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Comedic Opera Comes to Great Barrington
02:46PM / Wednesday, June 21, 2017
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Comedic opera comes to Great Barrington this weekend. Photo by Kathy Wittman)

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Boston Early Music Festival will return to the Berkshires this summer with a double bill of Neapolitan comic opera by Pergolesi.

Winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, BEMF will present encore performances of its 2014 production of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrona" and "Livietta e Tracollo" at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. Tickets range from $25 to $85 are available online.

Originally written as interludes to be performed between acts of a more somber production, Pergolesi’s light-hearted comedies quickly enchanted audiences with their farcical humor and engaging romance. Eventually, these comic operas would be performed on their own to adoring audiences throughout Europe, with Pergolesi acknowledged as an especially significant early composer in this opera buffa style.

"La Serva Padrona," which had its premiere in Naples in 1773, tells the tale of a haughty yet cunning maid who conspires to wed her testy employer. "Livietta e Tracollo" debuted a year later as part of festivities for a royal birthday, and features the con-artist, Tracollo, who meets his match in a peasant girl, Livietta, out to avenge her wronged brother. For this production — in a nod to the original presentations of these operas — Stage Director Gilbert Blin will alternate between scenes of the two works.

Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one Grammy Award-winning and four Grammy Award-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music's brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the "world's leading festival of early music."

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