Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2021 Virtual Festival, Music of Solace & Joy: June 6–13, 2021

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Cambridge, MA – The Boston Early Music Festival announces the full schedule for the 2021 Virtual Festival and Exhibition—with the theme of Music of Solace & Joy—which takes place from June 6 to June 13, 2021. The 21st biennial Festival and Exhibition features an extensive lineup of exclusive performances and free events by over 100 artists from around the world, all available from home, wherever that home might be, including 2 archival opera performances, 14 newly recorded concert performances, a virtual presentation of our world-famous Exhibition, and so much more. A subscription package and individual tickets will soon be available at BEMF.org.

CENTERPIECE OPERA: Campra’S Le CarnAval de Venise
The Operatic Centerpiece of this Virtual Festival will be our fully staged 2017 production of Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise, premiering online on Sunday, June 6, 2021. The delights of the Carnival season come to life in a dazzling spectacle featuring enchanting dances, a colorful parade of period-inspired costumes, and magnificent and awe-inspiring sets. Join four star-crossed lovers as they explore Venice, enjoying games, dances, and even a brilliantly realized “opera within an opera”—a miniature Italian opera on the Orpheus myth. This exquisite gem joins the elegance of French dance with the boisterous hilarity of Italian commedia dell’arte to produce a splendid operatic feast!

“BEMF spares no effort when it stages opera.” —BachTrack

GRAMMY Award–winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and internationally acclaimed Stage Director Gilbert Blin lead the production, with costumes designed by Anna Watkins, choreography by Caroline Copeland, and sets designed by Gilbert Blin. BEMF assembled a truly outstanding cast of 19 singers, including many critically acclaimed favorites from past BEMF productions, such as 3-time GRAMMY-nominated soprano Karina Gauvin, GRAMMY-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan, soprano Amanda Forsythe, GRAMMY-nominated baritone Jesse Blumberg, bass-baritone Douglas Williams, GRAMMY-nominated soprano Teresa Wakim, and others. Joining them are the 27-member Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra led by Concertmaster Robert Mealy, 9 Baroque dancers from the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company under the direction of Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director, and 11 members of the BEMF Young Artists Training Program under the leadership of Gilbert Blin, Founder & Director and Jason McStoots, Associate Director.

CHAMBER OPERA: Pergolesi’s La serva padrona & Livietta e Tracollo
On Saturday, June 12, 2021, BEMF will premiere archival video of its intimate 2014 Chamber Opera Series production of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona & Livietta e Tracollo, led by Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and Stage Director Gilbert Blin. They are joined in the directorial team by Concertmaster Robert Mealy, Costume Designer Anna Watkins, and Movement Coordinator Melinda Sullivan. Soprano Amanda Forsythe, acclaimed by The New York Times as “simply dazzling,” heads a cast of four dynamic singers, all favorites of past BEMF Opera productions. Forsythe sings the role of Serpina in La serva padrona opposite bass-baritone Douglas Williams in the role of Uberto, while soprano Erica Schuller and baritone Jesse Blumberg perform the respective title roles in Livietta e Tracollo. The soloists appear alongside the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble and members of the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Ensemble.

“Zest and earthy opulence.” —The Boston Globe

Originally written as interludes to be performed between acts of a more somber production, Pergolesi’s light-hearted comedies quickly enchanted audiences with their farcical humor and engaging romance. Eventually, these comic operas would be performed on their own to adoring audiences throughout Europe, with Pergolesi acknowledged as an especially significant early composer in this opera buffa style. La serva padrona, which had its premiere in Naples in 1733, tells the tale of a haughty yet cunning maid who conspires to wed her testy employer. Livietta e Tracollo débuted a year later as part of festivities for a royal birthday, and features the con-artist Tracollo, who meets his match in a country girl, Livietta, out to avenge her wronged brother. For this production—in a nod to the original presentations of these operas—Stage Director Gilbert Blin alternates between scenes of the two works.

“If you are interested in early music, this is the place to be.”
The New York Times

FESTIVAL CONCERTS
Hailed as “Heaven…for early music fans” by The New York Times, the 2021 Virtual Festival presents a series of 8 premium concerts showcasing some of the world’s most accomplished Early Music artists and ensembles. Each performance will be newly filmed and recorded—safely and responsibly—and premiere exclusively for BEMF audiences.

