Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera to Present Caccini’s Alcina

Cambridge, MA – The GRAMMY Award-winning Boston Early Music
Festival Chamber Opera Series returns on Thanksgiving weekend with an
all-new production of the first opera by a woman composer, Francesca
Caccini’s Alcina. Alcina is a brilliant entertainment,
full of wit, magic, and drama, with a demanding title role first sung
by the composer herself. The production will receive four performances:
Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25 in Boston, and Monday,
November 26 and Tuesday, November 27 in New York City.

“Women have been shaping the world of opera from the very
beginning, and we at BEMF are excited to present a new production of
the first opera by a female composer, Francesca Caccini’s 1625 La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina
,” offers Executive Director Kathleen Fay. “As more and
more women are finding their voice in opera, whether as artists,
producers, patrons, or composers, it is exciting to be reminded that
this is not a new phenomenon. We have been here for nearly 400 years
already, and we are only getting started!”

This groundbreaking work is brought to life by the all-star BEMF Vocal
and Chamber Ensembles in a magnificent production featuring gorgeous
costumes and elegant period staging. Led by BEMF’s GRAMMY-winning
Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and Stage
Director Gilbert Blin, the directorial team also features Concertmaster
Robert Mealy, Dance Director Melinda Sullivan, Costume Designer Anna
Watkins, and Executive Producer Kathleen Fay. The dynamic cast of 15
singers features many BEMF favorites, including Canadian soprano
Shannon Mercer (Alcina), praised for “ the lyric beauty and surprising power of her voice” ( Salt Lake Tribune);
tenor Colin Balzer (Ruggiero), a frequent guest of BEMF’s
Centerpiece Opera productions and recordings; and mezzo-soprano Kelsey
Lauritano (Melissa), who made her début with the BEMF Orchestra at
the June 2017 Festival. These superb vocalists appear alongside the
twelve-member BEMF Chamber Ensemble.

BEMF Versailles Chamber Opera 2 - Kathy Wittman credit.jpg


A contemporary of Monteverdi and a colleague of Galileo, Francesca
Caccini came of age in Florence during the earliest years of opera as
an art form. Both a composer and a performer, she was one of the most
important musical figures at the Medici court during the regency of
Christina of Lorraine and Maria Maddalena. In 1625, amid this time of
female leadership, she created Alcina, the first opera by a
woman composer and among the first Italian operas performed outside of
Italy. Adapted from Ludovico Ariosto’s 16th-century
epic poem Orlando furioso, the sorceress Alcina stands at the
center of a struggle between illusion and destiny as the valiant
Melissa strives to save the warrior Ruggiero and liberate the captives
Alcina has transformed into plants and trees to ornament her island.

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series

Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors

Gilbert Blin, Stage Director

Robert Mealy, Concertmaster

Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director

Anna Watkins, Costume Designer

Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer

Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble

Shannon Mercer, Alcina

Colin Balzer, Ruggiero

Kelsey Lauritano, Melissa

Teresa Wakim, Margot Rood, Sonja DuToit Tengblad, Danielle Sampson, Sophie
Michaux, Mindy Ella Chu, Jason McStoots, Brian Giebler, David Evans, David
McFerrin, Ian Pomerantz & Daniel Fridley

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble

Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, chitarrone & Baroque guitar

Robert Mealy & Julie Andrijeski, violin

Sarah Darling, viola

Erin Headley, Christel Thielmann & Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba

Kathryn Montoya & Héloïse Degrugillier, recorder

Maxine Eilander, Baroque harp

Michael Sponseller, organ, regal & harpsichord

Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 8pm

Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 3pm

New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street,
Boston, MA

Monday, November 26, 2018 at 7:30pm

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7:30pm

Gilder Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY

PROGRAM: Francesca Caccini’s Alcina

Tickets for the Boston performances are priced at $25, $45, $55, $75, and
$125 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; as well
as through the Jordan Hall Box Office located at 30 Gainsborough Street in
Boston and by telephone at 617-585-1260; a $5 discount for students,
seniors, and groups is available by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription
discounts are available with the purchase of three or more programs on the
2018-2019 Season.

Tickets for the New York performance are priced at $55 for Morgan
members and $65 for non-members, and can be purchased at and at 212-685-0008 ext. 560.


There will be a Pre-Opera Talk with members of the directorial team one
hour prior to each performance in Boston, and one half-hour prior to each
performance in New York.


Download artist photos:

BEMF’s 2018–2019 Season Press Release:


Hailed by the Boston Globe for “vivid performances,”
since 2008 the BEMF Chamber Opera Series has taken the
internationally acclaimed musicianship, scholarship, and direction
showcased in BEMF’s fully staged Festival operas and focused it on
small-scale works in intimate productions each Thanksgiving weekend. Two
productions from the Chamber Opera Series have also been presented on tour
across North America: Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2011 and
Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs in 2014.
BEMF’s studio recording of Charpentier’sLa Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs was awarded the 2015 GRAMMY Award for Best
Opera Recording.


The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier
Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors
in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding, the
Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue,
architectural landmark, and historical site. Located at Madison Avenue and
36th Street, its collection includes world-renowned collections
of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval
and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, photography, and ancient near
Eastern seals and tablets. Gilder Lehrman Hall, designed by renowned
architect Renzo Piano, was opened by the Morgan in May 2006, and seats 264
people, providing a uniquely intimate concert venue. This marks the Boston
Early Music Festival’s 13th season of concerts at the
Morgan Library & Museum.


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.

The 2018-2019 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with
support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the
Arts, WGBH Radio Boston, and Harpsichord Clearing House, as well as a
number of generous foundations and individuals from around the world.

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

image_description=Photo by Kathy Wittman courtesy of Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera
product_title=Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera to Present Caccini’s Alcina
product_by=Press release by Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera
product_id=Photos by Kathy Wittman courtesy of Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera