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“A stageful of superb soloists merged into a superb ensemble.”

The Boston Phoenix


Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 8pm

Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 3pm

New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, Boston

BEMF Vocal Ensemble

Laura Pudwell, Dido
StubbsLaura Pudwell’s reputation as a superb vocalist has been well established as a result of her performances in London, Paris, Salzburg, Houston, Vienna, and Boston. Her vast repertoire ranges from early music to contemporary works. Ms. Pudwell is equally at home on the opera, oratorio, or recital stage, and has received international acclaim for her recordings. On the opera stage, Ms. Pudwell has performed across Canada with such companies as Opera Atelier, the Calgary Opera, Vancouver Early Music, and Festival Vancouver, as well as with Houston Grand Opera and Cleveland Opera. She was Medée in the Boston Early Music Festival’s 2001 production of Thésée and on the subsequent Grammy-nominated recording. Ms. Pudwell is a regular participant in many festivals, appears regularly with the Toronto Consort, and is a frequent guest soloist with Tafelmusik, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toronto Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence Choir, Le Concert Spirituel, Chorus Niagara, and the Menno Singers.

Douglas Williams, Aeneas
StubbsDouglas Williams makes débuts this season at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the National Cathedral, and the Frankfurt Alte Oper, in concerts and opera ranging from Monteverdi to Beethoven. Last season, his Paris début at the Salle Pleyel in King Arthur with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques was called “extraordinary” (Critical Spectacle) and “a generous voice” (Opera Forum). In his orchestral début last season, Douglas sang Messiah with the Houston Symphony. He has appeared as a soloist with conductors Sir Neville Marriner, Helmut Rilling, Christopher Warren-Greene, Bruno Weil, and Sir David Wilcox. Douglas can be heard in the role of Jesus on the Yale Schola Cantorum’s recording of Bach’s St. John Passion, called “astonishing” by Early Music Review. He trained at New England Conservatory and Yale University, with acting studies at Shakespeare & Company. Aeneas is Douglas’s first title role with the Boston Early Music Festival, having appeared in every one of their stage productions since 2003. He lives in New York City.

Yulia Van Doren, Belinda & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsConsistently singled out for her “perfect baroque voice” (Seattle Times), young Russian-American soprano Yulia Van Doren has established herself as a rising star of the new generation of Baroque specialists. Recent seasons have included débuts with the Cincinnati, Phoenix, Asheville, and Pacific Symphonies, Portland Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Tanglewood Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Carnegie Hall. Yulia recently made her European début singing the Hungarian premiere of Barber’s Knoxville with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Current season highlights include the Cartagena International Music Festival, Colombia, where she appears in Bach’s B-minor Mass with soprano Dawn Upshaw and the City of London Sinfonia and in Bach’s Coffee Cantata with the Brentano String Quartet; Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra under Rinaldo Alessandrini and with the Colorado Symphony; and Manto in Steffani’s Niobe, the Boston Early Music Festival’s centerpiece opera. Yulia is only singer to win top prizes in all four North American Bach vocal competitions.

Teresa Wakim, Second Woman & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsWith “a voice of lambent beauty,” soprano Teresa Wakim’s performances of opera, oratorio, and chamber music have garnered her wide acclaim. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and Boston University, she enjoys a performance career in Boston and beyond performing and recording music from the Renaissance to the newly composed, and is perhaps best known as “a fine baroque stylist.” She is featured on two Grammy-nominated recordings of Lully operas, Thésée and Psyché, with the Boston Early Music Festival, and the newly released BEMF recording of Charpentier’s Actéon, portraying the role of Diane. Solo engagements for 2010–2011 include Handel’s Messiah with the San Antonio Symphony, collaborative performances with Blue Heron and Piffaro in Philadelphia, and this spring she will co-star with Aaron Sheehan in BEMF’s production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea at the American Handel Festival in Seattle. Most recently, she won first prize in the Internationaler Solistenwettbewerb für Alte Musik in Brunnenthal, Austria.

Brenna Wells, First Witch/First Enchantress & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsCritics and audiences alike have been “charmed” by soprano Brenna Wells. Her recent operatic roles include La Poesie and La Paix in Les Arts Florissants, Galatea in Acis and Galatea, Venus in L’Europe Galante, and the lead role of Christian Woman in Delvyn Case’s premiere of The Prioress’s Tale. She was Première Nymphe de l’Acheron on the Boston Early Music Festival’s Grammy-nominated recording of Lully’s Psyché. Ms. Wells has sung and recorded with such acclaimed ensembles as the BEMF Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, Blue Heron, Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Boston Baroque, Opera Boston, and the Handel and Haydn Society, and will be a soloist with L’Académie and Arcadia Players this season. She has appeared at the London Handel Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival, and the BBC Proms. In both 2008 and 2009, she was selected to perform in the annual Early Music Seminars at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy.

