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The Boston Globe

Music

Music Review

BEMF looks back at chamber operas past

Since 2008, the Boston Early Music Festival has offered a new production of a chamber opera each Thanksgiving weekend. As a series, it’s turned out to be a sound investment, bringing local early music fans a dependably rewarding landmark on the fall concert calendar at the same time as it has strengthened BEMF’s broader bid for recognition as a kind of specialized boutique opera company in its own right.

And one that is clearly gaining traction. Chamber opera productions from recent years have begun touring to Seattle, Vancouver, New York, and elsewhere and are starting to find their way onto disc. Meanwhile the larger operas staged for the company’s biennial summer festivals are finding an afterlife as well, with the BEMF forces having recently returned from a concert performance of Steffani’s “Niobe” in Bremen, Germany. According to a BEMF spokesperson, it was primarily this Bremen engagement that forced a departure from tradition at Sunday’s concert in Jordan Hall; rather than introducing a new chamber opera this year,
BEMF circled back to reprise highlights from its previous five productions.

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