The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s mission: The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s mission: to present lesser-known operatic gems that deserve to be widely heard; to educate a wide range of people to the beauty and emotional richness of great operatic works at reasonable prices; to cast a wide net in engaging an ethnically diverse and gendered ensemble of singers, directors, and crew; and to engage both emerging artists and established performers to foster a communal musical experience for cast and audiences.
As we grow, CCE plans to produce 1 – 2 operas a year focusing on lesser-known excellent pieces, seeking out great works by women and minority composers. We are developing an outreach program for senior residences and nursing homes where we will present shorter pieces for the enjoyment of people with limited ability and means to travel for entertainment. Our Director Martha saw this need when her mother was in a nursing home and lamented the lack of artistic stimulation in that confined environment.
During the pandemic year of 2020-2021 CCE produced a virtual opera, Richard Wagner's early masterpiece "Forbidden Love" (Das Liebesverbot), in English. "Forbidden Love" is available on YouTube for free viewing. In November 2021 we produced a live "Savitri", Gustav Holst's ravishing chamber opera based on a tale from the ancient Indian saga Mahabarata. "Savitri" is a tale of a woman whose wisdom, compassion, and strength saves her husband from death.
CCE’s third season presented G. F. Handel’s Baroque opera “Silla”. Our Executive Director Martha Birnbaum created a sparkling new English translation, making this important work directly accessible to the audience. The tyrannical emperor Silla made short work of his enemies, quashed civic liberties, and forced his attentions on the wives and lovers of his subordinates. Such behavior has been in the #MeToo spotlight in recent years and our work made captivating political theater of Silla’s outrageous behavior.
CCE’s second season showcased “Cendrillon”, a delightful telling of the Cinderella story by Pauline Viardot-García. We were proud to highlight Viardot-García, little-known today but renowned in the 19th century as a famous mezzo soprano, composer, conductor, concert pianist, and salonista.
Martha Birnbaum, Executive Director. Martha Birnbaum, Executive Director, is founder and director of The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble (CCE), which provides local singers and instrumentalists the opportunity to perform in an intimate, supportive environment. She has directed CCE's productions of Dido and Aeneas and Il Giuoco del Quadriglio. An accomplished linguist, she provided her own copyrighted English translation for Il Giuoco. In addition, she has sung Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, Dame Hannah in Ruddigore, and Leila in Iolanthe. She has been Stage Manager of The Mikado and The Rough Faced Girl for Mass Theatrica, and several MITGSP productions. She is on the Board of Directors of the New England Gilbert and Sullivan Society (NEGASS) and Editor-in-Chief emerita of its newsletter, The Trumpet Bray.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Martha Birnbaum, President
Bathsheba Malsheen, Vice President
Afarin Bellisario, Secretary
Leonard Suskin, Treasurer
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Stephanie Beatrice, Music Director
David R. Gammons, Stage Director
Martha Birnbaum, Producer
Elissa Traher/Traher Design,Web Designer