Press Release


Boston Early Music Festival Announces 2018–2019 Season

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• Thirteen performances in Boston and New York City;
• The GRAMMY Award-winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series returns with the first opera by a woman composer, Francesca Caccini’s Alcina;
• Returning artists and ensembles include Jordi Savall & Le Concert des Nations, The Tallis Scholars, Les Talens Lyriques, and the BEMF Orchestra;
• Concert Series débuts by Ensemble Correspondances and Han Tol & Boreas Quartett Bremen

Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival is pleased to announce that subscription packages and individual tickets are now on sale for our 2018–2019 Season, our 29th year of bringing the world’s very best Early Music artists and ensembles to Boston in an annual series of concerts. The 2018–2019 Season will also include an all-new production from the GRAMMY-winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series in Boston and New York City in late November.

“One of the nation’s foremost Early Music organizations.”
–The New Yorker

BEMF opens our 2018–2019 Season in Boston and New York City with a long-awaited return engagement for Les Talens Lyriques, directed by harpsichord virtuoso Christophe Rousset. Making their first appearance since 2004, this intimate chamber ensemble celebrates the music of François Couperin as we approach the composer’s 350th birthday with a selection of lyrical and expressive masterpieces on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 4pm at Emmanuel Church in Boston and Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 7:30pm at Gilder Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

BEMF’s own GRAMMY-winning Chamber Opera Series returns to Boston and New York City in November with an all-new production of the first opera by a woman composer—Francesca Caccini’s Alcina. A contemporary of Monteverdi and colleague of Galileo, Caccini was one of the most important musical figures at the Medici court in Florence. Her Alcina is a brilliant entertainment, full of wit, magic, and drama, with a demanding title role first sung by the composer herself. Don’t miss this “popular tradition among local early music fans” (The Boston Globe) on Thanksgiving weekend in Boston, Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 8pmand Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall and in New York City on Monday, November 26, 2018 at 7:30pm and Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:30pm at Gilder Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library & Museum. GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs along with renowned Stage Director Gilbert Blin lead a spectacular new production with a stellar cast of singers, including Shannon Mercer as the sorceress Alcina, Colin Balzer as her captive, the warrior Ruggiero, and Kelsey Lauritanoas the valiant magician Melissa. Additional members of the directorial team for the production include Robert Mealy, Concertmaster of the all-star BEMF Chamber Ensemble, Costume Designer Anna Watkins, Choreographer Melinda Sullivan, and Executive Producer Kathleen Fay.

Returning to Boston for their 30th consecutive season, The Tallis Scholars and director Peter Phillips offer a festive program for the Christmas Season on Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8pm, at St. Paul Church in Cambridge. These legendary singers are renowned for performances of unparalleled clarity that illuminate the beauty of Renaissance polyphony. They will perform selections by Palestrina, John Nesbitt, Hieronymus Praetorius, Byrd, and a newly commissioned work by New England composer Nico Muhly.

The holiday celebrations continue on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 8pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge with a sumptuous program of Christmas motets and Advent antiphons by Marc-Antoine Charpentier performed by Ensemble Correspondances. Conducted by Sébastien Daucé, these outstanding singers and instrumentalists have immersed themselves in Charpentier’s music, producing uniquely intimate and passionate interpretations that are admired the world over.

Recorder virtuoso Han Tol has been a frequent collaborator with BEMF throughout his illustrious career, appearing as a featured soloist in Festival concerts, as a member of the Flanders Recorder Quartet, and appearing on BEMF’s GRAMMY-nominated recording of Lully’s Thésée. He returns alongside the dynamic young musicians of Boreas Quartett Bremen in their BEMF début for a journey across centuries of music for recorder consort on Friday, February 1, 2019 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational.

Viol legend Jordi Savall revisits his landmark work on the soundtrack for the classic 1991 film Tous les matins du monde in a stunning program of music from the French Baroque. Join this Early Music superstar with his ensemble Le Concert des Nations in an evocative program of Marais, Sainte-Colombe, Lully, and more on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 2pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge.

A fast-rising star on the international stage, keyboardist Benjamin Alard makes his BEMF concert series début in a double-recital for harpsichord and organ exploring the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Explore Bach’s physical and intellectual travels across the musical styles of Europe in an electrifying program on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 8pm at First Lutheran Church in Boston.

In the season finale, join our own BEMF Orchestra on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. Soprano Amanda Forsythe and baritone Jesse Blumberg are featured in a rare performance of Handel’s cantata Apollo e Dafne led by Robert Mealy and Avi Stein.

Subscriptions and individual tickets for the Boston Concert Series are now on sale through the Boston Early Music Festival Box Office at 617-661-1812 or online at Discounted subscription packages start as low as $54 for three programs. Tickets for the performances at The Morgan Library & Museum will go on sale this August.

The 2018–2019 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, and The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation.

Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and four GRAMMY Award-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 20th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 9–16, 2019, and feature the fully staged North American premiere of Agostino Steffani’s Orlando as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and Dance Director Melinda Sullivan.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email