Esther is a stunning baroque oratorio written for the Jewish Community of Amsterdam in 1774. It was lost for centuries, and now we have a chance to bring it to Boston!
Commissioned by the Jewish Community of Amsterdam and composed in 1774, Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti’s oratorio tells the biblical story of how Queen Esther rescued the Jews of Persia from King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and his scheming advisor, Haman. Scored for orchestra, soloists, and chamber choir, and sung entirely in Hebrew, Lidarti’s captivating writing brings the story of Esther alive. Lovers of baroque music may recognize the libretto from Handel’s 1718 Esther: the text for Lidarti’s oratorio is a direct translation into Hebrew completed by one of Lidarti’s contemporaries, Venetian Rabbi Jacob Raphael ben Simhah Judah Saraval.
Lidarti’s Esther was re-discovered by the musicologist Israel Adler in 1999 in the Ets Hayim library of Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue and has only been performed several times worldwide. MIRYAM will present the Boston and East Coast premiere on Saturday, March 2nd at Emmanuel Church in Boston and Sunday, March 3rd at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley. Critically acclaimed harpsichordist and conductor Dylan Sauerwald will direct an ensemble of 5 soloists, 9 choristers, and 16 instrumentalists.
We have a rare chance to revive a stunning piece of Jewish musical heritage, but we need your help to bring Esther to Boston. Please consider a tax-deductible donation, and share our campaign with your friends, families, and communities!
About the ensemble
MIRYAM was founded in 2016 by Alicia DePaolo and Ari Nieh in order to bring Jewish early music to New England audiences. Our ensemble members are all critically acclaimed performers and scholars of renaissance and baroque music who have a passion for connecting with audiences. Many of our programs bring well-loved composers like Monteverdi and Schütz into Jewish spaces and other houses of faith, celebrating the Jewish roots in their compositions and opening a fruitful inter-religious dialogue. Other programs highlight Jewish composers, such as Salamone Rossi, or feature music from a specific Jewish community, like Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue. In every space we enter, we set the intention of celebrating the beauty and richness of intersecting identities and musical languages. We hope you will join us for one of our concerts this season!
Please contact us at email@example.com to schedule a performance
al naharot bavel
Psalm Settings of the Italian and German Baroque
This program explores the Jewish roots of sacred texts frequently set to music by Christian composers during the baroque period. Vocal and instrumental music by Claudio Monteverdi, Heinrich Schütz, and Johann Hermann Schein is interspersed by Hebrew readings of the original texts.
Our most recent performance of this program was on Sunday 10/28 2018 at 5:00 pm at Jewish Community of Amherst in Amherst, MA.
Music by Emilio de' Cavalieri, Tomás Luis de Victoria, and Salamone Rossi
Eicha, or The Book of Lamentations, is part of the Hebrew Tanakh and describes in heartbreaking detail the destruction in 586 B.C.E. of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Eicha is traditionally chanted by Jews on the holiday of Tisha B’Av, but the text has also been set frequently by Christian composers, most often to be sung as part of the liturgy for Holy Week.
This program offers an exploration of the myriad ways in which this exquisite text has been used throughout history, by Jews and Christians alike. Framed with a sublime setting of Eicha by Emilio de’Cavalieri, the program is interspersed with Hebrew liturgical settings by the Jewish Mantuan composer, Salamone Rossi.
Music from Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue
Built in 1675, the Portuguese Synagogue was a cultural hub for Jews who fled from Portugal to Amsterdam to escape the Inquisition. The synagogue’s Eitz Chayim library contains a wealth of historical documents, including a collection of Hebrew-language musical scores spanning the late baroque and early classical eras.
Bo’i B’shalom features a selection of rarely-performed Hebrew liturgical settings for two voices, violins, and continuo, by the composers Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti, Abraham Caceres, and Volunio Gallicchi.
Our first performance of this program was on Saturday 10/20 2018 at Pioneer Valley Early Music Day in Amherst, MA.
Alicia DePaolo, Director and Co-Founder
Alicia DePaolo, soprano, has received critical acclaim for her “perfect combination of clarity and warmth.” She holds a master’s degree in Early Music Vocal Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. Alicia has worked with such distinguished directors as Nigel North, William Jon Gray, Ivars Taurins, Stanley Ritchie, Drew Minter, and Jeffrey Thomas, appearing as a soloist in the United States, Canada, and Italy in a variety of works including Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis, Charpentier’s Missa Assumpta est Maria, J.S. Bach’s Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Faure’s Requiem, and Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. Opera and oratorio roles include “Fatime” in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, “Castitas” in Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, “Israelite Man” in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, “La Nymphe des Tuileries” in Lully’s Alceste, and “Mercury” in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Ari Nieh, bass-baritone and Co-Founder
Ari Nieh is active in the Boston early music scene as a chorister and soloist. His musical career began in San Francisco, where he sang with the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Pacific Collegium, AVE, and Volti. He came to Boston to study historical performance at Longy School of Music. He is a regular member of the Choir of the Church of the Advent, and performs frequently with Schola Cantorum of Boston, Canto Armonico, the Orpheus Singers, and the Copley Singers. His recent stage credits include Devil in Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, Sir Roderic in Ruddigore, Bellone in Les Indes Galantes, and Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ari has been featured as a concert soloist in works by Mozart, John Tavener, and P.D.Q. Bach. He has also collaborated with a variety of Boston-area early music ensembles, including Musical Offering, Long and Away, and NEC Baroque. In March 2016, he sang the role of Jesus and bass soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Ensemble Musica Humana. He studies voice with Pamela Dellal.
Send us a message
MIRYAM is a Fiscally Sponsored Project of Fractured Atlas, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
To donate by check, please make your check out to: Fractured Atlas
Please include "MIRYAM" on the memo.
Mail to: Alicia DePaolo | 17 Greenwood Ave | Woburn, MA 01801
WHAT IS FRACTURED ATLAS?
Fractured Atlas is a national nonprofit organization based in New York City that "empowers artists, arts organizations, and other cultural sector stakeholders by eliminating practical barriers to artistic expression, so as to foster a more agile and resilient cultural ecosystem."
Their small but dedicated staff carries out this mission through fiscal sponsorship, insurance for artists, custom-built technological solutions, arts advocacy, and continuing education in business and technology for artists and creatives. Founded in 1998, they have helped over 250,000 artists and arts organizations to raise more than $127 million dollars. You can learn more about their amazing work on their website and access their current financial reports on GuideStar.
WHAT IS FISCAL SPONSORSHIP?
"A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of charitable projects." — Fiscal Sponsorship: a 360 Degree Perspective, Trust for Conservation Innovation.
When you make a donation to support MIRYAM, your donation will be processed through Fractured Atlas. They handle the administration and keep a small percentage as an administrative fee to support more artists like us. In exchange, you get a tax deduction and MIRYAM gets more time to focus on making music! You can learn more about Fiscal Sponsorship from the National Council of Nonprofits here, and read about how Fractured Atlas runs their program here.