FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Boston Early Music Festival presents “Looking Back at Orpheus” with streaming broadcasts of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée on Thanksgiving weekend
Cambridge, MA – The GRAMMY Award-winning Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series returns on Thanksgiving weekend with “Looking Back at Orpheus,” featuring two broadcasts of chamber opera productions inspired by the Orpheus legend. Presented free-of-charge on BEMF’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/bostonearly/), this will be the first time the Boston Early Music Festival has publicly shared complete archival video of their critically acclaimed productions. The two-night streaming event includes the June 2015 performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and the November 2011 performance of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs and will follow a two-week marathon of videos created for this special event. Highlights include documentaries on the making of each production, video lectures, and a 30-minute excerpt from BEMF’s 2017 fully-staged production of Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise, featuring an Orpheus-themed “opera-within-an-opera."
Both productions are led by BEMF’s GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Stage Director Gilbert Blin, Concertmaster Robert Mealy, and Choreographer Melinda Sullivan, and feature the all-star BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles with gorgeous costumes designed by Anna Watkins. GRAMMY Award-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan has the distinction of playing the role of Orpheus in both Chamber Opera productions as well as in the excerpt from Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise. Monteverdi’s Orfeo will be broadcast on Friday, November 27, 2020 at 8pm while the Charpentier double bill will be broadcast on Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 3pm. Each broadcast will remain available until Thursday, December 10, 2020. These broadcasts are being offered free of charge, but donations will be encouraged and sincerely appreciated. Patrons can visit BEMF.org/support to learn more about making a tax-deductible contribution to BEMF.
Widely regarded as the first great opera, Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo features one of opera’s most adored stories, in which the heroic Orfeo endures the tragic death of his beloved Euridice, and travels to the underworld to plead for her return. Breathtaking in its beauty and variety, this masterpiece defined an art form still in its infancy, with rich instrumental colors, dramatic word painting, and a virtuosic opulence of tone and texture. Tenor Aaron Sheehan (Orfeo) and soprano Mireille Asselin (Euridice) lead an outstanding cast featuring GRAMMY-nominee Teresa Wakim (Proserpina), bass-baritone Matthew Brook (Charon), and baritone Marco Bussi (Plutone), alongside dancer Carlos Fittante and 18 instrumentalists from the BEMF Chamber Ensemble and Dark Horse Consort. Lighting Design is by the late Lenore Doxsee and videography is by Kathy Wittman of Ball Square Films with audio by GRAMMY Award-winning sound engineer Antonio Oliart Ros of WCRB Classical Radio Boston.
CHARPENTIER’S LA DESCENTE D’ORPHÉE & LA COURONNE DE FLEURS
Two miniature masterpieces by the great French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier formed BEMF’s 2011 Chamber Opera Series production that The Boston Globe praised for its “zest and polish in equal measure”. La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers recounts the story of Orpheus descending to the underworld to rescue his beloved Euridice, ending just as the pair begin their ill-fated escape. La Couronne de Fleurs, based on a text by Molière, depicts a musical contest in tribute to Louis XIV: shepherds vie for a crown of flowers from the goddess Flora for the most beautiful and eloquent aria. BEMF’s 2014 studio recording of these works won a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. The cast of 9 singers is led by tenor Aaron Sheehan (Orphée) and is joined by 4 Baroque dancers and 10 instrumentalists of the BEMF Chamber Ensemble. Videography is by Kathy Wittman of Ball Square Films with audio by recording engineer Frank Cunningham of World Premier Recordings.
LOOKING BACK AT ORPHEUS FULL SCHEDULE
Videos premiere on YouTube (youtube.com/bostonearly/) and BEMF.org at the times below. The two “Streaming Broadcast” videos will be available to watch until the end of the day on Thursday, December 10, 2020. All other videos will remain available for the foreseeable future.
Monday, November 16, 2020
12PM | Featurette: Monteverdi's Orfeo
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
12PM | Featurette: Charpentier's Orphée
Friday, November 20, 2020
12PM | Featurette: Aaron Sheehan as Orpheus
Monday, November 23, 2020
12PM | Pre-Opera Talk: Monteverdi's Orfeo
Featuring BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy with scholar & author Thomas Forrest Kelly
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
12PM | Pre-Opera Talk: Charpentier's Orphée
Featuring members of the BEMF Artistic Leadership Team
Friday, November 27, 2020
8PM | Streaming Broadcast: Monteverdi's Orfeo
10:15PM | Post-Opera Q&A with the BEMF Artistic Leadership Team
Sunday, November 29, 2020
3PM | Streaming Broadcast: Charpentier's Orphée
5PM | Post-Opera Q&A with the BEMF Directors
6PM | Opera Excerpt: Campra's Le Carnaval de Venise
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). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.