Amanda Forsythe & BEMF Chamber Ensemble

Festival Concerts | June 6–13, 2021

Amanda Forsythe, soprano
BEMF Chamber Ensemble

Stephen Stubbs, director

Premiered Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8pm (EDT)

Handel as Orpheus | A superstar soprano and favorite of BEMF audiences, Amanda Forsythe joins with director Stephen Stubbs and the all-star Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble for a program exploring Handel’s youthful adventures in Italy. Handel spent much of his Italian holiday in Rome, where Papal decree had banned opera. Handel instead found an ideal outlet for his theatrical sensibilities in the solo cantata, thrilling audiences with his characteristically evocative and passionate writing for soprano. Enjoy a magnificent selection of masterpieces exploring a gamut of emotions, from frenzied madness to crushing laments.

Recorded at the GBH Fraser Performance Studio, Boston, Massachusetts

Length: 1 hour, 16 minutes

This concert premiered on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8pm (EDT) and will remain available until the end of the day on Sunday, July 11, 2021 (EDT).

There was an irresistible freshness to everything she sang.”

—Chicago Tribune


Premieres on Thursday, June 10 at 7pm

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.


Handel as Orpheus

George Frideric Handel: Agrippina condotto a morire, HWV 110
Arcangelo Corelli: Trio Sonata, Op. 3, No. 2
Handel: Col partir la bella Clori, HWV 77
Handel: Sarei troppo felice, HWV 157
Handel: Trio Sonata in F major, HWV 392
Handel: Armida abbandonata, HWV 105


Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
Robert Mealy, concertmaster
Cynthia Roberts, violin
David Morris, violoncello
Maxine Eilander, Baroque harp
Michael Sponseller, harpsichord
Paul O’Dette, theorbo
Stephen Stubbs, theorbo & Baroque guitar


Antonio Oliart Ros, Recording Engineer
Kathy Wittman, Videographer

Double-manual German harpsichord by Allan Winkler, Medford, Massachusetts, 1989, after Fleischer, property of the Boston Early Music Festival.