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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2015

Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2015 Festival & Exhibition: June 7–14 in Boston

“Arguably the most important and influential Early Music event in the world.”
BBC Radio 3

(Download as a PDF with a full calendar listing)

Cambridge, MA – The Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2015 Festival and Exhibition – themed Invention & Discovery – taking place from June 7 to June 14 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 18th biennial international Festival and Exhibition features a monumental series of productions of Monteverdi’s three (3) surviving operas, sixteen (16) concerts showcasing the finest artists in the field today, the world-famous Exhibition, and so much more. Subscription packages and individual tickets are available now from the BEMF Box Office at WWW.BEMF.ORG or 617-661-1812.

OPERATIC CENTERPIECE: THE MONTEVERDI TRILOGY
The Operatic Centerpiece of the 2015 Festival will be The Monteverdi Trilogy, featuring staged performances of Claudio Monteverdi's three surviving operas: Ulisse, Poppea, and Orfeo. All three (3) productions will be led by BEMF’s acclaimed Directorial Team: GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Stage Director Gilbert Blin, Concertmaster Robert Mealy, Costume Designer Anna Watkins, Lighting Designer Lenore Doxsee, and Executive Producer Kathleen Fay.

"Monteverdi's three surviving operas represent the birth of opera as an art form," says BEMF Executive Director Kathleen Fay. "We shall bring this trilogy to the BEMF stage in performances combining incomparable artistic and musical leadership together with a superb cast and outstanding orchestral forces - unprecedented in terms of scale, unified artistic direction, and historic integrity. This will be a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear these iconic works performed back-to-back by some of the most exceptional singers and instrumentalists in the world."

THE MONTEVERDI TRILOGY: ULISSE
Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria tells the epic story of the Greek hero Ulysses and his return to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. The intense drama comes alive through Monteverdi's vividly expressive score in what is often regarded as his most tender and moving opera. For the 2015 Festival, BEMF will mount a new, fully-staged production featuring tenor Colin Balzer as Ulisse and mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi as Penelope. Three performances will take place at the Boston University Theatre—Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 3:30pm, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 7pm, and Friday, June 12, 2015 at 7pm.

THE MONTEVERDI TRILOGY: POPPEA
Monteverdi's final and most profound opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea, was first performed in Venice in 1643, just fifty years after the "birth" of opera as an art form. The smoldering center of this masterpiece is the Roman Emperor Nero's obsessive love for beautiful Poppea – which is brought to life by Australian countertenor David Hansen as Nerone and American soprano Amanda Forsythe as Poppea – in this revival of BEMF’s critically acclaimed 2009 production. Two performances will take place at the Boston University Theatre—Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 7pm and Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 3:30pm.

THE MONTEVERDI TRILOGY: ORFEO
Widely regarded as the first great opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo features one of opera’s most adored stories, in which the heroic Orfeo endures the tragic death of his beloved Euridice, and travels to the underworld to plead for her return. BEMF offers an encore presentation of its November 2012 Chamber Opera Series production starring tenor Aaron Sheehan as Orfeo and soprano Mireille Asselin as Euridice. One performance will take place at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall—Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 8pm.

“If you are interested in early music, this is the place to be.” –The New York Times

FESTIVAL CONCERTS
Hailed as “Heaven … for early music fans,” by The New York Times, each June Festival presents a series of sixteen (16) concerts showcasing the most accomplished artists and ensembles in early music. With afternoon, evening, and late night concerts, music lovers can enjoy a feast of unforgettable performances from some of the world’s most dynamic and engaging artists.

The Festival Concert week opens with the universally celebrated Jordi Savall directing Hespèrion XXI in an intoxicating program of music inspired by the “discovery” of the New World on Monday, June 8, 2015 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. An ensemble of eight (8) instrumentalists, including members of the Mexican folklore ensemble, Tembembe Ensamble Continuo, join Savall as he explores the connections and interactions of disparate musical traditions from the colonials to the creole.

Another highlight of the June 2015 Festival Concerts will be a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Monteverdi’s audacious and ambitious masterwork would help to usher the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque, building upon centuries of tradition with bold and glorious new inventions. BEMF Artistic Co-Director Stephen Stubbs conducts the BEMF Vocal & Chamber Ensembles featuring an unparalleled roster of singers and instrumentalists drawn from the Festival’s opera productions.

Other vocal programs include: Monica Huggett, Harry van der Kamp, Stephen Stubbs & Friends in a captivating program of rarely heard vocal cantatas for solo bass; Concerto Soave performing inventive masterworks of the late Renaissance infused with amorous desire and lyrical passion; acclaimed vocal ensemble Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam who offer an exquisite program of masterworks by Sweelinck, J.S. Bach, and C.P.E. Bach; Benjamin Bagby and Sequentia who return by popular demand to perform haunting songs from the Medieval empire of Charlemagne; Ricercar Consort joining forces with soprano Céline Scheen for vocal treasures by Rameau as they would have been heard in 18th-century house concerts in Berlin; Vox Luminis, winners of Gramophone Magazine’s prestigious Recording of the Year in 2012, performing intensely dramatic works by Schütz and members of the illustrious Bach family; and an incredible collaboration of the Early Music superstars of tomorrow as more than 50 singers and instrumentalists from Juilliard415 and the Royal Academy of Music join forces in an all-Bach program led by esteemed conductor Masaaki Suzuki and featuring Rachel Podger as concertmaster.