The Festival Concert week opens with the return of Doulce Mémoire on Monday, June 7, 2021 at 8pm in an intimate program to celebrate the art of Leonardo di Vinci, recorded at the beautiful residence where the great master lived his final years. Director Denis Raisin Dadre has crafted a selection of Renaissance musical masterworks that he feels are evocative of the great Leonardo’s paintings. On Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 8pm, BEMF welcomes back Renaissance vocal ensemble Cinquecento. Adding a 6th singer for this special occasion, they celebrate the 500th anniversary of composer Josquin des Prez’s death with a performance of an exquisite tribute from his student, Jean Richafort, the Requiem in memoriam Josquin des Prez, alongside a trio of Josquin’s own compositions. Named for the river crossed by Orpheus in his descent to the underworld, L’Achéron was founded in 2009 by viola da gamba virtuoso François Joubert-Caillet. Renowned for their verve and imagination, they make their BEMF début on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 8pm in a program of music by Anthony Holborne and John Dowland.

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 on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8pm. At 10pm that evening, recorder virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf makes his eagerly awaited BEMF début in a recital with harpsichordist Francesco Corti. Regarded as one of the world’s finest recorder players, he presents a program of chamber music by Telemann. On Friday, June 11, 2021 at 8pm, Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs lead the Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles in a performance of selections from Monteverdi’s best vocal duets and other chamber works, featuring soprano Teresa Wakim, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenors Aaron Sheehan and Jason McStoots, and bass-baritone Jonathan Woody. The legendary virtuoso Paul O’Dette then returns at 10pm for a solo recital of Elizabethan lute music. The week of concerts concludes on Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 8pm with the return of ACRONYM, following their breathtaking début at the 2019 Festival. This ensemble has earned a reputation for fearless performances crackling with enthusiasm and joyous camaraderie, and has a roster of some of the finest young instrumentalists in North America.

In addition to the schedule of Festival Concerts, BEMF will offer two Mini-Festivals during the week. The Organ Mini-Festival, premiering on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, will feature performances by three internationally acclaimed organ virtuosos: Leo van Doeselaar, Catalina Vicens, and Benjamin Alard. On Thursday, June 10, 2021, the Keyboard Mini-Festival will premiere three recitals by Benjamin Alard on clavichord, Francesco Corti on harpsichord, and Carmen Leoni on fortepiano.

Alongside the ticketed performances, BEMF will share two free archival concert videos on the BEMF YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/bostonearly/). On Monday, June 7, 2021 BEMF will open the week with an encore presentation from our 2020/21 Virtual Season featuring Ensemble Correspondances directed by Sébastian Daucé, in a showcase of English songs from the politically turbulent 17th century. Their program features the hauntingly expressive voice of mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot, who will perform the title role in the 2023 Festival’s Operatic Centerpiece, Desmarest’s Circé. Then, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 we will share a 2016 performance from the esteemed student ensemble Juilliard415 directed by BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy and showcasing frequent BEMF dancers Caroline Copeland, Carlos Fittante, Alexis Silver, and Andrew Trego.

“One stop shopping for the…historical-performance set.”
The Wall Street Journal

EXHIBITION AND CONCURRENT EVENTS
Since 1981, the heart of the Boston Early Music Festival has been our world-famous Exhibition, visited daily by hundreds of amateur and professional musicians, students, scholars, and enthusiasts. This year, instead of the joyful, buzzing cacophony of the Marriott ballrooms, we will make space on our website for virtual booths—a place to learn about some of the industry’s new and leading instrument builders and service organizations and browse photos and videos of their offerings. On Saturday, June 12, 2021, an Interactive Exhibition Event will give you the opportunity to ask questions of the Exhibitors via Zoom breakout rooms and perhaps to get a glimpse of the one element that instrument builders can’t bring to an in-person Exhibition—their workshop!

