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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2010
CONTACT: Kathleen Fay, Executive Director
617-661-1812 |

The Boston Early Music Festival Presents Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the Third Annual Chamber Opera Series

Cambridge, MA – November 16, 2010- The Boston Early Music Festival will present the third in its annual series of Baroque chamber operas, Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, as part of its annual concert season on Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 8pm and Sunday, November 28, 2010 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.


Dido and Aeneas 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; and Choreographer Melinda Sullivan. Starring in the title role of Dido will be mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, who last appeared with BEMF in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at the 2009 Festival and was singled out for praise by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Boston Globe, and others. Joining Ms. Pudwell, in the role of Aeneas, will be bass-baritone Douglas Williams, acclaimed for his “wide range and flexibility” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) for his performance as Polyphemus in BEMF’s Chamber Opera production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2009. Joining them will be a 13-member BEMF Vocal Ensemble featuring such Boston Early Music Festival favorites as Yulia Van Doren and Teresa Wakim, five dancers with the BEMF Baroque Dance Ensemble including Featured Baroque Dancers Caroline Copeland and Carlos Fittante, and the seven member BEMF Chamber Ensemble.

A familiar landmark in operatic history, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas vividly recounts the famous story from Virgil’s Aeneid with a libretto by Nahum Tate. The opera tells the story of the joyous love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and the Trojan hero Aeneas—and their ill-fated separation, leading to Dido’s famous dying lament.  While the opera has enjoyed tremendous popularity in the past century, its early history is shrouded in mystery, though many musicologists speculate that it was first composed for the English royal court. The only piece of the original production to survive is a libretto from an early performance. The earliest copies of the score come at least 60 years after the work was composed, and lack the music for the original prologue as well as incidental music and dances indicated in the score.


BEMF Co-Musical Director Stephen Stubbs observes, “one could think of Dido and Aeneas as a noble torso, like the Venus de Milo, in need of some additions to create an impression of completeness.” To fill in these gaps, Stubbs, along with Co-Musical Director Paul O’Dette and Stage Director Gilbert Blin, have personally researched and selected courtly odes and dances from the late 17th century by Purcell and others to fill in for the lost music, offering audiences a unique opportunity to experience the same scope of entertainment in the original production.
WHO: Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series
WHEN: Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 8pm
Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 3pm

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


Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

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

Laura Pudwell, Dido, Queen of Carthage
Douglas Williams, Aeneas, Trojan Prince
Yulia Van Doren, Belinda, Dido's sister & Vocal Ensemble
Teresa Wakim, Second Woman, Lady in Waiting for Dido & Vocal Ensemble
Brenna Wells, First Witch/First Enchantress & Vocal Ensemble
Carrie Henneman Shaw, Second Witch/Second Enchantress & Vocal Ensemble
Jose Lemos, Spirit in form of Mercury & Vocal Ensemble
Thea Lobo, Vocal Ensemble
Annie Rosen, Vocal Ensemble
Jason McStoots, Sorceress & Vocal Ensemble
Zachary Wilder, Sailor & Vocal Ensemble
Michael Barrett, Vocal Ensemble
Ulysses Thomas, Vocal Ensemble
John Proft, Vocal Ensemble
Olivier Laquerre, Vocal Ensemble

Caroline Copeland & Carlos Fittante, Featured Baroque Dancers
Justin Coates, Caitlin Klinger, and Alexis Silver, BEMF Dance Ensemble


Paul O’Dette, Baroque guitar & theorbo
Stephen Stubbs, Baroque guitar & theorbo
Robert Mealy, violin I
Cynthia Freivogel, violin II
Laura Jeppesen, viola

Phoebe Carrai, ‘cello
Avi Stein, harpsichord

TICKETS: Tickets priced at $19, $38, $49, $66, and $125 each can be purchased at WWW.BEMF.ORG and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more 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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In 2008, BEMF took this 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; both works are based on myths from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and tell stories of unfortunate hunters who cross paths with female deities and explore themes of transformation. Hailed by the Boston Globe as “vivid performances of two seldom-heard works” and “a highly welcome addition to the local concert calendar,” BEMF offered an encore presentation at the June 2009 Festival, which the Wall Street Journal described as “charming…delightful…[and] especially poignant.” Charpentier’s Actéon was recorded for release as the fourth BEMF Opera CD and will be sold by BEMF at the performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Blow’s Venus and Adonis is scheduled to be released as the fifth BEMF Opera CD in June 2011.

In 2009, BEMF offered a production of Handel’s original 1718 chamber version of Acis and Galatea which The Boston Globe called “Musically impeccable.” In the spring of 2011, this production will tour six cities across North America bringing the BEMF Chamber Opera Series to audiences in Seattle, Vancouver, Kansas City, and New York before returning for encore presentations at the June 2011 Festival in Boston and Great Barrington, MA.



Recognized as the preeminent early music presenting organization 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 fully staged operatic centerpiece of the 16th Festival and Exhibition in 2011 will be the North American premiere of Agostino Steffani’s Niobe, Queen of Thebes led by BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, and Stage Director and Set Designer Gilbert Blin. The international cast will include soprano Amanda Forsythe in the title role and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky as Anfione.

The 2010–2011 Boston Early Music Festival concert season 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.

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