2007 Lully’s Psyché

BEMF Opera | 2007 Centerpiece Opera

Lully’s Psyché

June 12, 13, 15, and 16, 2007
Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, Boston, MA

June 22, 23, and 24, 2007
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Returning to the lavish world of Louis XIV’s Versailles—home of the memorable 2001 Boston Early Music Festival production of Lully’s Thésée—Psyché was originally composed as a tragi-comédie et ballet in 1671 and represented the final product of the famous and successful partnership between Lully and Molière. In 1678 it was transformed into a magnificent tragédie lyrique which Lully created with the librettist Thomas Corneille, and it became on of Lully’s most beloved operas. With performances mounted throughout Europe will into the 18th century, an enormous number of musical manuscripts now survive for this one work. The variety of sources, coupled with the opera’s unusually versatile cast of singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and numerous stage machines have made modern stagings of Psyché nearly impossible—until now.

The challenges Psyché presents offer the Boston Early Music Festival a perfect opportunity to display the many strengths we have developed over the past decade: an all-star, GRAMMY-nominated Baroque orchestra; a cast of leading international opera stars; a colorful troupe of Baroque dancers and commedia artists bringing elegance, humor, and theatricality to the stage; awe-inspiring sets, stage machinery, and costumes based on historical models; historically-informed staging with ebullient choreography; and a children’s troupe of gifted singers and dancers, all coming together for another stunning spectacle for the eye and ear.

Lully’s inspired opera recounts Psyché’s mythic saga of power and passion through beautiful melodies and compelling drama. As the most beautiful woman in the world, Psyché is treated by her fellow mortals as a new goddess. This angers the divine Vénus, who enlists the aid of her son Amour to wreak a terrible revenge of Psyché. But he falls hopelessly in love with Psyché and after many heart-wrenching adventures, the couple is finally united in a grand wedding celebration attended by a throng of deities singing, dancing, and merry-making—a true “Feast of the Gods.”

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Directors

Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Lucy Graham, Choreographer
Caleb Wertenbaker, Set Designer
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer & Supervisor
Lenore Doxsee, Lighting Designer
Ellen Hargis, Vocal & Gesture Coach
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer
Melinda Sullivan, Assistant Choreographer & Ballet Mistress
Abbie H. Katz, Associate Producer
John S. Powell, Musicological Advisor


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Artists

Carolyn Sampson, Psyché
Karina Gauvin, Venus
Aaron Sheehan, L’Amour & Apollon
Frederick Metzger and Jake Wilder-Smith, Young L’Amour
Yulia Van Doren, Une Femme Affligée, Troisième Nymphe & Melpomène
Teresa Wakim, Flore & Deuxième Nymphe
Amanda Forsythe, Aglaure, Première Nymphe & Urania
Mireille Lebel, Cidippe, Deuxième Nymphe de l’Acheron & Thalie
Brenna Wells, Première Nymphe de l’Acheron & Une Déesse
Erica Schuller, La Guerre
Ricard Bordas, Bacchus & Premier Homme Affligé
José Lemos, Silène
Jason McStoots, Vertumne, Zephire & Une Furie
Colin Balzer, Vulcain & Mercure
Zachary Wilder, Un Zephir, Une Furie & Un Satyre
Matthew Shaw, Palemon & Jupiter
Michael Barrett, Un Dieu
Aaron Engebreth, Lychas & Mome
Olivier Laquerre, Le Roy, Mars & Une Furie
Sumner Thompson, Le Fleuve & Second Satyre
Douglas Williams, Deuxième Homme Affligé & Un Satyre
Julien Patenaude, Un Dieu

Dancers
Melinda Sullivan, Tina Cassidy, Caroline Copeland, Tim Kasper, Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, Jonathan Phelps, Gilles Poirier & Kaj Sylegård

Commedia Artists
James Banta & Aaron Santos

PALS Children’s Chorus
Jennifer Kane, Artistic Director

Eleanor Bragg, Sylvie Florman, Eliza Fox, Emy Metzger, Frederick Metgzer & Jake Wilder-Smith

Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra
Robert Mealy, leader

Julie Andrijeski, Miloš Valent, Cynthia Roberts & Dagmar Valentová, dessus de violins; Daniel Elyar & Karina Schmitz, haute-contre; David Douglass & Patrick Jordan, taille; Laura Jeppesen & Jennifer Stirling, quinte; Phoebe Carrai, Sarah Freiberg, Brent Wissick & David Morris, basse de violin; Héloïse Degrugillier, Justin Godoy & Tom Zajac, recorder; Gonzalo X. Ruiz, Washington McClain & Kathryn Montoya, oboe & recorder; Debra Nagy, taille d’hautbois & recorder; Marilyn Boenau & Dominic Teresi, bassoon; John Thiessen, Alexander Bonus, Norman Engel & Paul Perfetti, trumpet; Marie-Ange Petit, timpani & percussion; Tom Zajac, percussion; Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs & Catherine Liddell, theorbo & Baroque guitar; Kristian Bezuidenhout & Peter Sykes, harpsichord; Erin Headley, viola da gamba