Boston Early Music Festival Announces 2022–2023 Season

BEMF returns with 9 programs in Greater Boston and available for virtual viewing;

  • The GRAMMY Award-winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series returns with a double bill of works by Lully and Charpentier with performances in Boston, Miami, and New York City;
  • Returning artists and ensembles include Philippe Jaroussky, Vox Luminis, The Tallis Scholars, Bach Collegium Japan, Quicksilver, and Stile Antico;
  • BEMF débuts by Artaserse, baritone Roderick Williams, Chiaroscuro Quartet, and Ensemble Castor;
  • Continuing COVID-19 safety protocols include required vaccinations and masks

Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival is pleased to announce that subscription packages and individual tickets are now on sale for our 2022–2023 Season, featuring 9 programs in Boston and Cambridge. Following the enthusiastic response from our fans around the world, virtual programs will also be presented following each in-person performance. A highlight of our 33rd annual concert series will be a 3-city tour featuring an all-new production from the BEMF Chamber Opera Series, led by BEMF’s GRAMMY-winning Musical Directors, Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.

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

2022–2023 SEASONBEMF opens our 2022–2023 Season with the triumphant return of world-renowned countertenor Philippe Jaroussky leading his Ensemble Artaserse on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 8pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston. Heralded for both his uniquely captivating and nuanced voice and his keen musical curiosity, Jaroussky shares a selection of brilliant and beloved arias by Handel and Vivaldi alongside rarely heard gems by Baroque masters Hasse, Piccinni, and Ferrandini. This program will only be available for the in-person performance. The Virtual Concert will feature an alternate program of some of Jaroussky’s favorite sacred pieces by Vivaldi, Pergolesi, and Scarlatti recorded at the Royaumont Abbey in 2020 with Le Concert de la Loge, directed by Julien Chauvin.

Led by founder and baritone Lionel Meunier, the Gramophone Award–winning Vox Luminis has garnered international acclaim for impeccable performances illuminating the emotional heart of their repertoire. They return to BEMF on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 8pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall with a dynamic program of vocal music by Claudio Monteverdi drawn from his Selva morale e spirituale (The Moral and Spiritual Forest).

The GRAMMY-winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series returns to the French Baroque with a double bill of music written for Louis XIV! Lully’s Idylle sur la Paix and Charpentier’s La Fête de Rueil were each commissioned in 1685 for lavish garden parties honoring King Louis XIV. Both pieces feature an idyllic utopia where shepherds in the French countryside celebrate a recent truce “given” to Europe by the Sun King. The genius of Charpentier and Lully raises these formal tributes to musical masterpieces where dazzling singing combines with charming dances in a vivid depiction of the people’s desire for peace. Don’t miss this “popular tradition among local early music fans” (The Boston Globe) on Thanksgiving weekend in Boston, Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 8pm and Sunday, November 27, 2022 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Following the Boston performances, the production will continue on to Miami on November 30, presented by RK Cultural Productions, and to New York City on December 3 and 4, presented by the Morgan Library & Museum.

These splendid chamber operas are led by BEMF’s GRAMMY-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and internationally acclaimed Stage Director Gilbert Blin. The all-star Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble will feature GRAMMY-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan, GRAMMY-nominated soprano Teresa Wakim, and other BEMF favorites including soprano Danielle Reutter-Harrah, mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, tenors Jason McStoots and James Reese, and bass-baritones John Taylor Ward and Jonathan Woody. Rounding out the directorial team will be Concertmaster Robert Mealy leading the 14-member Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble, Choreographer Melinda Sullivan leading 4 members of the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company, Costume Designer Gwen van den Eijnde, Lighting Designer Kelly Martin, and Executive Producer Kathleen Fay.

Director Peter Phillips and the legendary voices of The Tallis Scholars return to BEMF this holiday season on Friday, December 9, 2022 at 8pm at St. Paul Church, Cambridge in a program of music inspired by the Virgin Mary. One of Early Music’s truly essential ensembles, their program includes Josquin’s finely wrought Missa Ave maris stella, Isaac’s magnificent Virgo prudentissima, and masterpieces by Lassus, Guerrero, and Pärt.

