Pre-Opera Talks

2019 Festival | June 9–16, 2019

Pre-Opera and Pre-Concert Talks

All Pre-Opera and Pre-Concert Talks will premiere on our YouTube channel and will be available through July 11, 2021.


PRE-OPERA TALK | Sunday, June 6, 1pm–2:30pm | FREE on YouTube

Producing and Performing André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise
Join us for an engaging conversation about the evolution of BEMF’s 2017 North American premiere production of Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise. Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Professor of Music at Cornell University, moderates a panel of specialists—including Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Musical Directors; Gilbert Blin, BEMF Stage Director and Set Designer; Robert Mealy, BEMF Orchestra Director; and Caroline Copeland, BEMF Choreographer—as they explore the meticulous research and careful attention that was undertaken to bring this opéra-ballet to the stage.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Monday, June 7 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

Da Vinci and Dance
Presented by Catherine Turocy, Founder and Artistic Director, New York Baroque Dance Company

In Leonardo da Vinci’s description of the Vitruvian Man, he not only lays out principles of proportion and beauty, but he also describes the body’s relationship to nature and the concept of the body as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the Universe. The art of ballet—beginning in the Renaissance through the 18th century (and beyond)—is based on cosmic theory discussed in Da Vinci’s work. This pre-concert talk—complete with a movement component and slides—explores the microcosm of the body, notions of measure and proportion as they are seen and heard, and explains how a movement in music is directly related to dance theory.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Tuesday, June 8 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

Liturgy and Homage in Jean Richafort’s Setting of the Requiem Mass
Presented by Suzannah Clark, Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music, Harvard University

This talk will highlight key features of the Requiem up to Jean Richafort’s time in order draw out the distinctive compositional traits of Richafort’s setting. In particular, we will focus on Richafort’s choice of chant melody and possible meanings behind his references to Josquin’s music.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Wednesday, June 9 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

Passionate Pavans and Aeirs both Grave and Light: Exploring the dance music of Dowland and Holborne
Presented by John Bryan, Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield, UK

Dowland’s Lachrimae of 1604 opens with a magnificent pavan cycle of seven “teares” for lute and five viols, music which travels from darkness to light. How did Dowland and his contemporary Holborne transform simple dances into music of such eloquence and artistry? Professor Bryan explores this question and others, during this illuminating talk complete with slides.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Wednesday, June 9 at 9:30pm | FREE on YouTube

Dancing in our Chairs: The making of Juilliard415’s Baroque dance mix
Presented by Robert Mealy, Director of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program

One of the most important musical languages that Juilliard’s Historical Performance students learn during their intensive two years is the subtle grammar of the French Baroque, and all the dance forms that are at the heart of French instrumental style. Director Robert Mealy discusses how his students discovered how to dance in their playing, and what they learned from both the BEMF company dancers and the modern Juilliard dancers that collaborated on this program.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Thursday, June 10 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

Handel, Cardinal Pamphilj, and the voices of lamenting women
Presented by Ellen T. Harris, Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus at MIT

Handel’s Italian cantatas were a proving ground of Handel’s mature dramatic style. While he found the breadth and depth of his own expressive voice in the voices of abandoned women, he also learned, especially from leading members of the Arcadian Academy in Rome, how to control this feminized lamenting with the rational, masculinized principles of style and structure. And at both extremes he wrote some of the most beautiful and remarkable music of his entire career.


PRE-CONCERT TALK | Friday, June 11 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

The Hall of Mirrors
Moderated by Kathleen Fay, BEMF Executive Director, with Paul O’Dette, BEMF Artistic Co-Director; Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Artistic Co-Director; and Robert Mealy, BEMF Orchestra Director

One of the stimulating ironies of working with Monteverdi’s music is that while we do everything we can to understand and revive the lost art of Monteverdi and his contemporaries, they had their eyes firmly fixed on the glories of ancient Greek music and drama. What can Monteverdi’s attempted revival of the ancients teach us about reviving his art? BEMF Directors Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs, and Robert Mealy explore this question and others, during an enlightening discussion prior to the premiere broadcast of a recently recorded performance of duets and trios by Monteverdi featuring the BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles.


PRE-OPERA TALK | Saturday, June 12 at 7pm | FREE on YouTube

Pergolesi’s Intermezzi: Soundtracks to Lost Movies

Moderated by Kathleen Fay, BEMF Executive Director, with Paul O’Dette, BEMF Artistic Co-Director; Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Artistic Co-Director; Gilbert Blin, BEMF Opera Director; Robert Mealy, BEMF Orchestra Director; and Melinda Sullivan, BEMF Dance Director

More than almost any other musical scores, Pergolesi’s music for his comic Intermezzi encodes not only the way his music should sound, but literally also teaches us the comic timing for a robust and successful staging. All you need is musicians with ears to hear, stage directors with eyes to see, and above all superbly talented singing actors to bring it all roaring back to life. BEMF’s brilliant directorial team discuss bringing Pergloesi’s beloved La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo to life!