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Un petrarchino cantato
Petrarch’s Canzoniere in song

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In-person tickets include virtual concert access. If you purchased an in-person or virtual ticket and did not receive the emailed link on February 25th at noon to view the concert, please email

In-person tickets include virtual concert access. Access to the virtual concert will be emailed to ticket holders February 25th at noon.

To attend in-person concerts, proof of vaccination is required. Click here for full details.

Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 2:30 & 8:00 PM


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First Church in Cambridge, Congregational
11 Garden Street, Cambridge
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You who hear in scattered verses the sound
of those sighs with which I fed my heart
in my first errant youthful days
when I was in part another man than who I am today …

Thus begins our musical valentine of 16th-century madrigals setting poetry by Francesco Petrarca. In church on April 6, 1327, the 23-year-old Petrarch beheld a beautiful young woman, Laura, and was instantly pierced through by love at once carnal and spiritual. His love for Laura would obsess, torment, and inspire him until her death from the plague in 1348 and beyond, for the rest of Petrarch’s life, shaping his work and the meaning of his existence.

Inspired by love, Petrarch’s Canzoniere in turn inspired some of the most expressive, beautifully crafted, and emotionally powerful music of the sixteenth century. Blue Heron’s “Petrarchino cantato” or pocket Canzoniere—a sample of the cycle from no. 1 to no. 366—presents madrigals by Verdelot, Arcadelt, Willaert, de Rore, Wert, Marenzio and others sung by six musicians, with dramatic recitation of poems and other writings in Italian and in English translation performed by two actors, one Italian and one American.

Not your average valentine—but a perfect afternoon or evening out, filled with drama and emotion.

Free pre-concert talk 45 minutes prior to each performance by Christopher Martin (Boston University).

Doors and box office open 1 hour prior to each performance.

Sophie Michaux, mezzo-soprano
Kim Leeds, mezzo-soprano
Jason McStoots, tenor
Aaron Sheehan, tenor
Sumner Thompson, tenor
Paul Guttry, bass
Jade Guerra, actor
Alessandro Quarta, actor
Scott Metcalfe, artistic director

All concert dates, programs and personnel are subject to change without notice.