Les Plaisirs de Versailles (1682) & Actéon (1684)

Music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier

For our ninth production, we have chose the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704), with whom HEMS journeys beyond its well-traveled home repertory of Italian and English classics to the country backroads of the French Baroque. Returning to the intimate setting of the Horner Room, HEMS will present two short musical dramas. The lightly comedic and entertaining Les plaisirs de Versailles will serve as an hors d'oeuvre to the psychologically complex pastorale Actéon. The scale of Actéon and Les plaisirs de Versailles, written not for the king but for lesser nobility, were the perfect match for HEMS and the Horner Room.

HEMS remains committed to its exciting mission of introducing its Harvard audience to 'new old' music, both through fresh, historically-informed performances of well-known works and through performances of hidden gems. We are especially pleased to have worked under the musical direction of renowned baroque violinist Robert Mealy '85-87 and with his accomplished Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra.


In recognition of the importance and impact of our mission on the Harvard community, the Office for the Arts at Harvard agreed to support a four-day residency of Harvard Arts Medalist and internationally-recognized authority on the French Baroque repertoire, William Christie '66. Dr. Christie joined the cast, staff, and orchestra of the Harvard Early Music Society October 21-25. In addition to working privately with HEMS singers and players, Dr. Christie lead an open ensemble rehearsal on Saturday October 22rd, and participated in a panel discussion and screening on Monday October 24th, moderated by the Associate Music Director, Professor Thomas Forrest Kelly. This was a once-in-a-lifetme opportunity for all HEMS performers to work with a world-renowned expert in an informal master class setting.


CAST, Les Plaisirs de Versailles

Musique: Annelisa Pedersen

Conversation: Sarah Burges Watson

Jeu: Chris Thorpe

Comus: James Onstad 

Chorus: Melinda Biocchi, Kate Nyhan, Kathy Gerlach, Polly Klyce, Kurt Crowley, Chris Thorpe

Dancers: Inna Livitz, Colin Shepherd, Aileen Robinson


CAST, Actéon

Actéon: Kurt Crowley

Diane: Kathy Gerlach

Junon: Kate Nyhan

Daphne: Melinda Biocchi

Arethuse: Sarah Burges Watson

Hyale: Polly Klyce

Chorus: Chris Thorpe, Annelia Pedersen, James Onstad




Producers: Michael Givey, Emily Richmond

Music Director: Robert Mealy

Stage Director: Josh Billings

Associate Music Director: Edward Elwyn Jones

Music Advisors: Thomas Kelly

Apprentice Music Advisor: Julia Carey

Technical Director: Michael Wilson

Publicity Manager: David Richmond

Set Designer: Dian Lefkowitz

Lighting Designer: Susan Putnins

Master Electrician: Howard Kwok

Choreographer: Annelisa Pedersen

Stage Manager: Emily Ingram

Costume Designer: Hannah Rothstein

Properties Manager: Aileen Robinson

Ticket Manager: Jeremy Siegfried

Supertitle Translation: Christina Linklater

Makeup Design: Celine Leboeuf

Build Crew: Aileen Robinson