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MEDIA ALERT: Chamber ensemble Sarasa and soprano Dominique Labelle open BEMF’s 2013–2014 Concert Season in Boston and New York City


Sarasa (United States)
Dominique Labelle, soprano

Elizabeth Blumenstock & Christina Day Martinson, violin
Jenny Stirling, viola
Phoebe Carrai & Timothy Merton, violoncello


Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8pm
First Church in Cambridge, Congregational,
11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 7:30pm
Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY


Music of Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805)

String Quartet, Op. 52, No. 3 in G major, G. 234 (1795)
String Quintet, Op. 18, No. 1 in C minor, G. 283 (1774)
Stabat Mater, G. 532a (Prima versione, 1781)


Tickets for the Cambridge performance 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. Subscription discounts of 10% are available with the purchase of three or more programs.

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

Heralded for their “informed and impassioned music making” (Music & Vision), Boston-based Sarasa has presented concerts throughout the United States and made international appearances in Ireland, Cuba, and India since 1999. For their return to the BEMF concert stage, Sarasa’s ensemble of five virtuoso string players offers a program of elegant chamber music by Italian composer Luigi Boccherini, including the Quintet in C minor, Op. 18, No. 1, the Quartet in G major, Op. 52, No. 3; and the highlight of the evening, Boccherini's sublime Stabat Mater featuring celebrated soprano Dominique Labelle.

The son of a Italian musician, Boccherini was a violoncello prodigy at an early age and traveled throughout Europe before settling in Madrid. He was widely regarded by his contemporaries as one of the greatest composers of his time. His work largely fell into obscurity following his death, perhaps because his compositions did not adhere to dominant Viennese Classical style and its rigid and complex thematic development, focusing instead on melody and rich, instrumental color. It was a distinction noted by French violinist Jean Baptiste Cartier when he remarked, “If God wanted to speak to man through music, he would do so through Haydn’s works; if, however, he wished to listen to music himself, he would choose the works of Boccherini.” Sarasa’s program offers audiences a chance to discover these rare gems for themselves with two stunning masterpieces for string ensemble and a breathtaking rendering of the Stabat Mater featuring a solo Soprano voice. This demanding role is perfectly suited for the acclaimed Dominique Labelle and will make for a thrilling highlight for this gorgeous evening of music.

The Sarasa ensemble performs music from the early Baroque through the Romantic eras. It has been hailed for its “great clarity” and “irresistible energy.” Drawing on a pool of more than seventy-five world-class musicians from the United States, Europe, and Canada, the ensemble varies in size according to the particular program of each of its concerts. Since 1999, the ensemble has produced the Sarasa Chamber Music Series in Cambridge and Concord, Massachusetts. Sarasa has toured throughout New England performing on many renowned music series, including the Frick Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum, the 92nd Street Y, the Boston Early Music Festival Series, and the University of Vermont Lane Series. The group has also performed at the Sligo Early Music Festival in Ireland, and has traveled to Cuba and India. Formed in response to a concert played by its founder, Timothy Merton, in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1997, Sarasa has performed in adult and adolescent correctional facilities, homes for the elderly, mental hospitals, and institutions for the disabled. In 2010, Sarasa won an award from Early Music America for outstanding achievement in outreach.

Soprano Dominique Labelle, whose voice has been called “angelic,” “silvery,” and “vibrant,” has fearlessly plumbed the technical and emotional depths of music throughout her career, turning in performances of “almost alarming ferocity” (San Francisco Chronicle), possessed of “conviction but without exhibitionism” (De Telegraf), that have “the audience hanging on every note” (Boston Globe). Her legendary musicianship and passionate commitment to music-making have led to close and enduring collaborations with a number of the world’s most respected conductors and composers. Recent collaborations include the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Symphony, the Göttingen Festival in Germany, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Among her numerous recordings of opera and concert repertoire is Monsigny’s Le Déserteur, with Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown on the Naxos label. She can also be heard on the Virgin Veritas, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, RCA Victor Red Seal, Koss, Denon, New World, Carus, and Musica Omnia labels. Her recording of Handel’s Arminio on Virgin Classics won the 2002 Handel Prize.

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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 three 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: 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 Morgan Library & Museum
began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding, The Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. Located at Madison Avenue and 36th Street, with a world-renowned collection that ranges from Rembrandt to Picasso, Mozart to Bob Dylan, Dickens to Hemingway, and Gutenberg Bibles to Babar the elephant, The Morgan Library & Museum maintains a unique position among cultural institutions in New York, the nation, and the world. Gilder Lehrman Hall, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, was opened by the Morgan in May 2006, and seats 264 people, providing a uniquely intimate concert venue.

The 2013–2014 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, The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation, and U. S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

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