© 2019 by Burning River Baroque

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Witches: Revered and Reviled

Bullying and stigmatizing those perceived as being different is a theme that has regrettably been almost constant across human history. Early modern society’s fascination with an ordered society frequently led to the persecution of individuals who were accused of straying outside the established conventional boundaries of “acceptable” behavior. While both men and women were accused of social deviance, the vast majority of those who were criminalized for thwarting societal expectations were women. Deemed witches and scolds, these disorderly women were corporally punished and executed at alarming rates across the early modern period. Despite this overwhelming and gruesome compulsion to seek out those who were supposedly out of order, there were numerous recorded occasions where women ascribed with supernatural abilities were highly respected. Frequently, individuals who suffered from mental and spiritual maladies were encouraged to seek out a witch for healing before seeing a medical doctor, and sorceresses were believed to have fantastical capabilities that could be used for good. This paradox of reverence and repulsion for unconventional women was mirrored in musical portrayals on the stage as well — women who stepped outside of the ordered realm of society were depicted as being forces of either extreme good or evil. “Witches: Revered and Reviled” explores repertoire that tells the stories of Circe, the Witch of Endor, and the Furies in a broad range of national styles and traditions of the seventeenth century. Additionally, we will feature the premier of a newly-commissioned work by Alexis Bacon.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Workshop at Renee Jones Empowerment Center

Workshop and Performance at Bard High School Early College

Wednesday, March, 18, 2020

Buckland Museum of Magick and Witchcraft

more info coming soon


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Episcopal Church of the Redeemer

647 Reid Ave

Lorain, OH 44052

Suggested donation $15-$20

Friday, March 20, 2020 ~ 7pm

St. John's Episcopal Church
323 Wick Ave
Youngstown, OH 44503

Donations gratefully accepted


Saturday, March 21, 2020

information forthcoming


Sunday, March 22, 2020

information forthcoming

Contact directors@burning-river-baroque.org to book this concert!

These concerts are made possible in part by the generous support of the following organizations:


A Mad, Burning Desire
















Our concert from a musical/historical perspective

The first English actresses to legally take the stage capitalized on early modern society’s fascination with mental illness and catapulted themselves to fame by portraying characters who descended violently into lovesick madness on the Restoration stage. At the visual epicenter of London’s cultural fascination with madness was Bethlehem Royal Hospital (Bedlam), which was transformed from a dilapidated hospital into a sprawling mental institution in 1676. Visitors frequently paid to enter Bedlam to be entertained by those society deemed insane, a spectacle which converged with a proliferation of spectacular mad scenes brought to life by the first English actresses. “A Mad, Burning Desire” features mad songs by Henry Purcell, John Eccles, Godfrey Finger and John Blow that captivated London’s theatre-going audiences in the 1690s.


Our concert from a mental health perspective

Take a leap back in time with Burning River Baroque as we examine the cultural phenomena of early modern England that led to the development of the early field of mental health. Across the course of the seventeenth century, English philosophers and medical experts alike began to think of psychological maladies as medical conditions requiring treatment by doctors rather than as spiritual deficiencies to be handled by religious authorities. At the visual epicenter of Restoration-era London’s cultural fascination with mental illness was Bethlehem Royal Hospital (Bedlam), which was transformed from a dilapidated hospital into a sprawling mental institution with space for over 200 patients in 1676. Brainstorm with us as we fast-forward to the present. How does our contemporary popular culture, including news media and advertisements, contribute to subversive belief systems directly connected to our current mental health crises? How can we work together to end the stigma against mental health, which would help more people get access to what they need? What phrase might we utter today that will help someone in our midst who is struggling? How can we coach ourselves so that we might become more stable support systems for others?

Malina Rauschenfels, soprano

Paula Maust, harpsichord 


- - - - - - - - - - past concerts from this series - - - - - -

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 ~ 7pm

Yellow Springs Arts Council

111 Corry St.

Yellow Springs, OH 45387

Suggested Donation $10-20

Accessible concert space

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cleveland Hts House Concert

Arrive 7:30pm Music@8pm

Suggested Donation $20


for address and to reserve a spot


Friday, August 23, 2019

Workshop and Performance at Bard High School Early College


Friday, August 23, 2019 ~ 7pm

Art House, Inc.

3119 Denison Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44109

Suggested Donation $10-20

Accessible concert space and restrooms


Saturday, August 24, 2019 

Arrive 7:30pm Music@8pm

Fairlawn house concert

Suggested donation $10-20


 - - - - - - - - -  

Friday, September 13, 2019 ~ 6pm

Barefoot Chamber Concerts

St. Mark's Episcopal Church Parish Hall

2300 Bancroft Way

Berkeley, CA 94704


Tickets $15 but no one turned away for lack of funds

18 and under admtted free and welcome

Tickets at the door or reserve online (recommended) at


Accessible concert space and restrooms

Saturday, September 14, 2019 ~ 7:30pm

Incarnation Episcopal Church,

1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco

Tickets: $20 General, $15 Seniors/Students



Accessible concert space and restrooms

Sunday, September 15, 2019 ~ 4pm

First Lutheran Church

600 Homer Ave.

Palo Alto, CA 94301

$20 adults/$15 seniors at the door - 20% goes to support the music program of First Lutheran Church

Accessible concert space and restrooms

 - - - - - - - - - 


Friday, October 18, 2019 ~ 7pm

St. John's Episcopal Church
323 Wick Ave
Youngstown, OH 44503

Donations gratefully accepted

Accessible concert space and restrooms

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Workshop at Renee Jones Empowerment Center


Saturday, October 19, 2019 ~ 7pm

Arrive 7pm, Music@7:30pm

Blank Canvas CLE

2174 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Suggested Donation $10-$20

Accessible concert space

Sunday, October 20, 2019 ~ 1:30pm

Arrive 1:30pm Music@2pm

Pittsburgh house concert/potluck

216 s. Aiken Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Please bring food or wine/drink

Suggested Donation $15-20