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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 11, 2015

The BEMF Chamber Opera Series revives its acclaimed 2009 production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea on Thanksgiving weekend
2015 GRAMMY Winners return November 28 & 29 to NEC’s Jordan Hall in Boston

(Download as a PDF)

Cambridge, MA – Coming off a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording, the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series returns on Thanksgiving weekend for its eighth consecutive year with a revival of BEMF’s acclaimed production of the original 1718 chamber version of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. This special encore presentation celebrates the November 2015 release of BEMF’s studio recording of the masterpiece on the German label cpo (Classic Produktion Osnabrück).

“The small cast and orchestra created a wonderful evocation of the early 18th-century and performed with remarkable elegance.” –Vancouver Sun

Originally presented to packed houses in Boston in November 2009, and then during a six-city North American tour in 2011, BEMF’s production will be led by GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and acclaimed Stage Director Gilbert Blin, on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 8pm and Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 3pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston. The stellar cast features BEMF’s own GRAMMY winning tenor Aaron Sheehan reprising his role as Acis, Teresa Wakim reprising her role as Galatea, baritone Douglas Williams reprising his role as Polyphemus, tenor Jason McStoots reprising his role as Damon, and tenor Mark Williams joining the production as Coridon. Concertmaster Robert Mealy leads the 10-member BEMF Chamber Ensemble, while Anna Watkins returns to the production as Costume Designer & Supervisor, and Melinda Sullivan performs a non-singing role as a nymph and serves as Assistant to the Stage Director.

“Richly staged…musically impeccable.” –The Boston Globe

While Acis and Galatea is familiar to modern audiences in Handel’s 1739 two-act version, the 1718 version of this cherished pastoral opera was Handel’s first dramatic work in English when it was presented as a one-act masque at the idyllic estate at Cannons, home of the composer’s patron James Brydges, the Duke of Chandos. Written as a courtly entertainment about the simplicity of rural life, Acis and Galatea contains a significant amount of wit and self-parody, depicting the love affair between the nymph Galatea and the shepherd Acis, whose reunion is thwarted by the monster Polyphemus. Though this 1718 performance would not have been theatrically staged, Gilbert Blin’s “inventive production” (The New York Times) imagines Acis and Galatea as a rehearsal in the Picture Room of Cannons, with Lord and Lady Chandos welcoming Handel and poets Alexander Pope and John Gay who were also present at Cannons in 1718.

WHO: Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles
WHEN: Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 8pm
Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 3pm

New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston
PROGRAM:  George Frideric Handel’s Acis and Galatea

Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer & Supervisor
Melinda Sullivan, Assistant to the Stage Director

Aaron Sheehan, Acis
Teresa Wakim, Galatea
Douglas Williams, Polyphemus
Jason McStoots, Damon
Mark Williams, Coridon
Melinda Sullivan, nymph

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster
Cynthia Roberts, violin
Phoebe Carrai, violoncello
Douglas Balliett, double bass
Gonzalo X. Ruiz & Kathryn Montoya, oboe & recorder
Dominic Teresi, bassoon
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, theorbo
Michael Sponseller, harpsichord
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $25, $45, $55, $75, and $125 each, and can be purchased at www.BEMF.org and 617-661-1812, as well as through the Jordan Hall Box Office located at 30 Gainsborough Street in Boston and by telephone at 617-585-1260; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is offered by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts of 10% are available with the purchase of three or more programs.

RESOURCES:
Download artist photos: http://www.bemf.org/pages/press/images.htm

ABOUT THE BEMF CHAMBER OPERA SERIES:
Hailed by The Boston Globe for “vivid performances,” since 2008 the BEMF Chamber Opera Series has taken the internationally acclaimed musicianship, scholarship, and direction showcased in BEMF’s fully staged Festival operas and focused it on small-scale works in intimate productions each Thanksgiving weekend. Two productions from the Chamber Opera Series have also been presented on tour across North America: Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2011 and Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs in 2014. BEMF’s studio recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs was awarded the 2015 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording.

CD RELEASE:
The Boston Early Music Festival will release its eighth Baroque opera CD, George Frideric Handel’s Acis and Galatea in its original chamber version of 1718, on the German label cpo (Classic Produktion Osnabrück) with support from Radio Bremen in November, 2015. Days after the conclusion of BEMF’s June 2013 Festival, musicians and singers departed Boston for Bremen, Germany, and the acoustically brilliant Sendesaal for recording sessions for both Acis and Galatea and BEMF’s GRAMMY Award-winning 2014 release of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs led the original 2009 cast featuring Aaron Sheehan as Acis, Teresa Wakim as Galatea, Douglas Williams as Polyphemus, Jason McStoots as Damon, and Zachary Wilder as Coridon. BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy leads the ten member BEMF Chamber Ensemble, and BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin serves as Drama Coach on the 2-CD set, which also features Handel’s solo cantata Sarei troppo felice with soprano Amanda Forsythe.

ABOUT THE BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL:
Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and three GRAMMY Award-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 19th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 11–18, 2017, and will feature the fully staged performances of André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, and Orchestra Director Robert Mealy.

The 2015–2016 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, and The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation.

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

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