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Press Release


Boston Early Music Festival returns to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington with a double bill of comic operas by Pergolesi — June 24 & 25, 2017

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Cambridge, MA – The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) will return to the Berkshires this summer with a double bill of Neapolitan comic opera by Pergolesi. Winner of the 2015 GRAMMY® Award for Best Opera Recording, BEMF will present encore performances of its 2014 production of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo at the splendid Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, MA), 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.

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 débuted a year later as part of festivities for a royal birthday, and features the con-artist, Tracollo, who meets his match in a peasant girl, Livietta, out to avenge her wronged brother. For this 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, Movement Coordinator Melinda Sullivan, Lighting Designer Kelly Martin, and Executive Producer Kathleen Fay. 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 Company.

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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, 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