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Press Release


MEDIA ALERT: BEMF concludes its 2014–2015 Concert Season with Vocal Delights from Monteverdi and Handel featuring soprano Amanda Forsythe and countertenor David Hansen

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ARTIST: Amanda Forsythe, soprano
David Hansen, countertenor

BEMF Chamber Ensemble
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Johanna Novom & Theresa Salomon, violin; Laura Jeppesen, viola; Phoebe Carrai, violoncello; Michael Sponseller, harpsichord; Stephen Stubbs & Paul O'Dette, chitarrone & guitar
WHEN: Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 7:30pm
Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum,
225 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 8pm
First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  Vocal Delights from Monteverdi and Handel
Claudio Monteverdi: Overture to Poppea (Venice Manuscript)
Monteverdi: Poppea, Act I, sc iii.
Monteverdi: Overture to Poppea (Naples Manuscript)
Monteverdi: Poppea, Act I, sc. x
Dario Castello: Sonata XIV (from Sonate Concertate in Stil Moderno, Book 2, Venice)
Monteverdi: Poppea, Act III, sc. v
Castello: Sonata X (from Sonate Concertate in Stil Moderno, Book 2, Venice)
Monteverdi: “Pur ti miro” from Poppea
George Frideric Handel: “Schönste Rosen” from Almira
Handel: “Torni pure” from Parnasso in Festa
Handel: Trio Sonata, Op. 5, no. 4:
Handel: “Da tempeste” from Giulio Cesare
Handel: “Dopo Notte” from Ariodante
Handel: “Bramo aver mille vite” from Ariodante
TICKETS: Tickets for the Cambridge performance are priced at $19, $38, $49, and $66 each, and can be purchased at WWW.BEMF.ORG and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is offered by calling 617-661-1812.

Tickets for the New York City performance are priced at $35 for Morgan members and $45 for non-members and can be purchased at and 212-685-0008, ext. 560.

The Boston Early Music Festival's 2014–2015 Concert Season in New York City and Boston comes to a triumphant conclusion with a powerhouse recital featuring the stars of BEMF's upcoming June 2015 production of Monteverdi's Poppea. Soprano Amanda Forsythe has dazzled audiences and critics alike during her frequent appearances on the BEMF concert and opera stage. Her performance as Edilia in BEMF's 2013 production of Handel's Almira, garnered rave reviews, among them, The New York Times, referring to her as "simply dazzling" and The Wall Street Journal, proclaiming her "the star of the show." Ms. Forsythe will be joined by superstar Australian countertenor David Hansen in his Boston début. Hailed as one of the "new breed of matinée-idol countertenors" by The New Yorker, Mr. Hansen has been highly praised around the globe for "his beautiful voice with artistry and intelligence." (Herald Sun)

Accompanying these two exceptional singers, BEMF's GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs will lead the remarkable instrumentalists of the BEMF Chamber Ensemble. Directors O'Dette and Stubbs have assembled a truly gorgeous program of vocal delights featuring scenes from Monteverdi's Poppea and sparkling arias by Handel, as well as a number of brilliantly virtuosic instrumental gems.

Since soprano Amanda Forsythe’s 2007 European operatic début at the Rossini Opera Festival, she has appeared in theaters such as the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. A beloved veteran of BEMF, Ms. Forsythe has performed in Lully’s Psyché and Blow’s Venus and Adonis (as well as on the subsequent recordings of both operas), in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and most recently, in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo. She can be heard on BEMF’s GRAMMY-winning recording of La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs, as well as their newly released recording of Niobe, Regina di Tebe. The New York Times described Ms. Forsythe as “simply dazzling in her fioritura and her altitudinous rages” as Princess Edilia in the 2013 Festival production of Handel’s Almira.

Australian countertenor David Hansen makes his BEMF début in advance of his highly anticipated appearances as Nerone in this June’s production of Monteverdi’s Poppea. His voice has been described by The Telegraph as “virile yet mellifluous, words strongly articulated, his performing style grippingly intense and supple of character.” Operatic highlights include title roles in Handel’s Fernando for the Spoleto Festival, Bontempi’s Il Paride at Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, and Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe at Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci. His début solo recording, Rivals: Arias for Farinelli & Co., with Academia Montis Regalis and Alessandro De Marchi, was released in August 2013 to critical acclaim. Of his concert performances singing the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Melbourne’s Herald Sun raved, “You will probably never see or hear a better countertenor in the title role. David Hansen is dazzling, with a brilliant coloratura and a beautifully even tone. Artistic and emotional, he is highly impressive.”

Lutenist Paul O’Dette has been called “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument” by the Globe and Mail. Performing, conducting, and teaching all over the world, he has helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which 21st-century performers of early music aspire. Mr. O’Dette has made more than 130 recordings, earning multiple GRAMMY nominations—and most recently, a GRAMMY win for BEMF’s 2014 recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. He is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music, and an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of 17th-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute music.

After a thirty-year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs has established himself as one of the world's most respected lutenists, conductors, and music educators. In 1987 he founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, whose numerous recordings have won prestigious prizes, including the Gramophone and Edison awards. In 2007, Mr. Stubbs established Pacific MusicWorks, a new production company based in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. In 2013, he was appointed Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music. Having performed with and co-directed BEMF’s Festival operas since 1997, he has appeared on all of BEMF’s opera recordings, including the GRAMMY-winning La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs.

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

The 2014–2015 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