Carrie Henneman Shaw, Second Witch/Second Enchantress & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsCarrie Henneman Shaw, winner of the 2010–2011 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians administered by MacPhail Center for Music, has made her mark as an artist who brings a sense of adventure and style to the concert stage. Acclaimed as a “major musical force” (St. Paul Pioneer Press), Shaw collaborates with ensembles across the country, such as The Newberry Consort, LIBER, dal Niente New Music, The Rose Ensemble, and the Bach Society of Minnesota. She is also co-artistic director of Minnesota-based Glorious Revolution Baroque, which this year presented Dido and Aeneas featuring Ellen Hargis as Dido and David Douglass as concertmaster. Shaw avidly explores seventeenth-century and contemporary virtuoso works with equal passion, frequently commissioning and premiering works by living composers. She holds degrees from Lawrence University and the University of Minnesota, and has served as an instructor at the national Lute Society of America conference in Cleveland.

JosÉ Lemos, Spirit in the form of Mercury & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsJosé Lemos won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2003 International Baroque Singing Competition of Chimay, Belgium. The 2010–2011 season features his début with the Teatro Real in Madrid in L’incoronazione di Poppea directed by William Christie. He will also perform with Magnificat Baroque and Brandywine Baroque, and he returns to Buenos Aires to sing in Handel’s Xerxes. In addition, he returns to the Boston Early Music Festival again in June as Nerea in Steffani’s Niobe, Queen of Thebes. Some highlights of previous seasons include solo roles in Giulio Cesare (Tolomeo), Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass at Carnegie Hall, Agrippina at Zurich Opera (Narciso), and Landi’s Il Sant’Alessio (Martio) with William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants in places such as Barbican Hall, Lincoln Center, Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Il Sant’Alessio has been released on DVD by EMI/Virgin Classics.

Thea Lobo, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsMezzo-soprano Thea Lobo, whose singing has been dubbed “excellent,” “impeccable,” “limpidly beautiful,” and “Boston’s best,” has appeared under conductors Harry Christophers, Martin Pearlman, and Helmut Rilling, and has been featured by the Handel and Haydn Society, Chorus pro Musica, Firebird Ensemble, Opera Boston Underground, Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart, and Emmanuel Music, which named her a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow for the 2009–2010 season. In 2009, Ms. Lobo toured Japan performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under the direction of Joshua Rifkin. She has performed the roles of Orgando in Handel’s Amadigi with Boston Baroque, L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with MetroWest Opera, and covered the narrator role Xiao Qing for the world premiere of Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake with Opera Boston. During the 2010–2011 season, her engagements include Nicholas Vines’s Loose, Wet, Perforated with Guerilla Opera and Bach’s B-minor Mass with Arcadia Players, Brookline Chorus, and Tucson Chamber Artists.

Annie Rosen, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsMezzo-soprano Annie Rosen has been called an “excellent vocal soloist” by the New York Times and praised by Opera News for her “dulcet, sweetly phrased” singing. She is currently a member of the Yale Opera, where she will perform the role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas this April. Recent operatic roles include Alessandro (cover) in Handel’s Tolomeo at Glimmerglass Opera, Dorabella and Annina with the Mannes Opera, Concepción in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Ensemble enCANTA, La Messaggiera in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Dido at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She has performed in concert frequently in New York City, including as a soloist with the 4x4 Baroque Festival and as Piacere in Handel’s Il trinofo del tempo with the Mannes Baroque EnsembleShe earned her B.A. in Music with Distinction from Yale College, and her M.M. at the Mannes College of Music.

Jason McStoots, Sorceress & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsGrammy-nominated soloist Jason McStoots has performed around the world and throughout the U.S. He has been described by critics as “a natural, a believable actor and a first-rate singer,” “a born comic,” “light and bluff, but neither lightweight nor bland, and with exemplary enunciation,” and as having “a silken tenor voice” and “sweet, appealing tone.” Respected for his interpretations of J. S. Bach, he made his Japanese solo début in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion where he sang the Evangelist and the tenor arias. He received praise for his performance in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse a patria with Pacific Musicworks and for Handel’s Acis and Galatea with the Boston Early Music Festival, being singled out for the latter as having offered Boston one of its best acting performances of 2009. He has sung with Blue Heron, Tragicomedia, La Petite Bande, Boston Lyric Opera, Handel Choir of Baltimore, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, Granite State Opera, and OperaProvidence.

