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Stephen Orgel & The Musicians in Ordinary: “Comus and Some Others”

March 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Stephen Orgel Musicians in Ordinary March 16 2018 Event Image

The court masque was an important form of expression for the society in which Milton grew up. His own Masque presented at Ludlow Castle, known to us under the eighteenth-century title Comus, is fully informed by the tradition. In this lecture, Professor Stephen Orgel (Stanford University)  will trace Milton’s invention through the immediate sources for the work, masques by Ben Jonson, Thomas Carew and Aurelian Townshend, and is illustrated with designs for the masques by the architect and stage designer Inigo Jones.

Following the lecture, The Musicians In Ordinary will discuss the surviving and not surviving music for Comus with reference to earlier and contemporary masques, and then perform Henry Lawes’s original songs for Comus along with contemporary dance music.


Stephen Orgel has published widely on the political and historical aspects of Renaissance literature, theater, art history and the history of the book. His work is interdisciplinary, and is increasingly concerned with the patronage system, the nature of representation, and performance practice in the Renaissance. His most recent book is Spectacular Performances (2011), and The Reader in the Book is forthcoming in 2015.

He is also the author of The Authentic Shakespeare (2002), Imagining Shakespeare (2003), Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare’s England (Cambridge, 1996), The Illusion of Power (Berkeley, 1975), Inigo Jones (London and Berkeley, 1973, in collaboration with Sir Roy Strong), and The Jonsonian Masque (Cambridge, Mass., 1965). He has edited Ben Jonson’s masques, Christopher Marlowe’s poems and translations, the Oxford Authors John Milton, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale in The Oxford Shakespeare, Trollope’s Lady Anna, and Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence and The Reef in the Oxford World’s Classics. He is the general editor of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture, and of the new Pelican Shakespeare. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEH Fellowships, and ACLS Fellowships; he has been a Getty Fellow, a visiting fellow at New College, Oxford, and the Clark Lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and on the board of the Associazione Malatesta in Italy.

The Musicians in Ordinary: Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music.’ A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.


March 16, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Emmanuel College, Room 119 (75 Queen’s Park Crescent)
75 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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