Broadcast: Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers

Looking Back at Orpheus | 2020/21 Season

Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers & La Couronne de Fleurs

Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 3pm (EST)


Two miniature masterpieces by the great French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier were featured BEMF’s original November 2011 Chamber Opera Series production that The Boston Globe praised for its “zest and polish in equal measure”. La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers tells the famous story of Orpheus descending into the underworld to rescue his beloved Euridice using his musical charms, 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.

Part of our "Looking Back at Orpheus" Broadcast Event!

We are committed to compensating the  gifted artists who bring this beautiful music to life. BEMF is able to make this concert freely available due to the generous contributions of hundreds of passionate music lovers around the world. We hope you will consider joining them by making a donation today.


Featurette: Looking Back at Charpentier's Orphée

Pre-Opera Talk | Charpentier's Orphée

Critical Acclaim

“Zest and polish in equal measure.”

—The Boston Globe

“Captivating… an evening of glorious music.”

—The New York Times

Production Video

Behind-The-Scenes Video

Production Photos


Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer
Melinda Sullivan, Choreographer
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster
Jennifer Bertha, Lighting Designer
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer


Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble

Aaron Sheehan, Orphée
Mireille Asselin, Carrie Henneman Shaw, Michael Kelly, Olivier Laquerre, Thea Lobo, Jason McStoots, Megan Stapleton, Brenna Wells & Douglas Williams

Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company

Carlos Fittante, Olsi Gjeci, Caitlin Klinger & Alexis Silver

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble

Robert Mealy, concertmaster
Cynthia Roberts, violin; Laura Jeppesen, Christel Thielmann, & Beiliang Zhu, viola da gamba; Gonzalo X. Ruiz & Kathryn Montoya, oboe & recorder; Avi Stein, harpsichord; Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Baroque guitar and theorbo