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Press Release


Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2017 Festival & Exhibition:
June 11–18, 2017 in Boston

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

(Download as a PDF - with full Festival Calendar)

Cambridge, MA – The Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2017 Festival and Exhibition – themed Carnival – taking place from June 11 to June 18 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 19th biennial international Festival and Exhibition features the North American premiere of André Campra’s 1699 opéra-ballet Le Carnaval de Venise, a double-bill of Neopolitan comic opera from the BEMF Chamber Opera Series, eighteen 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 or 617-661-1812.

The GRAMMY-winning Boston Early Music Festival presents an enchanting spectacle of music and dance with an all-new, groundbreaking production of Le Carnaval de Venise, André Campra's captivating 1699 opéra-ballet. Join four star-crossed lovers as they experience the delights of the Carnival season in Venice, enjoying games, dances, and even a brilliantly realized “opera within an opera”—a miniature Italian opera on the Orpheus myth. This exquisite gem joins the elegance of French dance with the boisterous hilarity of Italian commedia dell’arte to produce a splendid operatic feast! BEMF will offer four fully staged performances of Le Carnaval de Venise, June 11, 14, 16, and 18, 2017 at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre (219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, USA). Ticket packages are available through the BEMF Box Office at 617-661-1812 or; individual tickets are available through the Box Office at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at or 617-824-8000.

“Campra’s work has garnered some attention in recent years in Europe, but BEMF takes an approach that is quite different—and, in my view, much more rewarding,” comments BEMF’s Musicological Advisor and Cornell University Professor Rebecca Harris-Warrick. “The BEMF team knows how to put scholarship to the service of creativity. It is an engaged and time-consuming process and past BEMF productions show how successfully the results reward the effort.”

BEMF’s GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and internationally acclaimed Stage Director Gilbert Blin lead the production with costumes designed by Anna Watkins, choreography by Caroline Copeland, and sets designed by Gilbert Blin. BEMF has assembled a truly outstanding cast of 19 singers, including many critically-acclaimed favorites from past BEMF productions, such as 2-time GRAMMY-nominee, soprano Karina Gauvin, GRAMMY-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan, soprano Amanda Forsythe, baritones Jesse Blumberg and Douglas Williams, and more. Joining them will be the 27-member Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra led by Concertmaster Robert Mealy, 9 Baroque dancers from the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company under the direction Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director, and 11 members of the BEMF Young Artists Training Program under the leadership of Gilbert Blin, Founder & Director and Jason McStoots, Associate Director, 2017.

Originally written as interludes to be performed between acts of a more somber production, Pergolesi’s light-hearted comedies quickly enchanted audiences with their farcical humor and engaging romance. Eventually, these comic operas would be performed on their own to adoring audiences throughout Europe, with Pergolesi acknowledged as an especially significant early composer in this opera buffa style. La serva padrona, which had its premiere in Naples in 1773, tells the tale of a haughty yet cunning maid who conspires to wed her testy employer. Livietta e Tracollo would début a year later as part of festivities for a royal birthday, and features the con-artist, Tracollo, meeting his match in a peasant girl, Livietta, out to avenge her wronged brother. For this new production—in a nod to the original presentations of these operas—Stage Director Gilbert Blin will alternate between scenes of the two works.

“Zest and earthy opulence,” —The Boston Globe

BEMF presents encore performances of its intimate 2014 Chamber Opera Series production led by Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and Stage Director Gilbert Blin. They are joined in the directorial team by Concertmaster Robert Mealy; Costume Designer Anna Watkins; and Movement Coordinator Melinda Sullivan. Soprano Amanda Forsythe, acclaimed by The New York Times as “simply dazzling,” heads a cast of four dynamic singers, all favorites of past BEMF Opera productions. Forsythe sings the role of Serpina in La serva padrona opposite bass-baritone Douglas Williams in the role of Uberto, while Erica Schuller and Jesse Blumberg perform the respective title roles in Livietta e Tracollo. The soloists appear alongside the 13-member BEMF Chamber Ensemble and five members of the BEMF Dance Ensemble. One performance will take place at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 8pm. Tickets are available now through the BEMF Box Office at or 617-661-1812.

The weekend following the conclusion of the June 2017 Festival in Boston, the BEMF Chamber Opera Series will present two encore performances of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona & Livietta e Tracollo at the splendid Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 8pm and Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 3pm. Tickets ($25–$85) are available now through the Boston Early Music Festival Box Office at or 617-661-1812 or from the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Box Office at or 413-528-0100.

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

Hailed as “Heaven … for early music fans,” by The New York Times, the June 2017 Festival presents a series of eighteen 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 on Monday, June 12, 2017 with three stellar programs. BEMF favorites Solamente Naturali kick off the week in a program of Baroque folk and dance music from Middle Europe at 5pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Acclaimed worldwide for their virtuosity, energy, and charm, The King's Singers return to BEMF with a blockbuster program featuring some of the greatest composers of the Renaissance at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Finally, concert-goers can enjoy a late-night concert from Ayreheart, founded by GRAMMY-nominated lutenist Ronn McFarlane, at 11pm at the Fenway Center at Northeastern University.

