Dido and Aeneas, which opens the season on October 14, will be conducted by music director Grant Llewellyn. The cast includes Paula Murrihy as Dido, Nmon Ford as Aeneas, and Heather Buck as Belinda.
Chen Shi-Zheng, who staged the company's version of Monteverdi's Vespers in 2003, will return to direct Dido. He will also conduct a complete cycle of Monteverdi's three operas, co-produced with the English National Opera, starting in fall 2006.
The group's annual performances of Handel's Messiah, conducted by Llewellyn, will star Awet Andemicael, Krista River, Nathan Granner, and Kevin Short, all making their Handel and Haydn debuts.
The season-ending performances of the St. Matthew Passion will star soprano Dominique Labelle, tenor James Gilchrist, and baritone Philip Cutlip. It will be the Society's first performances of Bach's original version since 1983.
Founded in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society performed the American premieres of Handel's Messiah (1818), Haydn's Creation (1819), Verdi's Requiem (1878), and Bach's Mass in B minor (1887).