTS

Les Voix Baroques
Stephen Stubbs, director
Canticum Canticorum—The Song of Songs
Monday, June 13, 2011 at 8pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

The King’s Singers
Triumphs—Renaissance Conquests in Love and War
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 8pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Luca Guglielmi, harpsichord
Cembalo Metamorphosis
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 11:15pm
Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $20

Ensemble Lucidarium
Avery Gosfield and Francis Biggi,
directors
Ninfale—Ovid, poetry and music in Italy at the end of the Middle Ages

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 5pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Boston Camerata
Anne Azéma,
director
The Morphing Beast: Le Roman de Fauvel—A medieval fable in poetry and music

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 5pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Quicksilver
Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski,
directors
Stile Moderno: The New Science of Music In Italy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:15pm
Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $20

Jordi Savall, treble viols
with guest artists Paul O’Dette, lute and Shane Shanahan, percussion
The Celtic Viol - An Homage to Irish and Scottish Musical Traditions

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 5pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra & Soloists
Robert Mealy,
director
Kristian Bezuidenhout, harpsichord
The Orchestra at Play: Festive concertos, suites, and sinfonias by Bach, Handel, Corelli, and Vivaldi

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 8pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $25 - $38 - $49 - $66

Paul O’Dette, lute
Music of Marco dall’Aquila
Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 11pm

New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $20

Trio Settecento
with guest artist Robert Mealy, violin
The Alchemical Violin: Works by Muffat, Veracini, J.S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, and J. G. Pisendel

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 5pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips,
director
The Genius of Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548—1611)

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 8pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Solamente Naturali
Miloš Valent,
director
Baroque Fiddlers from Moravia, Slovakia, England, and Scotland

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:15pm
Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $20

Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano
with members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Mozart at 29: Piano Quartets, K. 478 and K. 493
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 2:30pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

Tragicomedia and Friends
Stephen Stubbs,
director
Fioratura: The vocal chamber duets of Steffani and Handel

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 11pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $20

Mezzaluna
with Paul O’Dette, lute
The Instrumental Music of Ottaviano Petrucci, Venice, 1501—1508

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 12:30pm
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $22 - $33 - $45 - $58

ORGAN MINI-FESTIVAL
William Porter,
director

PART ONE
James David Christie,
organ
Sweelnick and his Students

Luca Guglielmi, organ
Iter Bachianum—From Sweelinick to Bach through Frescobaldi, Buxtehude, and other famous pupils

Thursday, June 16 at 9:30am
Houghton Chapel, Wellesley College (106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA)
Tickets: $35

PART TWO
William Porter,
organ
The Great “Leipzig” Chorales of J.S. Bach

Thursday, June 16 at 2pm
The First Lutheran Church of Boston (299 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $35

KEYBOARD MINI-FESTIVAL
Peter Sykes, director

Peter Sykes and Luca Guglielmi
The Harpsichord
Friday, June 17 at 9am
First Church in Boston (66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $25

Christoph Hammer and Kristian Bezuidenhout
The Fortepiano
Friday, June 17 at 11:30am

First Church in Boston (66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $25

Michael Tsalka and Miklós Mikael Spányi
The Clavichord
Friday, June 17 at 2pm

First Church in Boston (66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA)
Tickets: $25

Performance Masterclases
An assortment of Performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians will be offered throughout the week. BEMF Masterclasses allow students, as well as professional musicians, to receive a public coaching by some of the top performers in the field today. Interested students are asked to complete and submit the Masterclass Application Form along with an audition CD; a $50 registration fee will be due should you be chosen to perform. Auditors are encouraged to attend; admission is FREE with a BEMF Pass. For more information on participating in a masterclass at the 2011 Festival, please contact Carla Chrisfield, General Manager, by email at carla@bemf.org, or by calling the BEMF office at 617-661-1812.

Phoebe Carrai
violoncello
Wednesday, June 15 at 2pm-4pm

Erin Headley and Christel Thielmann
viola da gamba
Thursday, June 16 at 11am-1pm
Presented in collaboration with the Viola da Gamba Society of America. Please visit www.vdgsa.org for scholarship details.

Gonzalo X. Ruiz
Baroque oboe
Thursday, June 16 at 2pm-4pm

Cynthia Roberts
violin
Friday, June 17 at 12:30pm-2:30pm

Ellen Hargis, Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs
17th-century accompanied solo song
Friday, June 17 at 2:30pm-4:30pm

William Porter
organ
Saturday, June 18 at 10am-12 noon

Peter Van Heyghen
recorder
Saturday, June 18 at 12 noon-2pm

Presented in collaboration with the American Recorder Society

Dates, times, venues, artists, and programs are subject to change.

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