One of the world’s most illustrious period instrument ensembles, Bach Collegium Japan, and its legendary founder Masaaki Suzuki return for their 8th tour of North America in a thrilling collaboration with celebrated British baritone Roderick Williams on Friday, February 10, 2023 at 8pm at St. Paul Church, Cambridge. Join these distinguished artists for a program of music by Bach and Telemann, including Bach’s transcendently beautiful cantata Ich habe genug (I have enough).

Quicksilver brings together some of North America’s most acclaimed Early Music instrumentalists to explore the rich chamber music repertoire of the 17th-century. Join them on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational as they immerse themselves in the vibrant musical culture of Vienna over a century before Mozart. Directors Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski lead a program of early Baroque masterworks by Schmeltzer, Legrenzi, Oswald, Kerll, Bertali, Fux, and Rosenmüller.

Featuring virtuoso instrumentalists from across Europe, Chiaroscuro Quartet has captivated fans and critics around the world in performances that are bursting with fearless imagination, thrilling passion, and flawless execution. They make their eagerly anticipated BEMF début on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 8pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in brilliant selection of string quartets that are all written in minor keys, yet have greatly contrasting characters, from shocking to passionate. BEMF will also present Chiaroscuro Quartet in New York City at the Morgan Library & Museum on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7:30pm.

On Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, join radiant mezzo-soprano and BEMF favorite Mireille Lebel in an exciting collaboration with esteemed violin virtuoso Rodolfo Richter and the outstanding Austrian chamber orchestra Ensemble Castor, both making their BEMF début. These accomplished virtuosos offer a program exploring concertos and vocal works by Antonio Vivaldi that vividly evoke the natural world through music, from bird song to violent tempests to a pastoral countryside. BEMF will also present Ensemble Castor & Mireille Lebel in New York City at the Morgan Library & Museum on Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 3pm.

Stile Antico has established themselves as one of the world’s most vibrant and expressive vocal ensembles. These intensely collaborative singers return to BEMF on Friday, April 28, 2023 at 8pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge for a season finale honoring the 400th anniversary of the death of the extraordinary English composer William Byrd. Their program weaves together the strands of Byrd’s complex life as both pillar of the Protestant musical establishment and faithful servant of the Catholic underground.

Subscriptions and individual tickets are on sale now through the Boston Early Music Festival Box Office at 617-661-1812 or online at BEMF.org. Discounted subscription packages start as low as $67.50 for three programs. New for the 2022–2023 Season: handling charges will be FREE for all ticket orders!

The 2022–2023 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Constellation Charitable Foundation, 99.5 WCRB: Classical Radio Boston, a service of WGBH, ArtsBoston, and the Cambridge Community Foundation.

COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLSReturning to in-person concerts over the last year has been both an honor and responsibility. As the global pandemic evolves, our response will continue to adapt. The health and safety of our audience, employees, and artists remains our highest priority. Out of concern for those in our community who are still vulnerable, some COVID-19 protocols will stay in place for the coming season. You can always visit BEMF.org/safety to review our current safety policies.

BEMF is requiring all patrons, as well as BEMF staff and artists, to provide proof that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. You may use either paper or electronic documentations. If you are not fully vaccinated, we would urge you to consider virtual ticket options available for all performances. In addition, all patrons and BEMF Staff are required to wear a well-fitted mask at ALL times at the concert venue. Not all musicians may be masked during the performance, but will maintain at least a 6-foot distance from the audience.

To streamline the concert experience, all concert programs will be presented without intermission and are expected to run about 90 minutes. The Chamber Opera Series production will include an intermission and will run about 95 minutes. In lieu of Pre-Concert Talks at the venues, we will present online Pre-Concert Videos with informative discussions featuring scholars and artists the week before each program—FREE to watch on YouTube or at BEMF.org.

VIRTUAL TICKET OPTIONS FOR ALL PROGRAMSFor the 2022–2023 Season, all of our programs will be available for virtual viewing starting about one to two weeks after the performance on our secure, online platform. This added convenience offers our patrons—in Boston and around the world—options to enjoy all 9 programs. BEMF will be working in partnership with Ball Square Films and videographer Kathy Wittman, and award-winning Recording Engineer Antonio Oliart Ros to record the live performances. They will collaborate with our presented artists and ensembles to produce fully edited concert videos of their performances with BEMF to share with ticket buyers. Virtual Tickets will be included FREE with all in-person tickets or can be purchased on their own.

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 (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 22nd Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 4-11, 2023, and will feature the fully staged North American premiere of Henry Demarest’s Circé. 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.