Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 19, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, July 19, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, July 19, 2018
Opera history, preview, performance set for Dido and Aeneas
On Wednesday, July 25, at 1 p.m. at the Brooksville Free Public Library, join Baroque opera specialist Grant Herreid, music director for Blue Hill Bach’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, for a talk about early opera and the history of Purcell’s setting of this classic tale. Then, on Thursday, July 26, at 5 p.m., the barn at David’s Folly Farm will be transformed into “The Baroque Café” for a semi-staged performance of the one-act opera, which is filled with witches, sailors, spirits, and a couple of star-crossed lovers. The public is invited to attend an open rehearsal at David’s Folly Farm, 1390 Coastal Road, following the lecture on Wednesday.
According to a press release, Herreid performs frequently on early reeds, brass, strings and voice with Piffaro, Hesperus, and many other early music groups around the country. On the faculty at Yale University, he directs their Collegium Musicum and the Yale Baroque Opera Project. He also directs the New York Continuo Collective. A noted teacher and educator, he is a familiar presence at many summer workshops, and was the recipient of Early Music America’s Laurette Goldberg award for excellence in early music outreach and education. Herreid appeared on Broadway playing hurdy gurdy, lute, theorbo, cittern and percussion in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Richard III, starring Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry. He devotes much of his time to exploring the esoteric unwritten traditions of early music with the ensembles Ex Umbris and Ensemble Viscera.
The Baroque Café is the opening performance in Blue Hill Bach’s 2018 festival, which continues at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 27, with a performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre. On Saturday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Hill First Congregational Church, the period instrument ensemble will present the Brandenburg Concerto #5, followed by the first half of what became known as the Mass in B minor. The Missa will be performed as it might have been heard in Bach’s time, with one singer on each part. The festival finale on Sunday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Hill Congregational Church will feature the Sinfonia from Cantata 29, followed by the second half of the Mass in B minor, with the full Blue Hill Bach chorus, orchestra, and soloists. For tickets and information, visit bluehillbach.org or call 613-5454.
The opera preview is sponsored by the Brooksville Library and is free and open to everyone.