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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2016 (revised)

MEDIA ALERT: BEMF presents Les Arts Florissants with musical director William Christie in a program of wistful laments and courtly songs of pleasure—Sunday April 24 in Harvard Square

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ARTIST: Les Arts Florissants (France)
William Christie, musical director

Emmanuelle de Negri, soprano; Anna Reinhold, mezzo-soprano; Reinoud Van Mechelen, high tenor; Cyril Auvity, baritone; Lisandro Abadie, bass; Florence Malgoire & Sue-Ying Koang, violin; Myriam Rignol, viola da gamba; Thomas Dunford, theorbo; William Christie, harpsichord
WHEN: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 7:30pm
Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  Serious Airs and Drinking Songs
Charpentier: Selections from Petite pastorale
Moulinié: Amis, enivrons-nous du vin d’Espagne en France
Lambert: Amour, je me suis plaint cent fois
Charpentier: Amor vince ogni cosa – Pastoraletta
Lambert: Vos yeux adorables
Moulinié: Enfin la beauté que j’adore
Camus: Ah, que vous êtes heureux !
Charpentier: Charmantes fleurs, naissez
Charpentier: Tristes déserts, sombre retraite
Lambert: J’aimerais mieux souffrir la mort
Lambert: Sans murmurer
Camus: Laissez durer la nuit, impatiente Aurore
Lambert: Laissez-moi soupirer importune raison
Lambert: Vous avez trop d’appas
Moulinié: Guillot est mon amy
Lambert: Vos mépris chaque jour me causent mille alarmes
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $25, $45, $55, and $75 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is available by calling 617-661-1812.

After fourteen years, the illustrious William Christie and Les Arts Florissants are back on the BEMF concert stage with a magnificent finale for the 2015–2016 Season! Christie brings his boundless wit and virtuosic theatricality to an incomparable evening exploring the air de cour, a genre of secular vocal music that delighted and entertained the elegant salons of 17th-century France. The singers and instrumentalists of this magnificent ensemble offer passionate and refined performances of wistful laments and courtly songs of pleasure by Michel Lambert, father-in-law of Jean-Baptiste Lully and one of the most illustrious champions of the air de cour, as well as Marc-Antonie Charpentier, François Couperin, and others.

The program explores the full range of the air de cour, which can be performed solo and in groups of voices, male and female alike, and with subjects ranging from the pains of love to the joys of drunken revelry. In addition to selections by some of the most beloved masters of the French Baroque, the concert will also feature delightful works by Etienne Moulinié and Sébastien Le Camus.

A pre-concert talk will be given at 6:30pm in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. The speaker will be Kate van Orden, Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard University.

An ensemble of singers and instrumentalists specialized in the performance of Baroque music on period instruments, Les Arts Florissants are renowned the world over. Founded in 1979 by the Franco-American harpsichordist and conductor William Christie, the ensemble, named for a short opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, has played a pioneering role in the revival of a Baroque repertoire that had long been neglected (including the rediscovery of countless treasures in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France). Today that repertoire is widely performed and admired: not only French music from the reign of Louis XIV, but also more generally European music of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Ensemble has produced an impressive discography: nearly 100 recordings for Harmonia Mundi, Warner Classics/Erato, and Virgin Classics. Their DVD catalogue counts around 15 performances, and recently expanded with Rameau, maître à danser (Apha), released to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. In 2013, Les Arts Florissants launched their own recording label, The Arts Florissants Editions, which has now released five disks: Belshazzar, Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau, and Handel’s Music for Queen Caroline conducted by William Christie as well as the Mantova and Cremona volumes of Monteverdi’s madrigals, conducted by Paul Agnew.

William Christie, harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist, and teacher, is the inspiration behind one of the most exciting musical adventures of the last thirty years. A pioneer in the rediscovery of Baroque music, he has introduced the repertoire of 17th- and 18-century France to a wide audience. Born in Buffalo, and educated at Harvard and Yale, William Christie has lived in France since 1971. The turning point in his career came in 1979, when he founded Les Arts Florissants. As Director of this vocal and instrumental ensemble, William Christie soon made his mark as a musician and man of the theater, in both the concert hall and the opera house, with new interpretations of largely neglected or forgotten works. From Charpentier to Rameau, through Couperin, Mondonville, Campra, or Montéclair, William Christie is the uncontested master of tragédie-lyrique as well as opéra-ballet, and is just as comfortable with the French motet as with music of the court. But his affection for French music does not preclude him from exploring other European repertoires. In addition to his many acclaimed performances of Italian works (Monteverdi, Rossi, Scarlatti, Landi), he broaches Purcell and Handel with as much success as Mozart or Haydn.

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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 four 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 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