bemf with pergolesi @ Jordan Hall

cool stray made a *four*-hr trek to town *with* a spare ticket! actually without spare i would have come all the same. a self-claimed early music lover, without Stray, i would have still missed all these goodies, can you believe.. There seems to be a local cult devoted fan-base following the boston early music festival performances here because the competition is pretty strong with H&H and Händel’s messiah same time right next door at symphony hall..


spare ticket seat courtesy of Stray’s cousin

So, on the program: double-bill Pergolesi’s comedic works of “La serva padrona” and “Livietta e Tracollo”. Think the last time i attended such a double-bill it was a split piece1-intermission-piece2 and the music was a bit more confusing for newbies like me to understand.  This time it’s much easier to follow as well as a different sort of split, which i quite liked: piece(1+2)-intermission-more_piece(1+2) . Essentially it’s two somewhat unrelated stories developing in parallel and one can plot it such that eventually the characters cross path (or not) but it helps to have all personnels for use at all time.

The orchestra: bemf chamber orchestra – a must hear event, i don’t care what they play. As they sat there playing super-energetically to the (silly) comedic storylines, you can’t help but giggling at the luxurious quality and realizing behind the “comedy” there is such precision and professionalism from the musicians. And that tiny plucking instrument: what fun! (see if you can spot on first picture, on top of harpsichord)

The cast: La serva padrona: Amanda Forsythe(soprano)=the servant,Douglas Willams(bass-baritone)=master, Livietta e Tracollo: Erica Schuller(soprano)=Livietta, Jesse Blumberg (bass)=Tracollo. I first knew of Amanda Forsythe at the bemf festival last year. She could have a very nice career in europe if she chose to but instead opts to stick around and remains a main staple in the bemf ensemble, which is truly a luxury for us sitting in Jordan Hall a short distance away enjoying her fantastic phrasing, comic timing, and wonderful warm soprano voice. Pairing with her was Douglas Williams, not sure if i’ve heard him before, but i very much like his voice, comic timing, acting, and musical phrasing as well. Together, they made 1 part of the double-bill outstanding. The other pair, i enjoyed their singing as well, but am not sure if it’s the storyline or the musical phrasing (i think it’s the latter) that somehow makes the first pair more standout. i know, perhaps it’s not making any sense to compare, but they were singing in parallel one after another! and you can really feel the contrast :-). Altogether, a very nice show though. I’d like a bit less “obvious” comedy, less … what do you call those guys… hmm, the english word escapes me.. CLOWN! yes, no need for clowns to keep audience laughing all the time, it takes the audience’s attention away from the GORGEOUS orchestra and singers’ ability to carry their own singing/phrasing. But that’s only minor, coz i know where to look, given the SUPERB seat Stray’s generous cousin gave me!!

Lastly, to all early music lovers, they’re staging all Monteverdi’s operas at the next festival in Jun 2015. I WILL BE HERE! That, and a whole bunch of concerts of madrigals i believe. very much looking forward! here’s their website, in case you need exact dates to sort out your traveling schedule :-). Oh, Stray, i found the program i attended 2 weeks ago at NEC w/ boston baroque: Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. And a couple of clips of Ms. Forsythe’s singing: above from the last time i heard her live at the festival last year (from hand camera, with the same bemf orchestra), and below audio clip of her singing Dalinda in Ariodante from a live performance (btw, if you’d like to listen more let me know, it’s a nice cast of diDonato=Ariodante, Petibon=Genevra, Marie-Nicole Lemieux=Polinesso, Forsythe=Dalinda, and some bass :D)