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Handel and Haydn Highlight Boston Baroque's 2012-2013 Season

Related: Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman

Boston Baroque, America's first period-instrument orchestra, has announced its 2012-2013 concert season, running from October 19, 2012 to April 20, 2013. Music Director Martin Pearlman will conduct five programs of two performances each, taking place at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston or at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge. Highlights of the season will include a rarely-performed Handel comic opera, Partenope; Haydn's "Lord Nelson" Mass, which is slated to be recorded for later release on CD; Handel's Messiah at the holidays; and concerts that feature members of the orchestra and chorus in small ensemble and solo roles.

Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman bring a modern sensibility to early music. "To want to hear music performed in the style of its own time is a distinctly contemporary attitude, just as we now want to understand another culture through its own eyes," states Mr. Pearlman, when asked about the popularity of period instruments. "Each age reinvents this music in its own way to keep it alive, and this is what our modern time has found appealing.

"Our concerts are not history lessons; they are exciting, fun events. We do our best to learn to play the instruments of earlier times and to interpret what people wrote about how to play this music. From that we've developed a style, which we find exciting and which has become popular with audiences. Modern ears like to hear early music played this way."

THE 2012-13 SEASON

Handel: Partenope
Friday, October 19, 2012, 7:30pm • Saturday, October 20, 2012 7:30pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

The season will open with George Frideric Handel's delightful Partenope (par-TEN-oh-pay), with soprano Amanda Forsythe in the title role. The opera had not been heard much over the years, but received renewed attention after the New York City Opera performed it to great acclaim in 2010. Partenope premiered in 1730 and is a comedy – unusual for Handel, as most of his operas are more serious – a light and frothy romp involving jilted lovers, hidden identities, and gorgeous arias.

Handel: Messiah
Friday, December 7, 2012, 7:30pm • Saturday, December 8, 2012, 7:30pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Boston Baroque gave Boston's first period-instrument performances of Handel's glorious oratorio in 1981, and the work has become an annual tradition at the holidays for many members of Boston Baroque's audience. The ensemble's recording garnered its first Grammy® nomination, and was named the no. 1 Messiah on disc by the U.K. magazine Classic CD. This year the orchestra and chorus will be joined by three soloists who perform frequently with the ensemble – soprano Mary Wilson, mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero, and baritone Andrew Garland – as well as tenor John McVeigh, making his debut with Boston Baroque.

Gala New Year's Eve and First Day Concerts
Monday, December 31, 2012, 8:00pm • Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 3:00pm
Sanders Theatre

The centerpiece of this year's New Year's Eve and First Day concerts will be Giovanni Pergolesi's one-act comic opera, La serva padrona. This 1733 work tells the tale of an aging master and his much-younger maid-turned-mistress, a story that was quite revolutionary and titillating in its time. Baritone David Kravitz will be featured soloist. Also on the program are Baroque concertos by Arcangelo Corelli and Georg Philipp Telemann, featuring Boston Baroque's orchestra musicians as soloists. To add to the festivities, audience members will be invited to enjoy a complimentary Champagne toast at intermission.

A Baroque Banquet
Friday, March 8, 2013, 8:00pm • Saturday, March 9, 2013, 8:00pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

The early spring concert will be an opportunity for Boston Baroque's acclaimed chorus to take center stage in three sumptuous works that span the Baroque era across Europe. The program will open with Giacomo Carissimi's expressive and poignant 1650 oratorio, Jephte, followed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier's harmonically rich and introspective Missa Assumpta est Maria from around 1700. J. S. Bach's deeply moving early cantata, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit ("God's Time Is the Best Time"), scored for the transparent sound of recorders and gambas, will complete the program.

Haydn: "Lord Nelson" Mass
Friday, April 19, 2013, 8:00pm • Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:00pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Franz Joseph Haydn's brilliant "Lord Nelson" Mass – or Mass in Time of Anguish – stirs powerful emotions, ranging from solemnity and torment to joyous celebration. The Mass premiered in 1798, at the time of Nelson's victory over Napoleon, and the work gradually acquired the nickname that it carries to this day. The Mass is a late work, written shortly after Haydn completed his oratorio, The Creation; Boston Baroque performed and recorded The Creation last year, and plans to record the Mass for Linn Records after these concerts. Soloists will include soprano Mary Wilson and bass-baritone Kevin Deas. Ludwig van Beethoven's youthful, exuberant Symphony No. 2 will complete the program.

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