A highlight of the June 2017 Festival Concerts will be the BEMF Orchestra’s performance of Handel's La Resurrezione with an extraordinary cast of soloists on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Written during young Handel’s time in Rome and during a period of a papal ban on opera, this magnificent Easter Oratorio is bursting with musical splendor and theatricality. BEMF Musical Co-Director Stephen Stubbs leads an unparalleled roster of singers drawn from the Festival’s centerpiece opera. Esteemed Handel scholar Ellen T. Harris offers a pre-concert talk at 7pm.

Other instrumental programs during the week include: fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and violinist Rachel Podger in an exhilarating performance of Mozart sonatas; celebrated cornetto virtuoso Bruce Dickey offers a breathtaking program of songs for cornetto and chamber ensemble; Concerto Palatino return to BEMF with masterpieces from the grand cathedral of Venice; the exciting young instrumentalists of Nevermind make their BEMF début in a program of Baroque chamber music from France and Germany; BEMF mainstays Quicksilver perform an evening of passionate, festive, and melancholy music from 17th-century Germany; thrilling young recorder virtuoso Stefan Temmingh makes his American début alongside keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout in a duo recital of music by Corelli and others; and harpsichordist Béatrice Martin makes her BEMF début in two programs: a recital of music by Rameau, Scarlatti, and Vivaldi, and alongside magnificent viola da gamba virtuoso and frequent guest of BEMF, Philippe Pierlot—in captivating music by Marais, Couperin, and Forqueray.

Other vocal programs on the Festival schedule include: the North American début of Ensemble Correspondances in a sumptuous program of vocal music by Charpentier; the outstanding Medieval music ensemble Dialogos explore haunting works written for the Anglo-Saxon saint Swithun; Concerto Romano make their BEMF début in the modern-day premiere of Bernardo Pasquini’s 1687 oratorio, Il San Vito; returning to the BEMF concert stage, Micrologus offers a vibrant evening inspired by the Venetian Carnivals of the 16th-century; the engaging Mexican Baroque ensemble Tembembe Ensamble Continuo trace the musical journey from Europe to the New World; and one of Europe’s premiere vocal quintets, Cinquecento makes their BEMF début in a colorful portrait spanning the austere to the bawdy from Renaissance Florence.

In addition to the schedule of Festival Concerts, BEMF will offer two Mini-Festivals during the week. David Yearsley directs the Organ Mini-Festival on Thursday, June 15 at The First Lutheran Church of Boston, with performances by three internationally acclaimed organ virtuosos: Benjamin Alard, Christa Rakich, and David Yearsley. On Friday, June 16, 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 Benjamin Alard on harpsichord, Ian Watson on fortepiano, and Béatrice Martin on clavichord.

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

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 conservatories and schools of music. Returning to the Courtyard Marriott Boston Downtown at 275 Tremont Street, Boston, these specialists will be on hand Wednesday, June 14 through Saturday, June 17 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 2017 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 17 where children and parents alike can enjoy an engaging tour of the Exhibition’s instrument-makers and a fun introduction to the music and dance of the Baroque period led by BEMF Dance Ensemble member Caitlin Klinger. Family Day admission is FREE for parents and children.

On Friday, June 16, 2017 at 3:30pm, BEMF will present a special concert in Emmanuel Church’s Parish Hall featuring members of the BEMF Young Artists Training Program. Founded in 2011 by Opera Director Gilbert Blin, this program is an integrated component of our Centerpiece Opera productions, nurturing talented young artists through training and performance opportunities. This concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature excerpts from Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise performed by the nine singers of the program, led by the 2017 program’s Associate Director, Jason McStoots, and accompanied by répétiteur Jeffrey Grossman.

Other concurrent events for the 2017 Festival include: Performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians; the Gala Opening Night Reception on Sunday, June 11 at the Courtyard Marriott Boston Downtown; Dance Workshops; Pre-Opera Talks featuring noted French Baroque scholar and Cornell University Professor Rebecca Harris-Warrick, and a remarkable array of dozens of 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.

Concert tickets range from $25 to $70. Chamber Opera tickets range from $25 to $105 while Centerpiece Opera tickets range from $30 to $250. Tickets are available from the BEMF Box Office online at or by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription Packages of four or more concerts are also available with discounts up to 20% off. Individual tickets for the Centerpiece Opera are available through the Box Office at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at or 617-824-8000.

PROMOTIONAL PARTNER | The Neurosciences and Music VI - Music, Sound and Health
BEMF is proud to be a promotional partner with "The Neurosciences and Music VI" Conference, taking place in Boston from June 15 to June 18. The meeting - organized by The Mariani Foundation for Pediatric Neurology in partnership with Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - is conceived as a continuation of the previous "Neuromusic" conferences, and will be of interest to neuroscientists, psychologists, clinicians, and professionals in the medical field, as well as to therapists, educators, musicians, musicologists, and students in each of these fields. The central theme of this sixth edition is Music, Sound and Health.

2017 Festival Press Ticket Policy:
Press Images:

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, Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and Dance Director Melinda Sullivan.

The 2017 Boston Early Music Festival is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, 99.5 WCRB, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, and the Institut Français.

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