Family Day returns on Saturday, June 12, 2021 with a special presentation, “Recorders Beyond Borders: Boston Meets Kenya,” given by BEMF Director of Community Engagement Nina Stern. A world-class recorder player and clarinetist, Stern has been hailed as an innovator in teaching school-age children to be fine young musicians and has worked to establish recorder programs in schools across the world, including the U.S., the Netherlands, Kenya, Burundi, and Jordan.

Other concurrent events for the 2021 Festival include a retrospective on the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company followed by a Dance Workshop where BEMF Dance Director Melinda Sullivan will teach two dances, a video presentation on the Boston Early Music Festival Young Artists Training Program led by founder and BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin, Performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians, and Pre-Opera and Pre-Concert Talks throughout the week. The Exhibition and Concurrent Events will be free to watch.

VIRTUAL FRINGE CONCERTS—June 14–20, 2021
One of the most important features of every Boston Early Music Festival is the remarkable array of Fringe Concerts that illumine the accomplished musicians and wide-ranging repertoire of the Early Music field. Presented by emerging and established artists alike, BEMF Fringe Concerts offer a host of musicians the opportunity to share their talent and artistry with North America’s largest community of Early Music professionals and enthusiasts. We felt that it was vital to retain this showcase, so we are dedicating a full week to virtual Fringe Concerts immediately following the main Festival. The concerts will be free on YouTube, and premiere during the week of
June 14–20, 2021.

FESTIVAL TICKETS AND SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGE
Concert and Mini-Festival recital tickets will be $10, Chamber Opera tickets will be $20, and Centerpiece Opera tickets will be $25. The discounted “Golden Serpent” Subscription Package will include all 16 ticketed events as well as digital and print versions of the Festival Program book for $150. Tickets will be available from the BEMF Box Office online at BEMF.org. Ticket buyers will receive links that will allow them to securely watch their purchased programs as often as they wish from the scheduled premiere through July 11, 2021.

ABOUT THE BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival 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 five 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 weeklong Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 21st Boston Early Music Festival—with the theme of Music of Solace & Joy—will be presented online from June 6 to 13, 2021, and remain available for viewing through July 11. 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.

The Boston Early Music Festival is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Constellation Charitable Foundation, and WCRB Classical Radio Boston, as well as a number of generous foundations and individuals from around the world.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Fay at kathy@bemf.org.

2021 BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL CALENDAR 

CENTERPIECE OPERA
Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise
Premieres Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 3pm
Recorded June 18, 2017 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts
Length: 3 hours
Tickets: $25

Amanda Forsythe, Isabelle (United States)
Karina Gauvin, Leonore (Canada)
Jesse Blumberg, Léandre (United States)
Douglas Williams, Rodolphe (United States)
Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors (United States)
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director & Set Designer (France)
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster (United States)
Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director (United States)
Caroline Copeland, Choreographer (United States)
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer (United Kingdom)
Christopher Ostrom, Lighting Designer (United States)
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer (United States)

CHAMBER OPERA
Pergolesi’s La serva padrona & Livietta e Tracollo
Premieres Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded November 30, 2014 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Length: 2 hours
Tickets: $20

Amanda Forsythe, Serpina (United States)
Douglas Williams, Uberto (United States)
Erica Schuller, Livietta (United States)
Jesse Blumberg, Tracollo (United States)
Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors (United States)
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director (France)
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster (United States)
Melinda Sullivan, Movement Coordinator (United States)
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer (United Kingdom)
Lenore Doxsee†, Lighting Designer (United States)
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer (United States)

FESTIVAL CONCERTS 

Doulce Mémoire
Denis Raisin Dadre, director
Leonardo da Vinci: The Hidden Music
Premieres Monday, June 7, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at Château du Clos Lucé, Amboise, France
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Cinquecento
Jean Richafort: A Requiem for Josquin
Premieres Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at Hofburgkapelle: Imperial Chapel, Vienna, Austria
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

