Aston Magna Festival Presents Early Music at Bard and in the Berkshires

Todd Williams

Todd Williams

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y. and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Aston Magna, the nation’s longest-running festival of early music, celebrates its 44th season with “Love and Lamentation,” featuring Friday and Saturday evening concerts at Bard College and in venues in Great Barrington, respectively, running weekends from June 17 through July 9. The concerts feature virtuoso early music artists performing on authentic period instruments.

At Bard, concerts take place Friday evenings at 8pm at the László Z. Bitó ’60 Conservatory Building. On Saturdays in Great Barrington, concerts take place in the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock College at 6pm, with a finale performance on Saturday, July 9, at the historic Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. A pre-concert talk takes place one hour before each event; Great Barrington concert are followed by a reception with the artists.

On Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, Aston Magna presents “Love and Lamentation: 17th Century Italian Monody,” with a first-time Aston Magna appearance by Erin Headley, internationally renowned lirone musician and scholar. As guest conductor, Headley leads the Aston Magna ensemble and vocalists Kristen Watson and Nell Snaidas, sopranos, in the music of Monteverdi, Marazzoli, Rossi and Marini. Baroque Ensemble: Catherine Liddell, theorbo; Laura Jeppesen, violin/viola da gamba; Daniel Stepner, Baroque violin and Michael Sponseller, harpsichord, and Headley on lirone and viola da gamba.

The program includes the prologue from L’Orfeo and Lament of Arianna by Claudio Monteverdi; Elena invecchiata vanitas’ cantata on the aging Helen of Troy by Marco Marazzoli; Lament of Zaida, and Scenes from Orfeo by Luigi Rossi.

Aston Magna artistic director Daniel Stepner

Aston Magna artistic director Daniel Stepner

On Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, Aston Magna artistic director Daniel Stepner, on baroque violin, leads “The Trio Sonata,” a collection of violin works by Handel, Corelli, Purcell and Leclair, and a newly commissioned work for period instruments by Alex Burtzos. Stepner is joined by Brazilian violinist Edson Scheid, with Aston Magna ensemble members Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba and Michael Sponseller, harpsichord.

Mozart’s Diversions” takes place Friday and Saturday, July 1-2, with “A Musical Joke,” and The Horn Quintet, plus Divertimento, K. 287, with natural hornists Todd Williams and Linda Dempf, and the Aston Magna string ensemble.

Aston Magna’s season finale, on Friday-Saturday, July 8-9, brings a revelry of vocal talent to the “J.S. Bach: Sacred and Secular” performances, with Dominique Labelle, soprano; Deborah Rentz-Moore, alto; William Hite and Frank Kelley, tenors; Ulysses Thomas and Jesse Blumberg, baritones, perform with a full Aston Magna baroque ensemble. The program features Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068; Cantata No 12: Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; and Cantata No. 201: The Contest of Phoebus and Pan.

For the Bard finale, tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Purchase tickets by phone at (888) 492-1283

For the Great Barrington finale at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, tickets are $25-50. Tickets can be purchased online at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100

Season subscriptions and multi-concert discounts found online, at Aston Magna.

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