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CONTACT: Kathleen Fay, Executive Director
617-661-1812 |

The Boston Early Music Festival Presents Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the Fifth Annual Chamber Opera Series on Thanksgiving weekend, November 24 and November 25 at NEC’s Jordan Hall.

Cambridge, MA – November 5, 2012- The Boston Early Music Festival will present the fifth in its annual series of Baroque chamber operas, Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo, as part of its annual concert season on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8pm and Sunday, November 25 at 3pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street in Boston, MA). Tickets are priced at $19, $38, $49, $66, and $125 are available through the Boston Early Music Festival at 617-661-1812 or at WWW.BEMF.ORG, as well as through the Jordan Hall Box Office located at 30 Gainsborough Street in Boston and by telephone at 617-585-1260.

Orfeo will be led by three-time Grammy-nominated BEMF Artistic Co-Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs; along with Stage Director Gilbert Blin; Costume Designer Anna Watkins; Choreographer Melinda Sullivan; and Lighting Designer Lenore Doxsee. Starring in the title role will be tenor Aaron Sheehan, praised as “musically intelligent and dramatically affecting” by The Boston Globe for his appearance in the title role of BEMF’s 2011 Chamber Opera Series production of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers. A frequent BEMF opera cast member, his past appearances include the lead in the 2008 Chamber Opera Series production of Charpentier’s Actéon and L’Amour in the 2007 Festival Centerpiece and subsequent Grammy-nominated recording of Lully’s Psyche, and Acis in the 2009 Chamber Opera Series and subsequent 2011 North American tour of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Sheehan leads a vocal cast of favorites from past BEMF opera productions and concert performances, including Teresa Wakim, Mireille Asselin, Shannon Mercer, Ryland Angel, Jason McStoots, Charles Blandy, Olivier Laquerre, and Douglas Williams. They appear alongside Baroque dancer Carlos Fittante, the ten member BEMF Chamber Ensemble including concertmaster Robert Mealy and a brass section from the world-renowend Baroque wind ensemble Concerto Palatino, directed by Bruce Dickey and Charles Toet.

Widely regarded as the first great opera, Monteverdi’s Orfeo defined an art form still in its infancy with rich instrumental colors, dramatic word painting, and a virtuosic opulence of tone and texture. Breathtaking in its beauty and variety, this iconic masterpiece features one of opera’s most adored stories, adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in a libretto by Alessandro Striggio, in which the heroic Orfeo endures the tragic death of his beloved Euridice, and travels to the underworld to plead for her return.

While Monteverdi’s Orfeo is often staged in large-scale productions (including a production by BEMF at the June 1993 Festival), the 1607 premiere was a much more intimate occasion, mounted in the private apartments of the Duke of Mantua. The Duke was an avid patron of the arts and was keen to task Monteverdi, his Court Musical Director, with experimenting with the nascent art form of opera, combining music and theater in one entertainment. BEMF’s internationally acclaimed directors look to this performance as inspiration as they stage this masterpiece in an exquisite semi-staged production featuring lavish costumes, lighting, and Baroque dance.


Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series


Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8pm
Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 3pm

WHERE: New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo

Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer
Melinda Sullivan, Choreographer
Lenore Doxsee, Lighting Designer

Vocal Cast
Aaron Sheehan, Orfeo
Teresa Wakim, Ninfa & Proserpina
Mireille Asselin, La Musica & Euridice
Shannon Mercer, Messagiera  | 
Ryland Angel, Pastore I & Speranza
Jason McStoots, Pastore II & Apollo  | 
Charles Blandy, Pastore III
Olivier Laquerre, Plutone  | 
Douglas Williams, Pastore IV & Caronte

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber EnsembleRobert Mealy, concertmaster

Featuring Concerto Palatino
Bruce Dickey & Charles Toet, directors

Julie Andrijeski, violin II
Laura Jeppesen, viola
Phoebe Carrai, violoncello
Bruce Dickey, cornet I and recorder I
Doron Sherwin, cornet II
Charles Toet, trombone I
Catherine Motuz, trombone II and  trumpet II
Greg Ingles, trombone III
Mack Ramsey, trombone IV and recorder II
Joost Swinkels, trombone V
Nathan Botts, trumpet I
Avi Stein, harpsichord
Paul O’Dette, chitarrone
Stephen Stubbs, chitarrone, harpsichord, and regal
Maxine Eilander, Baroque harp
Erin Headley, viola da gamba, lirone

Carlos Fittante, Baroque dancer


Tickets are priced at $19, $38, $49, $66 and $125 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.

Individual tickets are also available through the Jordan Hall Box Office located at 30 Gainsborough Street in Boston and by telephone at 617-585-1260.

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In 2008, BEMF took the same level of musicianship and scholarship employed in their fully-staged Festival opera productions and directed it towards small-scale works with the introduction of the BEMF Chamber Opera Series. Each production would feature intimate staging with full costumes and elements of Baroque dance. The inaugural production in November 2008 paired Charpentier’s Actéon with Blow’s Venus and Adonis and was hailed by the Boston Globe as “vivid performances of two seldom-heard works” and “a highly welcome addition to the local concert calendar.” Subsequent productions include Handel’s original 1718 chamber version of Acis and Galatea in 2009 and a 2011 North American Tour, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2010, and a double bill of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs in 2011. Recordings of Charpentier’s Actéon and Blow’s Venus and Adonis have been released by the German label CPO (Classic Produktion Osnabrück).


Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, the Boston Early Music Festival 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 17th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 9–16, 2013, and will be highlighted by several performances of Almira, the first opera by the celebrated and prolific composer, George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), in its first fully staged and historically conceived production outside of Germany.

The 2012–2013 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, 99.5 All Classical, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation, U. S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management, and GTC Law Group.

Dates, times, venues, artists, and programs are subject to change.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email or contact Brian Stuart, Director of Marketing and Publicity, at 617-661-1812 or email