L’Achéron
François Joubert-Caillet, director
Dowland & Holborne: Lachrimae, or the Image of Melancholy
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at Château de Lunéville (“the Versailles of Lorraine”), Lunéville, France
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Amanda Forsythe, soprano
Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
Stephen Stubbs, director
Handel as Orpheus
Premieres Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at the GBH Fraser Performance Studio, Boston, Massachusetts
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Erik Bosgraaf, recorder
Francesco Corti, harpsichord
The Recorder Sonatas of Georg Philipp Telemann
Premieres Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 10pm
Recorded at Musikbrauerei, Säulenhalle, Berlin, Germany
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Tempro la cetra: I tune the lyre
Premieres Friday, June 11, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at the GBH Fraser Performance Studio, Boston, Massachusetts
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Paul O’Dette, lute
Only Joy: Elizabethan Lute Music of Solace and Joy
Premieres Friday, June 11, 2021 at 10pm
Recorded on location in Rochester, New York
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

ACRONYM
Ad Astra: Music of Valentini, Bertali, Schmeltzer, Biber, and others
Premieres Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 8pm
Recorded at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, New York
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

ORGAN MINI-FESTIVAL

Leo van Doeselaar, organ
Johann Sebastian Bach, his teachers, and his sons
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 11:30am
Recorded on the Arp Schnitger Organ, Martinikerk, Groningen, The Netherlands
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Catalina Vicens, organetto
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 1pm
Recorded on location in Basel, Switzerland
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Benjamin Alard, organ
London’s Castle Grant Chamber Organ: Works of Blow, Purcell, Handel, and J. S. Bach
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 2:30pm
Recorded on the Castle Grant Chamber Organ by John Byfield II, London, 1766, Musée de Provins et du Provinois, Provins, France
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

KEYBOARD MINI-FESTIVAL

Benjamin Alard, clavichord
The Expressive Clavichord: Works of Buxtehude, Reincken, J. S. Bach, and C. P. E. Bach
Premieres Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 11:30am
Recorded at Musée de Provins et du Provinois, Provins, France
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Francesco Corti, harpsichord
Streams to Bach: Works of Scheidemann, Froberger, Reincken, Kuhnau, and J. S. Bach
Premieres Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 1pm
Recorded on location in Basel, Switzerland
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

Carmen Leoni, fortepiano
Lo scherzo ingegnoso dell’arte: Keyboard Sonatas by Scarlatti, Haydn, and Mozart
Premieres Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 2:30pm
Recorded on location in Lavagna, Italy
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: $10

CONCURRENT EVENTS

FREE CONCERT
Ensemble Correspondances
Lucile Richardot, mezzo-soprano
Sébastien Daucé, director
Perpetual Night: 17th-century Ayres and Songs
Monday, June 7, 2021 at 12 noon
Recorded December 8, 2020 at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, France
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free

FREE CONCERT
Juilliard415
Robert Mealy, director & violin
Terpsichore: A Baroque Dance Mix
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 10pm
Recorded April 12, 2016 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, New York
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free 

Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company Presentation
Session I: A Retrospective
Hosted by Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director; featuring past BEMF Choreographers Caroline Copeland, Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, and Carlos Fittante
Premieres Friday, June 11, 2021 at 10am
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free

Session II: Dance Workshop
Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director
Premieres Friday, June 11, 2021 at 11:30am
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free

Boston Early Music Festival Young Artist Training Program: Cultivating the Next Generation
Hosted by Gilbert Blin, Founder & Director
Premieres Friday, June 11, 2021 at 1pm
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free

Family Day: Recorders Beyond Borders: Boston Meets Kenya
Presented by Nina Stern, BEMF Director of Community Engagement
Streaming Live on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 9am
Length: 1 hour
Tickets: Free

PERFORMANCE MASTERCLASSES
An assortment of Performance Masterclasses by distinguished Festival musicians will be offered during the week. BEMF Masterclasses allow students, as well as professional musicians, to receive a public coaching by some of the top performers in the field today. Student performances will be pre-recorded for a live coaching on Zoom with a Q&A for the audience.

Erik Bosgraaf, recorder
Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 4pm
Length: 2 hours
Tickets: Free

Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba
Presented in collaboration with the Viola da Gamba Society of America
Friday, June 11, 2021 at 4pm
Length: 2 hours
Tickets: Free

Ellen Hargis, Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, 17th-century accompanied solo song
Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 2:30pm
Length: 2 hours
Tickets: Free

Dates, times, artists, and programs are subject to change.

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