Other instrumental programs on the Festival Concert schedule include: virtuoso Philippe Pierlot in a rare solo recital showcasing the ethereal beauty of the bass viol; two of the world’s most sought-after musicians, violinist Monica Huggett and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann who partner for the first time to perform Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach; BEMF Artistic Co-Director Paul O’Dette, who will honor the legacy of famed lutenist and teacher Patrick O’Brien with the revival of Three, Four, & Twenty Lutes, a ravishing program from the 1989 Festival; renowned Medieval flautist Norbert Rodenkirchen tracing the history behind the myth of the Pied Piper in a bewitching tonal portrait of what could have inspired this enduring fairy tale; one of America’s premiere Baroque ensembles Musica Pacifica performing a toe-tapping selection of traditional music from the British Isles; BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy leading the BEMF Chamber Ensemble and Dark Horse Consort in a celebration of courtly delights from the early 17th-century that will feature a quartet of dancers from the BEMF Dance Ensemble; and the week closes with recorder virtuoso Michael Form & Friends mixing Venetian masterpieces, transcriptions, and improvisations featuring music from Vivaldi and other Italian Baroque masters.

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 Thursday, June 11 at The First Lutheran Church of Boston, with performances by three (3) internationally acclaimed organ virtuosos: William Porter, David Yearsley, and John Scott. On Friday, June 12, the Keyboard Mini-Festival returns to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium using original instruments from the MFA’s renowned collection, curated by Darcy Kuronen, Pappalardo Curator of Musical Instruments for the MFA. Recitals will feature Alexander Weimann on harpsichord, Tom Beghin on fortepiano, and Luc Beauséjour on clavichord.

A special Lecture/Concert will also be a part of the Festival schedule on Friday, June 12 as Harvard Professor Thomas Forrest Kelly collaborates with Blue Heron, directed by Scott Metcalfe, for Capturing Music: Writing and Singing Music in the Middle Ages. Based on their recent book/CD, this unique presentation—illustrated by projected images of medieval manuscripts—will feature key moments in the art of music from ca. 800 to ca. 1200, narrated by Professor Kelly and sung by Blue Heron.

“One stop shopping for the…historical-performance set.” –The Wall Street Journal

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 some of the top tradespeople from across the globe, with makers of period instruments, music publishers, dealers in rare books, prints, and manuscripts, and the world’s top conservatories and schools of music. Moving to its new home at the Courtyard Boston Downtown at 275 Tremont Street, Boston, these specialists will be on hand Wednesday, June 10 through Saturday, June 13 to host workshops and panel discussions, display their products, and share details of their work with Festival attendees.

The one-of-a-kind BEMF CD Store returns for the 2015 Exhibition with hundreds of titles and thousands of CDs from the field’s most distinguished labels all in one place. Also returning will be the Exhibition’s Family Day on Saturday, June 13 where children and parents alike can enjoy an engaging tour of the Exhibition’s instrument-makers and a fun introduction to the dance, music, and costumes of the time of Monteverdi led by BEMF Dance Ensemble members Melinda Sullivan and Caitlin Klinger.

Other concurrent events for the 2015 Festival include: Performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians; the Gala Opening Night Reception on Sunday, June 7 at Higginson Hall, Symphony Hall; Dance Workshops; Pre-Opera Talks featuring noted scholars prior to each opera performance, and a remarkable array of over 100 Fringe Concerts throughout the Festival week. Festival Week Passes ($40) provide admission to the Exhibition, The BEMF CD Store, Symposia, auditing Performance Masterclasses, Dance Workshops, and Pre-Opera Talks for the entire week and may be purchased in advance. Festival Week Passes and Day Passes ($10) will be sold at the Exhibition and other concurrent events during the Week.

BEMF IN THE BERKSHIRES
The weekend following the conclusion of the June 2015 Festival in Boston, the BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles will present a concert performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 8pm, followed by BEMF's acclaimed chamber opera production of Monteverdi's Orfeo on Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 3pm. Both performances take place in the splendid Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Tickets ($25–$85) are available now through the Boston Early Music Festival Box Office at WWW.BEMF.ORG or 617-661-1812.

FESTIVAL TICKETS AND SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGES
Concert tickets range from $25 to $70. Orfeo tickets range from $25 to $105 while Ulisse and Poppea tickets range from $35 to $225. Tickets are available from the BEMF Box Office online at WWW.BEMF.ORG or by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription Packages of four (4) or more concerts are also available with discounts up to 20% off. Individual tickets for Ulisse and Poppea are also available from the BU Theatre Box Office at BostonTheatreScene.com or 617-933-8600.

RESOURCES
2015 Festival Press Ticket Policy: http://www.bemf.org/pages/press/presstix.htm
Press Images: http://www.bemf.org/pages/press/images_festival.htm
This Release as PDF with full calendar listings: http://www.bemf.org/media/BEMF_release_2015festival.pdf

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 four 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 18th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 7–14, 2015, and will be highlighted by Claudio Monteverdi’s trilogy of operas: Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, and L'Incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, and Orchestra Director Robert Mealy.

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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