Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain

Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain

Sun, June 23, 2019, 4:00pm


King Louis XIV transformed his father’s pastoral hunting lodge at Versailles into a lavish palace that served as the seat of government and culture in France. Enjoy a musical feast with two chamber operas exalting the splendor and majesty of the palace and its gardens, alongside divertissements from Atys. The refined elegance and expressive drama is brought to life by the all-star BEMF Vocal and Chamber Ensembles in a production featuring gorgeous costumes, Baroque dance, and sumptuous staging.

Produced in collaboration with the Boston Early Music Festival, in partnership with the Centre de Musique Baroque Versailles.

“No other organization on the East Coast performs Baroque music with the mastery and elegance of this distinguished series.” — The New Yorker

Boston Early Music Festival
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Robert Mealy, Concertmaster
Melinda Sullivan, Dance Director
Carlos Fittante, Choreographer
Kelly Martin, Lighting Designer
Kathleen Fay, Executive ProducerBoston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble
Jesse Blumberg, Olivier Laquerre, Marjorie Maltais, Jason McStoots, Sophie Michaux, Molly Netter, Margot Rood, Aaron Sheehan, Teresa Wakim, John Taylor Ward, Virginia Warnken, Zachary Wilder

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber EnsembleBoston Early Music Festival Dance Company


Charpentier Les Plaisirs de VersaillesLully Atys (two divertissements)
Lalande Les Fontaines de Versailles

3:00pm Pre-concert conversation with Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.Complimentary Garden Listening tickets for Members at the Family level and above

New! Summer Series

This performance is part of the Early Music Series and the Vocal Series.
Save 15% on tickets to this performance when you add tickets to two or more performances within one of those series.

Boston Early Music Festival

Boston Early Music Festival

Artist Website Watch

The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is universally recognized as a leader in the field of early music. Since its founding in 1980 by leading practitioners of historical performance in the United States and abroad, BEMF has promoted early music through a variety of diverse programs and activities. In 2019, BEMF will produce its 30th annual concert season, lauded for presenting early music’s brightest stars on the Boston and New York concert stages, as well as its 20th biennial weeklong Festival and Exhibition, hailed as “the world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). Through these programs and more, BEMF has earned its place as North America’s premier presenting organization for music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods and has secured Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (Boston Globe). BEMF regularly presents its own Baroque opera productions to great acclaim, from full-length centerpieces of its biennial Festivals to more intimate presentations during the year as part of its Chamber Opera Series. BEMF’s recordings of these operas have won the Grammy Award, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, two Echo Klassik awards, the Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and many other accolades. BEMF also tours and presents concerts featuring the BEMF Orchestra and the BEMF Chamber and Vocal Ensembles, which in 2019 include Handel’s cantata Apollo e Dafne in Boston, and a five-city North American tour of La storia di Orfeo with famed countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and soprano Amanda Forsythe.


Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs

Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors

Paul O’Dette has been described as “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument” (Toronto Globe and Mail). He appears regularly at major festivals throughout the world performing lute recitals and in chamber music programs with leading early music colleagues.

Mr. O’Dette has made more than 150 recordings, winning two Grammy Awards and receiving seven Grammy nominations and numerous international record awards. The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland (a 5-CD set for harmonia mundi usa) was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and was named “Best Solo Lute Recording of Dowland” by BBC Radio 3. The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler was nominated for a Grammy as Best Solo Instrumental Recording in 2006.

While best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O’Dette is also active as a conductor of Baroque opera. Together with Stephen Stubbs he won a Grammy as conductor in 2015 for Best Opera Recording, as well as an Echo Klassik Award, for their recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble. Their CDs of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thésée, and Lully’s Psyché, with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra on the CPO label, were nominated for Grammys in 2005, 2007, and 2008; their 2015 BEMF CD of Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe on the Erato/Warner Classics label was also nominated for a Grammy, and received the coveted Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.

In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O’Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance of seventeenth-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute repertoire. He has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice, and co-authored the John Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Paul O’Dette is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Co-Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.


Stephen Stubbs, who won the Grammy Award as conductor for Best Opera Recording in 2015, spent a thirty-year career in Europe. He returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and Baroque opera specialists.

In 2007, Stephen established his new production company, Pacific MusicWorks (PMW), based in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. The company’s inaugural presentation was a production of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera The Return of Ulysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. PMW’s performances of the Monteverdi Vespers were described in the press as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world.”

Stephen Stubbs is also the Boston Early Music Festival’s Artistic Co-Director along with his long-time colleague Paul O’Dette. Stephen and Paul are also the musical directors of all BEMF operas, recordings of which were nominated for five Grammy awards, including one Grammy win in 2015. Also in 2015, BEMF recordings won two Echo Klassik awards and the Diapason d’Or de l’Année. In 2017, they were presented with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik.

In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMW and BEMF, other recent appearances have included Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Così fan tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Handel’s Agrippina and Semele for Opera Omaha, Cavalli’s Calisto and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie for Juilliard, Mozart’s Il re pastore for the Merola program, and six productions for Opera UCLA including Cavalli’s Giasone, Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Amadigi. In recent years he has conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, Birmingham, and Houston Symphony orchestras.

His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist includes well over 100 CDs, many of which have received international acclaim and awards.


Gilbert Blin, Stage Director

Gilbert Blin graduated from the Paris Sorbonne with a Master’s degree focusing on Rameau’s operas, an interest that he has broadened to encompass French opera and its relation to Baroque theater, his fields of research as historian, stage director, and set and costume designer. He was awarded a Doctorate from Leiden University for a thesis dedicated to his approach to Historically Informed Staging.

His début productions include Massenet’s Werther and Delibes’s Lakmé for Paris Opéra-Comique, and Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable for Prague State Opera. Since his production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Drottningholm Theatre in Sweden in 1998, Dr. Blin has established himself as a sought-after opera director for the early repertoire: he directed Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso for the Prague State Opera, designed and staged reconstructions of Vivaldi’s Rosmira fedele and Handel’s Teseo for Opéra de Nice, and directed Lully’s Thésée and Lully’s Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival.

As Stage Director in Residence at BEMF beginning in 2008, Gilbert Blin staged a trilogy of English operas: Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. In 2011, after the staging of Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe, he presented Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. In 2013, with his production of Handel’s Almira, Gilbert Blin was appointed Opera Director of the Boston Early Music Festival. Following his acclaimed staging and set design of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea for the 2009 Boston Festival, Dr. Blin staged Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the BEMF Chamber Opera Series in 2012 and the composer’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria in 2015.

In 2016, he created Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain, a spectacle comprising Charpentier’s Les Plaisirs de Versailles and Lalande’s Les Fontaines de Versailles. His recent productions include Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane for Nice, Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice for Seattle, Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise for Boston, and Caccini’s Alcina for New York.


Carlos Fittante, Choreographer

Carlos Fittante, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, is a BEMF artist and a choreographer in New York. A graduate of the School of American Ballet, he has a Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree from the Peck School of the Arts. His specializations in Baroque, Balinese, and Spanish escuela bolera dance styles inform his directorship of BALAM Dance Theatre, a contemporary company blending diverse time periods and world dance forms. Critical praise in Dance Magazine, The New York Times, and other publications has been given to his choreographies and performances, which have been presented throughout the United States and internationally, including BEMF Chamber Opera Series, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the International Arts Festival in Denpasar, Bali. He has taught Mask and Gesture at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, and currently teaches ballet and Introduction to Dance at Queens College: City University of New York.