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BEMF Chamber Opera
Lully’s Psyché
Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow
Conradi’s Ariadne
Lully’s Thésée


Press Reviews

Opera Reviews 

Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea
2009 operatic centerpiece

The biennial Boston Early Music Festival, currently in full swing at venues around the city, has as its centerpiece a delightful new production of the composers late masterpiece L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea), which opened on Saturday night at the Calderwood Pavilion...Director Gilbert Blin and the creative team have labored assiduously to summon the look, the sound, and the spirit of Monteverdis day, from the hand gestures down to the decorative flourishes on the footwear... BEMF’s new production is an elegantly staged affair that breathes with the music. The lavish costumes are by Anna Watkins and the unobtrusive period set is designed by Blin...  Read the full review

The Boston Globe

More Reviews of Monteverdi's Poppea

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 

Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Charpentier’s Actéon
2008 BEMF Chamber Opera

“The Boston Early Music Festival attracts crowds from near and far for its biennial productions of Baroque opera…the idea of BEMF putting its artistic resources and institutional expertise behind smaller, gem-like chamber operas is, in short, a no brainer.  Judging from the evidence of Saturday’s vivid performances of these two seldom-heard works, this new annual series should be a highly welcome addition to the local concert calendar…both the solo and ensemble singing were at a uniformly high level…the loudest cheers understandably went to the superb BEMF Chamber Nesemble, led by violinist Robert Mealy, with Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.”

The Boston Globe

“The baroque chamber operas “Venus and Adonis” and “Actéon” call for deities and hunters of mythical beauty…In stage director Gilbert Blin’s elegant solution, the Boston Early Music Festival’s singers and dancers played hunt-loving 17th-century aristocrats, tossing shimmering mini-togas over waistcoat and corset to bask in classical idylls at home…like the hostess of an abnormally talented garden party, Mireille Lebel presided over the gathering, catalyzing action with graceful, long-limbed gestures.”

The Boston Herald

“Music directors Paul O’Dette (early music’s most celebrated lutenist) and Stephen Stubbs (on guitar) led a who’s who of stylish early-music players…soprano Amanda Forsythe (Venus)…is an outstanding artist and a riveting stage presence…in the best music—the final choral lamentations over the deaths of the heroes—a stageful of superb soloists merged into a superb ensemble.”

The Boston Phoenix

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Lully’s Psyché
2007 operatic centerpiece

“The centerpiece of the biennial Boston Early Music Festival is always an opera, performed and staged in period style.  This year’s project was an outstanding production of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Psyché (1678), receiving its North American premiere…this Psyché makes its audiences feel like members of a 17th-century French royal court, experiencing its art as an immediate, living creation.  There is nothing modern about it, which is what makes it special…The engine was the large and splendid period-instrument orchestra, led by violinist Robert Mealy…an exquisite and vibrant realization of something that would otherwise be lost in the past.  Some smart presenter should grab it and bring it to New York, Paris and beyond.”

The Wall Street Journal

“A resounding success…the large cast and chorus sang with razor-sharp clarity and stellar musicianship…the BEMF orchestra played with spirit, heart and energy.”

Opera News

“There is much to admire in [Psyché]…it is generous in melody, rhythmically vital, and full of assured and beautiful vocal writing.”

The Boston Globe

“Sumptuous.”

The Financial Times

“Everything about the production seemed honed to perfection.”

The Berkshire Eagle

“Lully’s harmonies could break your heart.”

The Village Voice

“Perfection in all the arts is often elusive, but with "Psyché," the Boston Early Music Festival artists have achieved it.”

The Register-Star

“Impeccable.”

The Albany Times Union

“Psyche has it all: drama, luxuriant costumes, compelling sets, great dancing and blocking and great music by Lully (1632-1687), the founder of French opera.”

The Boston Herald

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Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow
2005 operatic centerpiece

“Mattheson’s music, specifically his seventh opera, Boris Goudenow, which barely escaped oblivion during World War II, came out from hiding in archival anonymity to be fully staged for the Boston Early Music Festival…ensembles, which Handel avoids, make up some of the most beautiful duets, trios, and quartets in Boris.  The opera has stirred the pot; no doubt more of Mattheson’s music will be peeking out from behind the curtain soon.”

Goldberg Magazine

“It isn’t every day that one attends the world premiere of an opera nearly 300 years old.  But thanks to the efforts of the Boston Early Music Festival, Johann Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow, composed in 1710, finally reached the stage…Mattheson’s score is filled with elegant, shapely melodies…the musicians of the BEMF Orchestra, under music directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, played with verve and zest.”

Opera News

“If there were any doubts about this opera, they were put to rest by a beautifully rendered production.  Boris held the audience from beginning to end.  David Cockayne’s sets and Anna Watkins’s costumes provided a strikingly exotic Russian setting…the stage direction by Lucy Graham and Nils Niemann was engaging…Lucy Graham’s choreography and the ensemble of dancers were at the level of excellence that festival audiences have come to expect.”

Early Music UK

“The crowd [to roar] its loudest approval when [music directors O’Dette and Stubbs] appeared onstage at the end.  Either one of them could have seized the scepter and been proclaimed Czar.”

The Boston Globe

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Conradi’s Ariadne
2003 operatic centerpiece

“The best opera nobody has heard of.”

The Berkshire Eagle

“Karina Gauvain brought the house down…by singing as fast as Cecilia Bartoli, and with as much tonal allure.”

The Boston Globe

“The creamy-voiced Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin commanded both vocal firepower and human sympathy.”

The Berkshire Eagle

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Lully’s Thésée
2001 operatic centerpiece

Thésée unfolds on a comparably superior musical level.”

The Boston Globe

“Lully’s music, filled with rhythmic surprise and winning melody, reaches us easily and directly.”

The New York Times

“The program opened with an orchestral showpiece, a suite from still another BEMF opera, Lully’s ‘Thésée,’ played with ardent, stylish expertise by the BEMF orchestra, which continues to redefine the art of baroque playing.”

The Boston Globe

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