Burning River Baroque Cleveland Heights Concert Features 17th-Century Mad Songs

Sat 10/19 @ 7:30PM

We’re intrigued by Cleveland’s mini-ensemble Burning River Baroque, a veritable Little Engine That Could. Formed by co-directors, harpischordist Paula Maust and soprano Malina Rauschenfels, Burning River Baroque distinguishes itself from its more established competition by organizing its period music into programs that comment on contemporary issues, and connect the past with the present. Its upcoming season, for instance, will look at 17th-century women and mental health-related issues, and how attitudes connecting the two have changed and affected women’s lives over the centuries.

The first program of its 8th season is called “A Mad, Burning Desire.” It focuses on the first British actresses legally allowed to perform in public in the 1660s Restoration Theatre era (It’s well known that Shakespeare’s heroines were played by men). Many of their roles involved women driven mad by love, with over-the-top mad scenes an attraction, as concepts of medical illness came to be thought of as medical rather than spiritual issues. And of course, the inherent drama in such scenes allowed these women to let loose in a society where women’s roles were constricted.

Mad songs by composers such Henry Purcell, John Eccles, Godfrey Finger, C.P.E. Bach and John Blow that were performed on London stages in the 1690s comprise the core of “A Mad, Burning Desire,” performed by Rauschenfels and Maust, who will connect these pieces with contemporary stigmas around mental health.

The next performance of the program will take place at Blank Canvas CLE, the gallery in Cleveland Heights, NOT the theater in 78th Street Studios. Suggested donation is $10-20. They will accept more to support their work!

Go to burning-river-baroque for more information.

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