Soprano Jennifer Bates leads an ensemble of singers at Friday’s kickoff of the Early Music Festival.

Maine native and Portland resident Jennifer Bates leads an ensemble of singers in an all-Monteverdi program at 7:30 p.m. Friday to begin this year’s Early Music Festival, hosted by the Portland Conservatory of Music at Woodfords Congregational Church. The festival is in its eighth year and continues through Sunday.

Bates, a soprano, will lead an experienced ensemble of soprano Christine Letcher, tenor Bruce Fithian, mezzo Andrea Graichen and basses Patrick Volker and John David Adams. They will sing Monteverdi solos, duos, trios and quintets that explore a range of emotions, including joy, passion and regret. Timothy Burris on the theorbo will accompany the singers.

Timothy Burris with his lute. He will perform this weekend on the theorbo, a plucked, stringed instrument.

The festival continues at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with a performance of baroque sonatas for cello and theorbo performed by the duo Raffael Scheck and Burris, who perform under the name ScheckMate. They formed the duo to expose and explore the repertoire for violincello and theobro, a plucked, stringed instrument. They share range and volume of sound and complement each other well. Saturday’s program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., features Italian repertoire from the middle- to late-Baroque period, which Burris described as “especially felicitous.”

The festival concludes at 5 p.m. Sunday with a concert by Petra Polackova, a guitarist from the Czech Republic.

Single tickets cost $25. A festival pass is $60. Students 25 and younger get in free;



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