Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond, and Richard Clifford will join the Folger Consort, the early music ensemble in residence at Folger Shakespeare Library, to present a one-night-only performance of The Merchant of Venice: Music and Poetry of Shakespeare’s Play Friday, Feb. 27 at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C.
Following the performance at Strathmore, Folger Consort will take The Merchant of Venice to London for performances at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the new candlelit indoor theater at Shakespeare’s Globe. Performances will be March 7 and 8, 2015.
The concert is the fourth production in Folger Consort’s 2014–2015 season, Pictures at an Exhibition, under the guidance of Founding Artistic Directors Robert Eisenstein (viol, violin) and Christopher Kendall (theorbo, lute).
Along with Jacobi, Bond, and Clifford, the program will feature Shirine Babb, who played Portia in the Folger Theatre's 2014 production of Julius Caesar. Additional musicians will include Emily Noël (soprano), members of London’s Gabrieli Consort (recorder, shawm, dulcian), Risa Browder (violin), and Brent Wissick (cello).
This is the third musical and dramatic collaboration between Folger Consort, Jacobi, and Clifford. They previously presented The Fairy Queen at the Folger in 2006 and The Tempest at the Music Center at Strathmore in 2010.
In Shakespeare's time, musicians moved back and forth between Italy and London. Most notable were the extraordinary wind players of the 16th century Venetian Bassano family. Their remarkable music will be played in this musical celebration of The Merchant of Venice along with works by Dowland, Rossi, and Monteverdi.
Founded in 1977, the Folger Consort is an early music ensemble in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Eisenstein and Kendall create programs that offer opportunities to discover and enjoy music from the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods. Whether presenting concerts in the ensemble’s intimate home at the Folger Shakespeare Library or in the splendid reaches of Washington National Cathedral, the Folger Consort continues its tradition of bringing internationally noted guest artists to the Washington area to join in its “early music chamber society.”
Individual tickets for The Merchant of Venice: Music and Poetry of Shakespeare’s Play range from $35 to $85 and may be purchased by calling the Strathmore ticket office at 301-581-5100 or online at www.folger.edu/consort. Discounts are available for groups. The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda MD 20852. For more information, go to www.strathmore.org.
February 6, 2015