Zachary Wilder, Sailor & Vocal Ensemble
StubbsDescribed as possessing a “remarkably clear, flexible lyric tenor,” Zachary Wilder is a much-sought-after performer on both the operatic and concert stages. Recently, he made his European début as Renaud in Lully’s Armide at the Théâtre de Gennevilliers in Paris. He will be returning to France in summer 2011 to perform as Coridon in Handel’s Acis and Galatea at Festival D’Aix en Provence followed by additional performances at La Fenice in Venice. He is a 2010–2011 Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music and is a former Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as well as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. Highlights this season include ten performances in six cities for Boston Early Music Festival’s Chamber Opera Series, a concert of Rameau cantatas with Opéra Français de New York, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri, Mozart’s Requiem, and his Carnegie Hall debut in Bach’s B-Minor Mass.

Michael Barrett, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsMichael Barrett is active in the Boston area as a professional musician and teacher. As a singer, Mr. Barrett has collaborated with the Boston Camerata, Huelgas Ensemble, Blue Heron, Nederlandse Bachvereniging (Netherlands Bach Society), L’Académie, Seven Times Salt, and Exsultemus. He can be heard on the harmonia mundi and Blue Heron record labels. Mr. Barrett directs Convivium Musicum, a chamber choir for Renaissance music, and Sprezzatura, a professional vocal ensemble. He has performed in several recent opera productions of the Boston Early Music Festival. Mr. Barrett earned an AB in music from Harvard University, an MM in choir conducting from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and First Phase Diploma in Baroque and Classical singing from the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) in The Hague. He began his doctoral studies in choral conducting this fall at Boston University. He also maintains a studio for private instruction in voice, piano, and music theory.

Ulysses Thomas, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsPraised for his “rich bass-baritone voice and eloquent projection,” Ulysses Thomas made his professional début in 2008 with Opera Boston/Boston Baroque in Handel’s Semele as the High Priest. Since then, he has appeared with Boston Lyric Opera as Luther and Crespel in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, created the role of Howard Rudd in the world premiere of Holy Ghosts by local composer Larry Bell, and appeared with Opera del West as Uberto in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona. He has been a featured artist with many Boston-area ensembles including Boston Baroque, Blue Heron, Masterworks Chorale, Cambridge Concentus, Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium, and Emmanuel Music. Mr. Thomas received his BM from Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, and his MusM from Boston University, where he is currently a doctoral student in vocal performance. He spent two summers as a vocal fellow at Tanglewood Music Center.

John Proft, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsJohn Proft, bass, is active nationally as a chorister and chamber musician.  Locally, he performs with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Exsultemus, and Schola Cantorum of Boston, and travels to sing with Austin’s Conspirare, Miami’s Seraphic Fire, and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. A Texas native, John began singing professionally while studying at the University of North Texas with choirs in the Dallas area including the Dallas Bach Society, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Texas Choral Artists, and Orchestra of New Spain. Also at UNT, John sang with the Collegium Singers under Lyle Nordstrom, recording the bass solos in Biber’s Requiem and appearing as a soloist on Boston Early Music Festival’s fringe concert series. He has twice been accepted to sing under Ton Koopman in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training Workshops. With Conspirare, John participated in a project for PBS that produced both a TV Special and a Grammy-nominated recording on harmonia mundi.

Oliver Laquerre, Vocal Ensemble
StubbsCanadian bass-baritone Olivier Laquerre is a laureate of the Paris and the Verviers (Belgium) international voice competitions, and he is a sought-after soloist. In concert, Mr. Laquerre sings renowned works by Purcell, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, among many others. Mr. Laquerre has sung with major orchestras across North America. He is a regular guest soloist at the Boston Early Music Festival, with whom he has recorded four CDs for the CPO label. On stage, his many roles include Escamillo in Carmen, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro. He was an acclaimed Ulisse in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse a patria with Opera Atelier in Toronto. Olivier Laquerre also created the role of Tsar Theodorus at the Boston Early Music Festival premiere of Johann Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow. Mr. Laquerre can often be heard both on the English and French networks of the CBC.