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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 11, 2014

The Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series presents a double bill of comic opera—featuring Pergolesi's La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo—over Thanksgiving Weekend

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Cambridge, MA –The Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series presents a double bill of Neapolitan comic opera - Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo - on Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 8pm and Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 3pm at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. Now in its seventh year, the BEMF Chamber Opera Series has quickly become a "popular tradition among local early music fans," (The Boston Globe) with intimate productions of beloved operatic masterpieces each Thanksgiving weekend.

"La serva padrona is one of the pieces which can be said without hyperbole to have changed the course of musical history," observes Musical Co-Director Stephen Stubbs. "Of course the delightful arias and the witty repartee are of a very high quality, but it was the astoundingly long and enthusiastic reception of the piece - and its brilliant though lesser known sister, Livietta e Tracollo - that legitimized the virtues of the Italians’ opera buffa and paved the way for the operatic comedies of Mozart!"

Pergolesi's delightfully witty comedies come to life in an intimate chamber production featuring lavish costumes and effervescent period staging led by three-time Grammy-nominated BEMF 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; and Lighting Designer Lenore Doxsee. 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 four soloists appear alongside the thirteen (13) member BEMF Chamber Ensemble as well as three (3) members of the BEMF Dance Ensemble, who bring to the stage craft their extensive experience with commedia dell’arte.

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 premiered in 1733 in Naples, 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. In a nod to the original presentations of these operas, for this new production Stage Director Gilbert Blin will alternate between scenes of the two works.

WHO: Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles
WHEN: Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 8pm
Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 3pm

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

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's La serva padrona
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Livietta e Tracollo

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

Amanda Forsythe, Serpina
Erica Schuller, Livietta
Douglas Williams, Uberto
Jesse Blumberg, Tracollo

Caroline Copeland, Fulvia
Carlos Fittante, Vespone
Ryan Began, Facenda

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster
Sarah Darling, violin
Laura Jeppesen, viola
Phoebe Carrai, violoncello
Robert Nairn, bass
Gonzalo X. Ruiz & Kathryn Montoya, oboe & recorder
Marilyn Boenau, bassoon
James Hampson & Elisabeth Axtell, horn
Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs, theorbo
Avi Stein, harpsichord

TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $19, $38, $49, $66, and $125 each, and can be purchased at WWW.BEMF.ORG and 617-661-1812, as well as through the Jordan Hall Box Office located at 30 Gainsborough Street in Boston and by telephone at 617-585-1260; 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.

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Hailed by The Boston Globe for "vivid performances," since 2008 the BEMF Chamber Opera Series has taken the internationally acclaimed musicianship, scholarship, and direction showcased in BEMF's fully staged Festival operas and focused it on small-scale works in intimate productions each Thanksgiving weekend. Two productions from the Chamber Opera Series have also been presented on tour across North America: Handel's Acis and Galatea in 2011 and Charpentier's La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs in 2014.

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 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