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Boston Baroque Announces 2016-2017 Season

February 25, 2016

Boston, MA–Boston Baroque is pleased to announce its 2016 – 2017 season. The season will feature the Boston Baroque debut of international star countertenor David Daniels in Bach’s Mass in B minor on October 21 and 23, as well as the return of soprano Susanna Phillips in her debut of the iconic role of Cleopatra in Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare on April 21 and 23, 2017. A very special program of Biber’s virtuosic and rarely performed The Mystery Sonatas will feature concertmaster Christina Day Martinson as the solo violinist on March 10. Two annual traditions continue with Handel’s Messiah on December 9 and 10, 2016, and the very popular New Year’s Eve and Day Gala concerts on December 31 and January 1 featuring Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. All programs will take place at NEC’s Jordan Hall, (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston) except for the two New Year’s concerts, which will be performed at Sanders Theatre (45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA). Both concert venues are wheelchair accessible.

Season subscriptions starting at $168 will go on sale Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 am at www.bostonbaroque.org or by calling 617-987-8600.

“This will be an exciting season,” says Music Director Martin Pearlman. “I look forward to revisiting and rethinking two huge masterworks of Bach and Handel — and to working with spectacular soloists, including the returning Metropolitan Opera star Susanna Phillips and the great countertenor David Daniels in his Boston Baroque debut.  In a very different vein, our March concert will be a rare and major event:  the complete cycle of The Mystery Sonatas of Heinrich Biber played by our virtuosic concertmaster and soloist Christina Day Martinson with members of our ensemble.  It depicts the mysteries of the rosary, will use four violins in different tunings, and will be not only a technical tour de force but a deeply moving, glorious experience that you will not want to miss.”

Boston Baroque’s new season will commence on Friday, October 21 at 8 pm and repeat Sunday October 23 at 3 pm with performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor featuring the esteemed countertenor, David Daniels. ” As David Daniels, one of early music’s preeminent countertenors, wove his assured voice tightly with the solo oboe in the “Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris” he evinced a sensitivity of affect as remarkable as his clarity of tone. I’ve never heard this music sung more beautifully.” stated Joel Sobel in Classicalites of Daniel’s 2014 performance of the Mass in B Minor at Lincoln Center in NY. Additional soloists for Mass in B minor will include sopranos Kiera Duffy and Jennifer Rivera, tenor Aaron Sheehan and baritone Jesse Blumberg.

The orchestra’s annual holiday production of Martin Pearlman’s full length version of Handel’s Messiah follows on Friday and Saturday December 9 and 10 at 7:30 pm. This season’s guest soloists will include Boston’s beloved soprano Amanda Forsythe, mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero, tenor Keith Jameson and baritone Andrew Garland.

Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks will be the sparkling highlight of the very popular New Year’s concerts with champagne and chocolates at intermission at Sanders Theatre Saturday, December 31 and Sunday, January 1. The concert will also include Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor featuring concertmaster Christina Day Martinson.

On Friday, March 10, Baroque violinist Christina Day Martinson will hold the Jordan Hall audience captive with her fantastic skills when she performs Heinrich Biber’s virtuosic The Mystery Sonatas (also known as the Rosary Sonatas). There are 15 sonatas in all. All but one requires “scordatura” or re-tuning of the violin strings. Martinson’s performance will conclude with Biber’s iconic Passacaglia.

The season’s operatic production will be Handel’s Giulio Cesare, directed by Mary Birnbaum. Two performances will take place at Jordan Hall on Friday April 21 and Sunday, April 23. Soprano Susanna Phillips returns to Boston Baroque once again after her acclaimed performances last spring of 2015 in Agrippina, this time making her role debut of Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare. “. . . with Susanna Phillips in the title role, vocally riveting, dramatically confident and with power in reserve. Her “Pensieri voi mi tormentate,” in which this queen of deception movingly admits to her own fears, brought some of the evening’s best singing,” wrote Jeremy Eichler in his Boston Globe review.

Countertenors Lawrence Zazzo and John Holiday will make their Boston Baroque debuts with Zazzo in the title role as Cesare and Holiday as Cleopatra’s brother Tolomeo. “Lawrence Zazzo’s outstandingly imperious title-hero is the best sung and acted countertenor performance of the part (Giulio Cesare) I’ve encountered,” wrote Gramophone. Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera, who performed with Boston Baroque in its 2014 acclaimed production and Grammy® nominated recording of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, makes a return as Sesto. Mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero, a regular with Boston Baroque, completes the cast as Cornelia.

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