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Burning River Baroque: 'A Mad, Burning Desire'


Sep 13, 2019
06:00 PM until 07:00 PM


Barefoot Chamber Concerts ("an enterprise noted for both its quality and informality" - San Francisco Classical Voice) presents really good music in the perfect acoustic and without the formality of most classical music events.

Barefoot kicks off its 10th season with Cleveland's cutting-edge early music ensemble Burning River Baroque (Malina Rauschenfels, soprano; Paula Maust, harpsichord; Alexa Haynes-Pilon, cello) playing their acclaimed program "A Mad, Burning Desire."

The first English actresses to take the stage legally capitalized on society's fascination with mental illness. These enterprising women catapulted themselves to fame by portraying characters that descended violently into lovesick madness. Women were first permitted to take the public stage in Restoration England in 1662; however, this gigantic advancement for women's rights was fraught with immense political and sexual tension.

From those who decried the immorality of women performing in public to those who fetishized, courted, and even raped them, nearly everyone had an opinion about the women who were putting themselves on stage. At the same time, philosophers and medical experts began to think of psychological maladies as medical conditions requiring treatment by doctors rather than as spiritual deficiencies to be handled by religious authorities. The center of London's cultural fascination with madness was Bethlehem Royal Hospital (Bedlam), a sprawling mental institution with space for over 200. The tradition of wealthy individuals paying to observe Bedlam's residents had begun in 1610, and by the end of the century, visitors regularly came to Bedlam to be entertained by those society deemed insane. This idea of making a spectacle of the mentally ill is reflected by spectacular mad scenes that were brought to life by the first English actresses in the Restoration theatre. "A Mad, Burning Desire" features mad songs and instrumental music by Henry Purcell, C.P.E. Bach and others.

Presented by Barefoot Chamber Concerts





View map Parish Hall of St. Mark's Episcopal Church
2300 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA

Additional Information


Barefoot Chamber Concerts



Contact name

Peter Hallifax

Contact email


We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

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