Paul O’Dette has been described as “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument” (Toronto Globe and Mail). He appears regularly at major festivals throughout the world performing lute recitals and in chamber music programs with leading early music colleagues. Mr. O’Dette has made more than 140 recordings, winning two GRAMMY Awards and receiving six GRAMMY nominations and numerous international record awards. The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland (a 5-CD set for harmonia mundi usa) was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and was named “Best Solo Lute Recording of Dowland” by BBC Radio 3. The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler was nominated for a Grammy as Best Solo Instrumental Recording in 2006. While best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O’Dette is also active as a conductor of Baroque opera. Together with Stephen Stubbs he won a GRAMMY in 2015 for Best Opera Recording, as well as an ECHO Klassik Award, for their recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble. Their CDs of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thésée, and Lully’s Psyché, with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra on the cpo label, were nominated for Grammys in 2005, 2007, and 2008. In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O’Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of seventeenth-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute music. He has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice, and co-authored the John Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Paul O’Dette is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Co-Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.
After a thirty-year career in Europe, GRAMMY-recipient Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and Baroque opera specialists, and in 2014 was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for “Raising the Bar” in Seattle. Before his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany, where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste. In 1987 he founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, which toured throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S., and has been the continuo team for the Boston Early Music Festival since 1997. Stephen is the Festival’s permanent Artistic Co-Director along with his long-time colleague Paul O’Dette; they are also the Musical Directors of all BEMF operas. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thésée, and Lully’s Psyché were nominated for GRAMMY awards, and they won the Best Opera Recording GRAMMY in 2015 for Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers. In 2007 Stephen established his new production company based in Seattle, Pacific MusicWorks (PMW), reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. PMW’s productions include performances of the Monteverdi Vespers, described in the press as “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world.” The “Passions Project” was a special 2014 collaboration with the Seattle Symphony, which performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion while PMW presented Bach’s St. John Passion. Other recent appearances have included Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Così fan tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Handel’s Agrippina for Opera Omaha where he will return with Handel’s Semele in 2016. He has conducted Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, and Birmingham Symphony orchestras. His discography includes well over 100 CDs. In 2013, Stephen was appointed Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music. His major productions there have been Handel’s Semele and Mozart’s Magic Flute.
Gilbert Blin graduated from the Paris Sorbonne with a Master’s degree focusing on Rameau’s operas and their relation with the stage, an interest that he has since broadened to encompass French opera and its relation to Baroque theater, his fields of expertise as historian, stage director, and designer. His début productions include Massenet’s Werther and Delibes’s Lakmé for Paris Opéra-Comique, Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable for Prague State Opera, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Drottningholm Theatre in Sweden. Since 2001, Gilbert Blin has established himself as a sought-after stage director for the Baroque repertoire: he directed Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso for the Prague State Opera, and staged and designed reconstructions of Vivaldi’s Rosmira fedele and Handel’s Teseo for Opéra de Nice, and of Lully’s Thésée and Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival. As the Boston Early Music Festival’s Stage Director in Residence starting in 2008, Gilbert Blin staged a trilogy of English chamber operas, presented from 2008 to 2011: Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. In 2011, after designing the staging and the sets of Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Gilbert Blin presented Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. His recent historically staged and designed productions also include Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane for Nice, Handel’s Almira for Boston, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Prague. Following his acclaimed staging of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea for the 2009 Boston Festival, he staged Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the BEMF Chamber Opera Series in 2012, and presented the composer’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for the 2015 Festival. Gilbert Blin has been the Opera Director of the Boston Early Music Festival since 2013.
Robert Mealy is one of America’s most prominent Baroque violinists. The New York Times recently commented in a review of the BEMF Orchestra that “Mr. Mealy seems to foster excellence wherever he goes, whether he’s at Trinity Wall Street in New York, as concertmaster of the Trinity Baroque Orchestra; at Yale, as director of the Yale Baroque Ensemble; or at The Juilliard School, as director of the historical performance program.” He serves as Orchestra Director for the Boston Early Music Festival, where he has led the orchestra and chamber ensemble in festival productions, international tours, and recordings for over a decade. Mr. Mealy began exploring early music in high school, first with the Collegium of UC Berkeley and then at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied harpsichord and Baroque violin. While still an undergraduate at Harvard College, he was asked to join Tafelmusik. Since then, he has recorded over 80 CDs of early music on most major labels, ranging from Hildegard of Bingen with Sequentia to Rameau operas with Les Arts Florissants. He has appeared at international festivals from Melbourne to Moscow. A devoted chamber musician, he co-directs Quicksilver, whose recordings and festival appearances across America have received much critical acclaim. He has led Baroque ensembles for the Mark Morris Dance Company, and accompanied Renée Fleming on the David Letterman Show. A keen scholar as well as a performer, Mr. Mealy is Director of the distinguished Historical Performance Program at The Juilliard School. He has directed and led his Juilliard students in acclaimed performances including several as conservatory-in-residence at the Utrecht Festival in 2014 and appearances at Les Jardins de William Christie in Thiré. From 2009 to 2015, he directed the postgraduate Yale Baroque Ensemble. He taught at Harvard for over a decade, where he founded the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra.
Lucy Graham Dance Director
A graduate of Boston Conservatory, Melinda Sullivan quickly established herself as a dynamic and musical performer in Boston’s contemporary dance scene, including with Beth Soll and Co. Her initial studies in Renaissance dance were with distinguished historian and teacher of dance, Dr. Ingrid Brainard, and this led to performances with the Ken Pierce Baroque Dance Company, and further Baroque study and training. At the same time she worked to develop a unique movement and dance program for singers at New England Conservatory, where she taught for 25 years. Since then, she has danced, reconstructed, choreographed, and taught at prominent music and dance festivals, and for universities and opera companies. Ms. Sullivan danced in her first BEMF production—Purcell’s King Arthur—in 1995. She returned to dance and assist the late choreographer Lucy Graham in all subsequent BEMF opera productions over the next twelve years. In 2008, Sullivan assumed the role of BEMF Ballet Mistress, training dancers and singers in Baroque and Renaissance style and technique. Her first choreography for BEMF was Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2010 and she has since choreographed extensively for BEMF, including Charpentier’s La Couronne de Fleurs and La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona and Livietta e Tracollo. She is resident choreographer and movement coach at Central City Opera in Colorado, and serves on the faculty at the Boston University Opera Institute. Her recent choreographies have been for Central City Opera, Odyssey Opera, Boston University Opera Institute, and New England Conservatory.